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Couples share emotional stories as state lawmakers consider protections for pregnancies involving surrogates

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    DENVER (KCNC) — More than 300 Colorado couples enter surrogacy arrangements each year to have children, but there is no law to protect them should either party back out. That would change under a bill being pushed by parents like Judith Hoechst.

She told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee it took years, multiple miscarriages, and in vitro fertilization to conceive her daughter.

“On the night our daughter was born I almost died from blood loss.”

Her uterus was unable to sustain another pregnancy, so when she decided to have a second child, she turned to a surrogate to carry her son. She says she was worried about the lack of legal protections in Colorado should the surrogate back out.

“For that reason I chose surrogate in California because had very good surrogacy statutes in place,” Hoechst said.

State Rep. Meg Froelich says it’s time Colorado – which has world class fertility clinics – passed it’s own surrogacy law.

“In some ways we’re playing catch-up with technology and bioethics.”

Froelich and Sen. Joann Ginal are sponsors of a bill which, among other things, requires surrogates and parents have separate attorneys, undergo medical and mental health screenings and sign contracts that detail the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

“Should something go wrong, having specific protections established in statute prevents surrogacy-related court cases from being left to the discretion of judges,” said Ginal.

After her son’s birth, Hoechst became an attorney specializing in surrogacy cases.

“This is incredible, wonderful, intimate journey to having a child.”

She says the bill would also make it easier for couples, and not their surrogates, to be listed as parents on birth certificates, something she says courts are reluctant to do now.

Twenty five other states have similar laws. The bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee 5-2 and is headed to the floor. It’s already passed the House.

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