SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) — Tuesday, a lawmaker introduced a commemoration to recognize South Dakota Infertility Awareness Day.
Another lawmaker objected, which blocked the commemoration from moving forward. It’s a move that doesn’t happen often.
But as KELOLAND’s Renee Ortiz reports, it’s just another obstacle members of a group that promotes surrogacy in South Dakota say they’ve faced in Pierre.
Infertility is a common problem. According to the CDC about 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15- and-49 are unable to conceive.
“Infertility does not discriminate between a man and a woman, there can be a lot of factors that go into infertility,” said Amber Rikansrud, former gestational surrogate.
Amber Rikansrud carried a baby in 2018 for a couple in Texas.
“It’s such a blessing to me, to be able to give that gift to somebody else that was unable to, you know, carry on their own,” Rikansrud said.
She joined the non-profit Families from South Dakota Surrogacy in 2020, when Republican Representative Jon Hansen introduced House Bill 1096 which would have banned commercial surrogacy in South Dakota.
“We recognized that there was a lot of force against IVF and assisted reproduction. We felt the need to work together collaboratively to ensure that these resources remain available,” said Elizabeth Waletich, intended mother.
Elizabeth Waletich used a surrogate for her daughter. She says over the years there have been several bills introduced trying to prohibit or restrict IVF and surrogacy in South Dakota, and expects there are more to come.
“Our fear is doubling down that this will be a year where, now that Roe versus Wade is overturned, there’s that much more room for them to be aggressive towards assisted reproduction,” Waletich said.
KELOLAND NEWS reached out to Representative Jon Hansen. He didn’t respond. We also reached out to South Dakota Right to Life and the organization didn’t have a comment.