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Utah legalises surrogacy, with conditions

Dr. Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

06 March 2005

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[BioNews, London] The US state of Utah has passed a bill (SB14) that will legalise some surrogacy arrangements in the state. The bill originally passed through the state's Senate last month. Last week, members of the state House of Representatives voted 38 to 31 in favour of the bill, which says that only women who are married and medically unable to become pregnant or give birth would be allowed to enter into a surrogacy agreement. It also states that women used as surrogates must be financially stable - not on welfare - and must have previously carried and delivered a baby. The bill was passed through the House after an amendment was approved that excluded couples where one partner would provide neither the sperm nor the eggs from entering into a surrogacy arrangement. This means that both partial and full surrogacy are allowed, but not surrogacy where the embryo is wholly donated, either by the surrogate or anyone else.

Another amendment to the bill was defeated - this would have placed a limit on the amount of money the woman acting as surrogate could be paid for her services. Utah law previously prohibited payments to surrogates. The amendments to the bill then passed back to the state Senate to be approved, before final approval is given by the state's Governor. With little debate, the Senate gave its final endorsement to the amended version of the bill last Friday. A spokesman for Republican Governor Jon Huntsman said he is generally supportive of the bill but will wait to see it in its final form.

Republican representative Margaret Dayton said that she was worried that the new law would be used by 'career women' to start a family, and open the prospect of a market 'where we are going to save our best heifers, I mean women for breeding'. She said: 'I have a real concern about legalising this technology just because we can', adding 'I have great compassion for those who can't have children and want them, but I also know that there are many good children who need adopting'. Republican representative Eric Hutchings, who amended the bill to prohibit the use of a surrogate if the gametes of neither the intending mother nor father are used, likened the process of surrogacy to 'ready meals'. 'Currently, the parents don't have to put anything into it. They can buy the egg, buy the sperm, and rent the womb', he said, adding 'if that's the way they want to go, there are kids which are already cooked, they're already done'.

Representative Lorie Fowlke, the bill's sponsor, said that she was offended by some of the comments and assumptions made in the debate. She said the bill was intended to help those couples who could not have a child of their own, pointing out that the bill only allowed married couples to use a surrogate, and that there must be a medical reason indicating surrogacy as an option. 'There is nothing more painful to a woman who wants to be a mother and cannot, and we should provide this option to them', she said, adding that she had doubts that the bill would encourage or allow women to make a career out of being a surrogate.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 06 March 2005   Date Updated: 06 March 2005
Customer Reviews (1)
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christi   07 October 2009
Bill sb14
I was just reading the article. You mentioned bill SB14. I tried to look this bill up and bill SB14 is totally different then what you said it is. Could you be wrong? Can you point me in the direction of where you obtained your information? thankyou

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