Note: The following letter is being sent on Monday, May 16, 2016, to all members of the Louisiana State Senate

Louisiana State Senate
P.O. Box 94183
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Members of the Louisiana State Senate,

I am writing to urge you to oppose House Bill 1102. For more than a decade I have written, testified, spoken, and made documentary films in the area of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). While extremely sympathetic to the desires of infertile couples to have children, I am deeply concerned with how little focus is placed on the children created via ART, and on the women often needed to supply eggs and wombs.

I was a pediatric nurse for over two decades. In that field, a priority is given to the maternal-child bond. The most natural environment for the child, his or her mother’s womb, is of utmost importance to the physical and emotional development and well-being of a child. Each year we learn more about the womb and about the life-long connection between mother and child.

Surrogacy intentionally sets up a negative environment for both mother and child. Due to the high costs involved in surrogacy and the strong desire to boost success rates, multiple embryos are often transferred into the surrogate mother. In addition to the increased risk of caesarian sections and longer hospital stays, the British Journal of Medicine warns, “Multiple pregnancies are associated with maternal and perinatal complications such as gestational diabetes, fetal growth restriction, and pre-eclampsia as well as premature birth.” Multiple studies have found “increased in multiple births, NICU admission, and length of stay with hospital charges several multiples beyond that of a term infant conceived naturally and provided care in our nursery” for surrogate pregnancies. Studies also show that women pregnant with donor eggs—the definition of gestational surrogacy—have a more than three-fold risk of developing pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia.

Children born through surrogacy are much more likely to suffer from low and very low birth weights. And a 2014 study from the Journal of Perinatology found a 4-5-fold increase in stillbirths from pregnancies through assisted reproductive technologies. There have been confirmed deaths of surrogate mothers in both the United States and abroad.

HB 1102 requires that the surrogate mother has already had children, but no one has done any sociological studies on the children in such homes, who observe their mothers keeping some of the babies and giving others away.

Surrogacy takes something as natural as a pregnant woman nurturing her unborn child, and turns it into an unnatural contractual endeavor.

The United States is often referred to as the Wild, Wild West of ART. Please oppose this bill. Louisiana should not codify harms to women and children.

Jennifer Lahl
President, The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network