The Issue: Commercial Surrogacy

Why OPPOSE Commercial Surrogacy?

1. Serious Pro-Life concerns

Proposed commercial surrogacy legislation typically does not address whether or not a surrogacy contract that requires an abortion (or embryo reduction if there are multiple embryos due to an in vitro fertilization) due to a birth defect is valid.

The bills also do not typically address whether the parties paying for the child and "womb services" to the surrogate mother can demand the surrogate mother to have an abortion, or whether the surrogate mother can decide to abort the child on her own.

Commercial surrogacy does NOT protect the sanctity of human life.

2. What about the kids?

The Bible teaches that we are all created uniquely in the image and likeness of God, made to be in a relationship with Him made possible through Jesus Christ. These truths are why human societies came to understand slavery, prostitution and human trafficking, paying for human organs, and other forms of the buying and selling of each other as wrongs against God. 

Commercial surrogacy legitimizes the buying and selling of our children, treating them not as precious gifts from God but as mere commodities in the marketplace.

Commercial surrogacy contracts primarily protect the interests of those contracting to pay for the child and the surrogacy, the "intended parents," NOT the child. So, if a dispute about the child's custody arises under the commercial surrogacy contract, these contracts do not require courts to apply the normal "Best Interest of the Child" standard that is the guiding light for resolving disputes related to child custody and welfare. Instead, the courts would have to focus on the adults in the contractual relationship--not the child.

Commercial surrogacy also completely undermines and ignores the adoption process, especially the rules in place in the adoption process to protect the child.

There are also potential serious short and long-term health and psychological concerns for children born by a surrogacy arrangement. There are not sufficient studies to help us understand the full effects that surrogacy has on children. For example, there is a natural hormonal bonding process that occurs between mother and child in the womb and during/after birth. Surrogacy forces the separation between the birth mother and child, severing that bond. Plus, early childhood development specialists emphasize the importance of mother bonding with her baby before birth. Commercial surrogate mothers are told to intentionally NOT bond with the child they carry. 

Interestingly, we are starting to see the first generation of adult children born through third-party reproduction (including surrogacy, sperm donation, and egg donation). These children are starting to form groups like Anonymous Us and Donor Sibling Registry, among others, many searching for their surrogate mothers, potential brothers and sisters, donor parents, etc. Many resent that their conception was the result of a commercial transaction, with no ability to know their genetic or medical history in most cases. 

3. Are we willing to turn the God-given miracle of birth into a commercial transaction?

Commercial surrogacy gives a person (or a couple, same-sex or opposite-sex) the ability to legally rent out a woman's body for the duration of her pregnancy, with the woman's parental rights terminating immediately at the birth of the child.

This quite literally turns the God-given process of creating life into a mere business transaction, where a woman's body becomes a "service" that can be rented out, and children can be bought and sold.

The underlying assumption here is that anyone with enough money to pay for a child can enter into a business contract where they have a "RIGHT to a child."

4. Women for Rent

The Bible teaches that we are all created uniquely in the image and likeness of God, made to be in a relationship with Him made possible through Jesus Christ. These truths are why human societies came to understand slavery, prostitution and human trafficking, paying for human organs, and other forms of the buying and selling of each other as wrongs against God.

Commercial Surrogacy turns a woman's God-designed ability to grow new life into a mere "business service provided." Surrogacy contracts are designed to primarily protect the financial interests of those purchasing the baby and the woman's "pregnancy services" (the "intended parents")--NOT the woman carrying the baby, who tends to be economically disadvantaged compared to the "intended parents." So, the contracts are typically unclear about the rights of surrogate moms to make their own medical decisions, allow the intended parents to restrict and dictate the surrogate mom's activities, and do nothing to protect the emotional and physical health risks of the surrogate mom (especially after she has given birth and been forced to part with her baby). 

