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Surrogate Contracts

June 14, 1988

I am writing in response to the front-page article concerning passage of Assembly Bill 3200 voiding contracts to bear a child by the surrogate process (May 24). In light of the often negative publicity these arrangements receive it is time to speak out. I would like the public to obtain a truer perspective of the situation as it exists today.

Disputes are actually rare and isolated, yet these have made for the good news copy and now even a movie. Little interest is shown in the hundreds of everyday, humdrum, yet wonderfully happy families that would not exist without the help of surrogate mothers. Yet this is what typifies the surrogate process, and what it is all about. In turn the surrogate mothers and their families are all enriched emotionally and spiritually.

The surrogate mothers would not go through the often long, grueling process just for money. Those that would do it only for money should be screened out by any experienced program. The surrogates are compensated for their time and expenses just like anybody else.

Surrogate parenting is as old as the Bible and will not disappear by an act of the Legislature. The process is complex emotionally and legally. All parties need to be screened and counselled by experienced professionals just as in adoption. AB 3200 will turn it private or drive it underground and eliminate the very professionals needed to maintain propriety.

No one wants to see custody battles such as the Sterns-Whitehead case paraded so much through the news. We of course believe the birth mother should have a right to change her mind and have legal recourse to retain the child, just as in adoption law currently in force.

Surrogacy is not for everyone and we don't impose our views on anyone not interested. But why should a small number of unaffected parties be able to tell infertile couples how to run their lives?

Infertility is epidemic in our society. Adoption is a long, harrowing process which I'm personally familiar with. By limiting their options, AB 3200 is a slap in the face to infertile couples already hurting. It also would void contracts retroactively. When has that ever been the way of our law? It would stigmatize the hundreds of normal, happy children already born through surrogacy.

Please remember that out of once painful infertility there are now hundreds of happy little families created through the help of a surrogate mother.

KENNETH L. LINDEN, M.D.

Organization for Parenting

Through Surrogacy

Redondo Beach

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