Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Surrogacy in Kansas

A few weeks ago an interesting piece of news came out of Kansas. The Republican Senator, Mary Pilcher-Cook, has proposed Senate Bill 302 which would make it illegal to use or be a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier. A Washington Post article reads, "If passed, it would make all agreements, whether oral or in writing, with surrogate mothers null and void. Anyone involved in hiring, or working as, a surrogate could be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable with up to a $10,000 fine and a year in the county jail."

To read the full article, please visit the Washington Post website. Another article on a different website mentions how the Senator did live sonograms in front of legislators - read that article here.

Below is a letter written to the Senator in response to this proposed bill. I'm sharing this letter by Kristy Zieman with her permision:

To Whom it May Concern,

I would like to share my concerns regarding the proposed bill SB 302 which would ban surrogate pregnancy in the state of Kansas. My name is Kristy Zieman and I was born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome. This syndrome, in its simplest description means that I was born without a uterus; I was however born with my ovaries which are fully functioning and ovulating eggs. I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old and I am now 34 years old. This syndrome is extremely hard to accept and cope with as it completely affects one’s psyche on what it means to be a “normal” woman.

Most people, especially women, blindly believe that it is a woman’s natural born right to have children. In living with MRKH, you have to live with the fact that you will never be able to become pregnant and carry your own child. This is beyond heartbreaking in a way that I cannot explain to you, and am sure only those who cannot have children will ever fully understand. MRKH shattered my self-worth as a woman, at least until I fully understood what my options actually were. My ability to cope with my syndrome was in part due to the fact that my specialist explained to me that I should not give up my dream of having a biological child because it was still an option for me through the use of surrogacy.

Since I was born with my ovaries that do ovulate eggs, it would be possible for me to have my eggs retrieved. Through in vitro fertilization, an embryo made of my eggs and my husband’s sperm could be implanted into a Surrogate. Words will never express what this type of hope gave to my life as a young woman trying to cope with the world of infertility that was thrown at me. Nature may have taken away from me my ability to carry a child, but science gives me the opportunity to have another woman carry that child for me; I can still have a biological child if I choose to.

Please think on the following when reviewing bill SB 302… What right does anyone have to take my ability to have a biological child away? I was dealt a hard hand but found acceptance of it because of the possibilities science gives me. Now I’m being told that against all of the odds I have overcome to live with MRKH, it may be illegal for me to have a biological child if I want to. This notion is unacceptable and appalling. I have devoted my adult life to the study of science and medicine. I am an upstanding and law abiding citizen of the state of Kansas; I pay my taxes, I hold a full-time job, and so does my husband. I am in no way a drain on society, but a contributor to society. I am a Professor at Butler Community College of Human Anatomy & Physiology and Microbiology for Nursing/Pre-Med students. I devote myself to teaching future healthcare givers of this state, which I would say is an asset to our state. I am the type of person that is going to be unjustly hurt and affected if bill SB 302 passes.

Now tell me in what world is that fair and acceptable? MRKH affects around 1 in 4500 women; what if your daughter or granddaughter was born with MRKH? Would you still be okay with a law that you voted for, telling them that although the ability is possible, they still can’t have a biological child because they would be fined and/or imprisoned for using a surrogate? Would you like productive members of society like myself moving out of the state of Kansas because of such a law? It is horrible that I have to actually write this letter in the first place. When this bill was proposed last week it made me feel worthless as a woman again for the first time in almost 20 years.

My name is Kristy Zieman, I am an MRKH Warrior, a voice for the voiceless, and I am the type of person that this bill will hurt. I do not deserve, nor does anyone, such a personal reproductive choice to be made for me by someone who has never met me, who has never lived a day in my shoes, and whom probably has their own biological children without having to struggle for it. I appreciate your time in reading my testimony, and hope that the rights of all women in Kansas that cannot carry their own children are heavily and fairly considered when voting.

Kristy Zieman

Blog Author's Note: To learn more about MRKH, please visit www.mrkh.org and www.beautifulyoumrkh.org.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to know what possible reason Sen. Pilcher-Cook could have for proposing this bill. Talk about sticking her nose into peoples' lives!? How in the world does this make sense? As the mother of a young woman with MRKH, I too think that this proposed bill is appalling, insensitive and without merit. I hope and pray that common sense, compassion and wisdom prevail in Kansas and that this bill ends up on the trash heap where it belongs.