There are potential serious long and short-term health risks for women who become surrogate moms, and there have not been sufficient studies of these health risks. For example, the multiple injections of synthetic hormones and other drugs like Lupron (which is not FDA-approved for fertility-use) used on a surrogate mom come with the risks of ovarian problems, infection, future infertility, and cancer. There are also serious potential psychological side-effects to a woman who carries (and bonds emotionally and hormonally with) a child (even if the child she carries is not genetically related to her) and is then forced to separate herself completely from the child she carried. 

FAQ's on Commercial Surrogacy:

Isn't surrogacy just another way for a woman to "give the gift of life" to another couple (or an individual) who cannot have children?

No. Commercial surrogacy turn God's gift of life into a commercial transaction, where individuals or couples with the money to pay for it can legally rent out a woman's womb and then pay for her to sell to them the child she bears.

Commercial surrogacy also completely ignores and undermines our state's adoption process, does not protect the best interests of children, fails to protect the surrogate mother, does not address serious prolife concerns, and does not address the health and psychological risks for women and children. 

While infertility is a heartbreaking issue facing many couples today, commercial surrogacy is not the answer--and commercial surrogacy certainly doesn't resolve the infertility problem. Many individuals and same-sex couples also want children. Importantly, no one has the "human right" to a child. Children are a gift from God.

Isn't surrogacy already legal in MN? What's the big deal?

Surrogacy has not been declared legal or illegal in Minnesota. Surrogacies have been occurring in Minnesota, but our laws have not declared them to be legal or illegal contracts. Our courts have not really ruled on surrogacy either, and the state has not had a policy discussion about whether we want commercial surrogacy contracts to be valid in Minnesota. 

Our state has not yet delved deeply into this issue to consider the prolife, health, psychological, moral, ethical, and other concerns that come with commercial surrogacy.

How many surrogacies occur in MN?

We don't know. The fertility industry in the U.S. and Minnesota is not regulated, so there are no real reporting requirements or tracking on the number of surrogacies. The number of surrogacies in Minnesota would be a guesstimate at best.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that 1400 chidren were born of surrogacies in 2008 in the United States, but no comprehensive solid data exists because there are no reporting requirements nationally or in Minnesota.

What do other states or countries do about surrogacies?

Since the technology for assisted reproduction (via sperm donation, egg donation, and surrogacy) is relatively new, states are still struggling with how to address surrogacy. 

Some, like Michigan and Washington, D.C., ban commercial surrogacy with criminal penalties; others like Minnesota haven't made a decision yet; still others allow surrogacy but prohibit compensation; others allow surrogacy but with various regulations or prohibitions. 

Here's a helpful State-By-State Guide to Surrogacy.

In 2011, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on violence against women that condemned surrogacy as a violation of women's human rights, and commercial surrogacy is illegal in many European countries.

Canada also prohibits commercial surrogacy.

What SHOULD MN be doing about surrogacies?

In 2002, a task force on the Uniform Parentage Act concluded that further study on surrogacy arrangements needed to be done in Minnesota, in order to fully study the breadth of all issues implicated in these complex arrangements. No such study has ever been done.

It is high time for our government leaders to take a closer look (in a non-biased, non-partisan way) at many of the issues implicated by commercial surrogacy agreements including but not limited to: the health and psychological risks to women and children born from surrogacy arrangements, all legal rammifications of validating contracts whereby women's bodies can be rented and children can be sold, moral and ethical implications, and the early childhood development issues related to intentionally severing the bond between a birth mother and her child, among many more. 

We recommend that a non-partisan group of elected officials in MN create a temporary commission to fully study commercial surrogacy arrangements and then recommend the best path forward for MN.

Isn't surrogacy just an agreement (contract) between adults?

Many people who support commercial surrogacy say that adults should be able to "make a contract" to do whatever they want. While it is important for adults to have the freedom to enter into contracts, there are certain contractual agreements that should not be enforceable because they go against what we know to be moral and just. This is especially true for men and women of Christ. That is why allowing adults to "contract" to enslave themselves, prostitute themselves, or to assist someone in ending their life are generally considered to be against our public policy and morality as God's people.

Because commercial surrogacy enables adults to contract to rent out women's bodies for a "pregnancy service," and to buy and sell children, these types of contracts should also be against our public policy and morality as God's people.