Sarah Pitlyk, a lawyer who has argued that surrogacy and IVF have “grave effects on society” who was nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri was recently approved by Senate Republicans. Like many of you reading this, as well as many of us in our community, our families wouldn’t have been possible without IVF or surrogacy. Yes, this is 2019 and we are not dreaming.
Her nomination, and now confirmation, is controversial for several reasons, but mostly due to her views on surrogacy and fertility treatments such as IVF. In a recent Huffington Post article chronicling the controversy, senior HuffPost politics reporter, Jennifer Bendery, notes that this is a lifetime confirmation and points to some of Pitlyk’s worrying opinions from a 2017 interview with the National Catholic Register such as “surrogacy is harmful to mothers and children, so it’s a practice society should not be enforcing.”
Opponents to Pitlyk’s nomination included Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who wrote an impassioned plea to her fellow Senate members noting her struggles with infertility. Soon after Pitlyk’s confirmation, Glamour published an article profiling several families who shared their stories of ART and surrogacy. As both articles note, the judicial appointment is for a lifetime, and should Pitlyk be presented with a case involving ART or surrogacy, the fear is that she will allow her personal beliefs to influence her judicial rulings.
If you’re 1 in 6 U.S. couples who have faced infertility, according to a 2014 National Institutes of Health study, and afraid of what this means, you’re not alone. We should be empowered to make our own decisions regarding how we want to start a family, and if this means with the help of modern medicine or opting to use surrogacy. IVF and surrogacy are often the last resort for families and never thought that they would have had to go through the process 10 years ago.
So, what does this mean now? Our community must stay vigilant and stay informed on issues such as this one. The best way to stay informed, follow the National Infertility Institute, RESOLVE. RESOLVE is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support, education, and information to women and men experiencing infertility. They have built relationships with key Senators like Senator Tammy Duckworth and Senator Patty Murray, and they are ready to fight for our community.
Read the Glamour article here.