My name is Katy Faust. I am founder and director of the children’s rights organization Them Before Us, committed to defending children’s rights in family structure. We represent the party most impacted by HF 1140 – the children. While surrogacy harms children in a variety of ways, from inflicting trauma to the routine use of donor gametes to health risks- I am writing you today about one specific harm- commodification.
Surrogacy treats children as products which can be designed, purchased, and delivered to adults who often have no biological connection to the child. This impacts a child’s self-image and familial relationships. Here are some of their stories:
“I am told, look how much your parents wanted you, they planned and saved to have you… When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after being paid you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself.” –Jessica Kern (Child of Surrogacy)
“I don’t care why my parents or my mother did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want. But the fact is that someone contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. When you exchange something for money it is called a commodity. Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings.” –Brian C (Child of Surrogacy)
“…being “wanted” can sometimes feel like a curse, like I was created to make you happy, my rights be damned. I’d be lying if I said I never felt commodified.” – Bethany
“I have to live everyday with the full knowledge that I’m the product of a eugenic science experiment.” – Nicholas Isel
“I knew from an early age that I was purchased and selected from essentially a catalog. I knew that my blonde hair and blue eyes was somehow valued above other colorations—because my mother never fell in love with my father, he was never a full human being to her only a handful of breeding details. I always knew that I was purchased and created precisely to make her happy, that was my raison d’etre. – Alana Newman
Even without the $100,000+ surrogacy price tag, children created via reproductive technologies often feel commodified. According to the study “My Daddy’s Name is Donor“, half of donor-conceived children are disturbed that money changed hands during their conception.
Very simply, HF 1140 puts Minnesota’s stamp of approval on the commodification of children, and often the intentional loss of one or both biological parents. As one donor-conceived woman puts it, “This is not a new way of creating families, it’s a new way of ripping them apart.”