SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — If you happened to see a big sign in Falls Park on Saturday that read ‘SD Surrogacy,’ that’s because a new organization in the state was hosting their kick-off event.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 10-percent of women nationally between the ages of fifteen and forty-four have trouble becoming pregnant or staying pregnant.
Families from South Dakota Surrogacy wants to support those people and advocate for alternative reproductive options like surrogacy. Lisa Rahja founded the organization after a bill in last year’s legislative session attempted to ban commercial surrogacy contracts and make it a crime to facilitate the process.
“So in South Dakota, surrogacy has been occurring for over 30 years. During that time, we have not had one legal issue,” Rahja said. “People have gone through surrogacy just through, kind of, word of mouth. They talk to people, they talk to the clinic and they talk to the reproductive attorneys. There really was no support for people going through it. There were no laws, no non-profit organizations. We didn’t even have an agency. So it was kind of the blind leading the blind for people for the longest time, unless you went outside of South Dakota in order to receive that support and resources.”
Rahja’s own son was born through a surrogate.