Pierre, South Dakota – February 5, 2020 – Elizabeth Waletich of Britton, South Dakota, turned to surrogacy to make her dreams of having a child come true. Now she fears that same dream will be denied to other women.
“It was already difficult for us to find a suitable surrogate when we had our baby. Now I worry it will be even harder. There’s this awful misconception that surrogates are performing this service for the money they might make or that couples are paying for babies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Surrogates face a lot of associated costs along with the pregnancy. There are legal costs to ensure that the surrogate’s rights are protected during and after the pregnancy. There are the costs of doctor’s appointments, testing, medications, vitamins and the cost of the delivery, not to mention the lost wages due to all the medical appointments, illness, and recovery. It’s not reasonable to ask someone to not only make a huge decision of carrying another couple’s child, but also to cover all the costs associated with that pregnancy and delivery. Wanting to help the person who carries your child for you for nine months is natural.”
For the estimated 6.1 million women in America who suffer from infertility as a result of cancer treatment or other conditions, the bill being voted on in the South Dakota legislature could make finding a surrogate extremely difficult. Concerns have also been raised by opponents due to the broad language in the proposed legislation.
Emilee Gehling, an attorney, of Gehling Osborn Law and co-founder of Dakota Surrogacy, explains, “The language in the proposed bill is extremely broad. We’re worried it will needlessly criminalize people with good intentions. As it stands, anyone who introduces a couple or an individual to a potential surrogate could be labeled a surrogacy broker and face criminal charges. Often, those who make the introduction are friends and family members of both sides involved in surrogacy. In addition, this bill would not allow parents to pay for a surrogate’s attorney or other costs she has to pay just to be a surrogate. Why are we making it so much harder for infertile couples, who have gone through years of heartbreak, or cancer survivors, who have had to go through chemotherapy or hysterectomies and who have already suffered so much, to simply have the family they so desperately desire?”
The proposed legislation, Bill 1096, which opponents say needs revision and further consultation, is set to be voted on in the South Dakota legislature on Thursday, February 6, 2020.
We invite those interested or concerned about the legislation to contact representatives of the South Dakota legislature, fund advocacy efforts via a Gofundme campaign and to share their thoughts using the hashtags: #FightForLife #SDsurrogacy
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: