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The surrogate debate
By Laura McCallum
Minnesota Public Radio
February 6, 2002

Daonna Depoister, representing Resolve of Minnesota, a group that helps couples battling infertility, testifies at the Capitol on Feb. 6. She testified in support of the legislation. Listen to her comments.

Opposing the bill was Tom Pritchard, head of the Minnesota Family Council. Listen to his comments.

(MPR Photo/Laura McCallum)

A Minnesota House committee began debating a bill dealing with surrogate motherhood that critics say will lead to baby selling.

Rep. Kathy Tingelstad's (R-Andover) bill (See bill) would create a binding contract between an infertile couple and a surrogate mother who agrees to bear their child.

The surrogate mother would be required to go through counseling, and would give up parental rights. She would not be allowed to back out of the agreement, or have an abortion. The intended parents would be required to keep the child regardless of the child's health, and would compensate the surrogate mother.

Tinglestad says there's nothing in state law now to regulate the surrogacy agreements taking place. "These are families that really, really, really want children," she said. "Many of them have gone through years of infertility treatment, have gone through adoption process that maybe have failed, and they're looking at some options related to assisted reproduction."

The anti-abortion group Human Life Alliance and the Minnesota Family Council oppose the bill. Family Council President Tom Prichard says it could lead to baby selling and the destruction of embryos.

"Children in some respects are becoming commodities, created at the whim of people who then, in my view, can sell them to other individuals," he said.

Prichard says the bill could also undermine the adoption process and promote single parent households. The House Civil Law Committee delayed action on the bill until Monday.

More from MPR
  • The Fertility Race (Nov. 1997)