As the Minnesota Legislature continues to consider whether to ban compensated surrogacy in our state (as reported by the Star Tribune on Jan. 29), I feel the need to speak out. I want to be a voice for all those people who, like me, don’t have any options other than surrogacy to have a biological child.
The past three and a half years have been quite a journey for me and my husband, Dan. We are now proud parents, blessed with a beautiful daughter named Phoebe, who was born in June 2015. But there was a time in our life when we didn’t know if we would be able to have the child we desperately wanted.
Because of a congenital heart defect that has required five open-heart surgeries, pregnancy is extremely risky for me. In fact, my cardiologist discouraged it, explaining that pregnancy could result in a stroke, another heart surgery, or other severe complications. So even though I longed to carry a pregnancy, safely under my heart, I knew I had to find another option. Surrogacy was a gift for me and Dan. We are forever grateful that this was an option for us here in Minnesota.
Not only do we have our precious daughter, who is our world now, but we also have an incredible relationship with our gestational carrier, or surrogate. She is absolutely amazing and has become part of our family.
People often get confused about the term “compensated gestational surrogacy” and believe compensating a woman to carry a baby that is not genetically linked to her, makes the situation somehow tainted. From our surrogate’s perspective, it hasn’t been about the money. She wanted to help a loving family like ours grow. All she asked was that all medical bills and expenses from the pregnancy be covered, as well as any lost wages, and we chose to also compensate her for her time. She did something amazing for us and we gladly wanted to compensate her. Having a baby is hard work!
To reinforce how positive my husband and I feel about surrogacy, we are already making plans to tell Phoebe about her surrogate. We have bought surrogacy-specific books for her to read, and we are building a scrapbook for both her and our surrogate. Since our surrogate is actively involved in our life, she will also be available to proudly tell my daughter about her role in our daughter’s birth.
If Minnesota were to ban compensated surrogacy arrangements, it would be the first state in more than a generation to enact restrictions on residents who need reproductive help to have a biological child.
I urge you to write to your legislator to convey your support for keeping compensated gestational surrogacy available so families like ours can have the children they have always dreamed of having.
Trisha Ciro lives in East Bethel.