DALTON, Minnesota –
A small Minnesota town is making national headlines this week after the Associated Press learned that a local Planned Parenthood facility was renting out babies and young children to couples who were deciding on whether or not to start families of their own.
According to reports, the New Beginnings Clinic in Dalton started a program where, for a fee, couples could ‘lease’ a child for a short period of time to better familiarize themselves with what being parents would be like. The program director, Gail Levesque, says that since the program started last October, many couples were able to decide positively if they wanted a future that included children.
“The support has been wonderful,” said Levesque. “The entire community really understands what we’re doing, and many families have helped by loaning to us their babies and toddlers so these couples could really see what life is like with a child. We always split the rental fee with the family who was gracious enough to lend us their precious bundle of joy.”
Levesque says that couples looking to rent a child from them go through extensive background and criminal checks, as well as drug testing. After all reports come in, then – and only then – will the clinic approve the request for loan. The fee to rent a baby for a week begins at $400. The longest they allow you to keep the child is 9 weeks, for an even $2500.
“It’s a small fee to pay to really understand what being a parent is like,” said Levesque. “So many of our couples who have chosen not to start families after their rental period really thank us for showing them a possible future. They are more than happy to have spent only $400 for a week with a baby to know that they couldn’t possibly handle 18 years of the same things.”
“It worked out really great for my me and my husband,” said Amber Perry, a mother of a 2-year-old boy. “We wanted to take a vacation to Palm Springs, and bringing along a small child would be such a hassle. We didn’t have any family to take him in, so we loaned him to New Beginnings. They gave us $200 up-front for the use of our child, so we got to have some extra fun on our vacation!”
“We’re trying to help people really plan for parenthood,” said Levesque. “I think that we’re accomplishing that very well.”