Growing Generations’ Surrogate Speaks with Minnesota Legislators About Surrogacy

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Sarah Irons, a first time gestational surrogate with Los Angeles based Growing Generations, travelled to Saint Paul, Minnesota this week to speak with state legislators about surrogacy.

Irons, who holds a Master’s Degree in Family Education from the University of Minnesota, visited the state capitol with nonprofit group Resolve: The National Infertility Association for Resolve’s Advocacy Day on April 13, 2016. The group, spearheaded by Jill Wolfe & Betsy Campbell, is appealing to legislators to form a large, inclusive task force to consider the state’s stance on gestational surrogacy. Currently the state has no legislation surrounding gestational surrogacy.

The concern for Irons, as well as for Resolve, is that conservative activists would rather form a small committee which may or may not include experts on surrogacy, and may exclude those with real life experience with gestational surrogacy, to consider what legislation should be formed. The appeal of a larger task force would ensure all voices are heard, and common misconceptions about surrogacy can be debated on even ground.

“I told the legislators about myself. How I’m married with 4 young kids, carry multiple degrees, that I’m a teacher, and that I’m in the process of becoming a surrogate. They would look slightly surprised when I’d get to the surrogacy part, because the misconception is that surrogates are poor, uneducated women,” Irons said of her conversations with legislators, “Then I’d talk to them about the new bill being proposed to create a more inclusive task force and I’d ask if they agree that’s it’s only fair to include all stake holders in developing legislation like this. I asked ‘All voices should be heard, don’t you think?’ They agreed.”

Irons says speaking to legislators was scary, but that it was a fear she had to face, “Knowing that they have this stereotype of surrogates and feeling like I’m the opposite of the stereotype – I felt I had to go!”

Irons becomes one of several Growing Generations’ surrogates to take action in Minnesota and fight for fair legislation. In 2015 Claire Neilson, who delivered twins via gestational surrogacy, also appealed to state law makers in favor of surrogacy.

The new legislation to create an inclusive task force will be formally proposed on April 14, 2016. An official vote on the matter is expected sometime in 2017, with formal legislation expected to follow in the subsequent several years.

Gestational surrogacy is a form of assisted reproduction wherein a woman, the gestational surrogate, is implanted with an embryo created from the ovum (egg) of another woman and sperm from either an intended father or sperm donor. The embryo is created through In Vitro Fertilization and grown in a lab before transfer into the surrogate’s uterus. The result is a woman who carries a child to whom she bears no genetic link for nine months before returning the child to his/her intended parents upon birth.

 

About Resolve: The National Infertility Association

Established in 1974, Resolve: The National Infertility Association, is a non profit organization with one goal; promote reproductive health while ensuring equal access to family building options for all men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders. Quite simply, Resolve improves the lives of those living with infertility. RESOLVE is a member of the National Coalition for Oversight of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (NCOART), the National Health Council and is a founding member of the International Federation of Infertility Patient Associations (IFIPA).To learn more, please visit www.resolve.org

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.