Dear Chair Becker-Finn and Members,

My name is Katy Faust, I am the founder and President of Them Before Us—a nonprofit committed to defending children’s rights to their mothers and fathers. I am writing in opposition HF 3567 because of the significant and lasting harm that they pose to Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens—children. I urge you to consider their rights and the suffering that arises when these rights are violated.

Under this bill, what makes someone the parent of a child is not the natural biological bond that exists between them, nor adoption—an arrangement that is designed with the child’s best interest in mind and thus requires rigorous background checks and screening of the adults involved. Rather, it establishes parentage on the basis of intent. This change renders children as commodities to be awarded to any adults with the money and means to acquire them.

Donor conception and surrogacy arrangements privilege the wishes of adults over the rights and needs of children. We urge you to consider the voices of those who have been most affected by these practices. Research has found that 70% of donor-conceived adults believed that society should not encourage gamete donation and 62% said that they found the commercial nature of gamete donation to be unethical.1

Ellie, a woman who was conceived via sperm donation, wrote,

I hate my conception… Why is it legal for a doctor to allow a child to be created with the purpose of being cut off from biological family to make the recipient parents happy?  The process commodifies real human beings.  

I’ve been involved in the state foster care system for about two decades, a system which encourages keeping families together and tries to support keeping children with their blood relatives unless there is a severe safety issue.  Children thrive best with their biological families, even when those families need extra help, something our government recognizes within the foster system.  Unfortunately, I was born as the result of a profit-driven medical clinic selling parental rights without regard for what is best for the end product, the child produced. 

Surrogacy takes this violation of children’s rights a step further. If a child of surrogacy is one of the 7% of lab-created babies given a chance at life,2 she will lose the only person she has ever known moments after birth.3 Mother-child bonding begins in utero. By the time a baby is born, she knows her mother’s voice4 and smell5 and has been responding to her emotions.6 Studies show that maternal separation—something that every child of surrogacy experiences—is a major physiological stressor for an infant7 and even brief maternal deprivation can alter the structure of the infant’s brain.8 These effects can last into adulthood.

It is one thing for a child to experience this “primal wound” due to tragedy. It is something else entirely when this trauma is inflicted purposefully and commercially. The adults involved may have consented to the terms of the contract, but a child never consents to this trauma and loss.

The only other instances where a child endures this primal wound loss is via maternal death, or when the birth mother places the child for adoption because she cannot or will not afford the baby the care s/he deserves. Adoption is a just society’s response to maternal loss. Surrogacy is an injustice that requires children to undergo loss not due to tragedy, but adult intentionality. Consider the differences between these arrangements:  

  • In adoption, direct payments to birth parents are prohibited—that is child trafficking. The fertility industry is built on direct payments to genetic and birth parents. 
  • In adoption, kinship and family ties are prioritized. In surrogacy, kinship and family ties are routinely disregarded. 
  • Adoption requires rigorous background checks and screening of prospective parents. The fertility industry has no such vetting of “intended” parents. 
  • Adoption upholds the rights of children; the fertility industry victimizes them.

One individual born via a surrogacy arrangement wrote,

To be raised by two persons who you were once cells of, by a woman who you bonded with when growing in her tummy, to be birthed into the world to both these creators and be made not from cash but from mutual love from all parties…is natural and beautiful. But I was denied this primal family structure to support a business and an unfamiliar infertile couple.9

Even when a child of surrogacy is raised by their genetic parents, they still experience the trauma of maternal loss when they are separated from their birth mother. Additionally, they still feel the commodification of being exchanged for money. Brian, a child of surrogacy wrote, “Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings. How do you think this makes us feel to know that there was money exchanged for us?” Olivia, another child of surrogacy put it this way: “I lived it as an abandonment. I feel as if I was abandoned by my birth mother…. There’s nothing worse than for a child to feel that at one moment in my life I was literally sold for a check.”

Children are people, not products to be commissioned, swapped, sold, or traded under contract. They deserve to have their rights protected. I urge you to consider the perspectives of the individuals who have been harmed by these practices and consider the ways that this legislation would harm others like them. As one donor-conceived individual put it, “Third-party reproduction is not a new way to create families; it’s a new way to rip them apart.”10


Katy Faust, Founder & President, Them Before Us


Them Before Us’s engagement coordinator, Patience Griswold, provided testimony against this bill (26:39):


  3.  and
  4.  “Newborn Senses.” Stanford Medicine Children’s Health – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.
  5.  Vaglio, Stefano. “Chemical Communication and mother-infant recognition.” Communicative & Integrative Biology, vol. 2, no. 3, 2009, pp. 279–281,
  6.  Semeia, Lorenzo, et al. “Impact of maternal emotional state during pregnancy on fetal heart rate variability.” Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 14, 14 May 2023, p. 100181,
  7.  Morgan, Barak E., et al. “Should neonates sleep alone?” Biological Psychiatry, vol. 70, no. 9, 2011, pp. 817–825,
  8.  “Even Brief Maternal Deprivation Early in Life Alters Adult Brain Function and Cognition: Rat Study.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 3 May 2018,