One step forward, two steps back?
Louisiana is poised to be the next state to establish the regulatory framework necessary for surrogacy. While surrogate arrangements do currently take place there, they are without clear guidelines and offer very little legal protection to the surrogate or the intended parents.
As an agency, our priority is protecting all the parties involved in a surrogacy match. We believe strongly in laws that have been enacted to protect surrogacy and help it thrive. We fully support this particular bill’s requirements that a surrogate have given birth to a child and undergo mental and physical evaluations, as well as agreeing to relinquish all rights to the child she is carrying. These laws protect both the surrogate and the family she is helping.
However, there is another very specific stipulation to this bill. It states that a surrogate is only allowed to carry for a married couple who couldn’t otherwise have a biological child.
According to Rep. Sherman Mack, “The intent of the bill is pro-family.”
But apparently only if “family” is within a limited definition. In a bill that includes so many stipulations made to truly protect the surrogate, the intended parents, and the child, why such a narrow scope on who can benefit from the process?
The beauty of surrogacy is, of course, building a family. When that option is only given to people the state has decided are worthy, we have to wonder about the politics that are behind the bill. And there are always politics involved.
There is often opposition from anti-abortion groups in any legislation involving in-vitro fertilization, and this is no different. Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative group, opposed the bill and said it destroys embryos and “radically redefines the family.”
But how? The stipulation that surrogacy as a family building option is only protected for married couples actually does very little to redefine a family. It clearly discriminates against single or same sex couples who desperately want a child, and one can argue that it diminishes the woman who’s carrying and her right to make educated choices about her role in the process. A gestational carrier is interested in helping build a family, not being a pawn for a political agenda.
We’re pleased that the state of Louisiana recognizes the rise in surrogacy and acknowledges the need for laws governing it. We can only hope that, eventually, these laws will include all hopeful parents.