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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Utah parents who need the help of a surrogate birth mother will be able to enter legal contracts and see their children born in Utah hospitals now that Gov. Jon Huntsman has signed a surrogacy bill into law.
"This provides an important option for couples who are not able to have children of their own," Huntsman said Wednesday, after signing the bill during a ceremony in Logan.
The new law goes into effect July 1.
Sponsored by Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, the new law is limited to infertile married couples and requires surrogate contracts to be approved by state courts.
Previously, surrogate relationships were prohibited in Utah law, so neither parents or surrogates had legal protection. State law also required a surrogate mother's name to appear on a birth certificate, even though she was not the child's biological mother. As a result, surrogates typically left Utah to deliver babies.
The law sets procedures for filling out birth certificates with the names of the biological parents and for determining paternity.
It also requires that surrogate candidates are financially stable women who have previously been pregnant, given birth and understand the risks associated with pregnancy.
Hillyard's proposal got by easily in the Senate but faced strong opposition in the House, where members said the measure was sanctioning "womb rental" and could undercut adoption as a choice for couples.
"I'm glad I did it," said Hillyard, who has worked on the legislation since 1998. "We now become the fifth state that has adopted this and I think it brings some direction to the courts."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)