The Problems With Surrogacy

* First, commercial surrogacy can be exploitative because the contracting parties are not always free and equal. Some surrogates are poor and uneducated. Many come from developing countries. Often enough, the future parents come from wealthy nations, and are wealthy even by the standards of their home country. An intermediary, or ”baby finder”, who seeks to make a profit from the exchange, completes the recipe for exploitation. A poor woman grows attached to the child during gestation. Then, she is intimidated by a profiteer into selling her infant. A fair society would not support and uphold such a transaction.  (average price for US surrogate is $80,000)

* Second, by allowing commercial surrogacy, we step closer to commodifying pregnancy, motherhood and babies, leading to a potential change in how we perceive and treat the people involved. Babies and pregnancy are seen by society as sacrosanct. Through commercial surrogacy, they are given a price, and sold and exchanged much like other goods and services. If we allow babies to be bought, why not a two-year-old child? Should we allow babies to be sold at auction?

* Thirdly, what about
* the rights of the child to have relationships with surrogate parents and vice versa;
* who is responsible for surrogate children born with severe disabilities;
* what to do when the surrogate mother has multiple births

All these remain largely unsettled in ethics and in law.

From Miranda Devine (Aust) in 2011

The growing trend of surrogate babies for celebrities severely devalues the role of modern parents and their children alike.

When Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban announced the surprise birth of their new baby this week, they made special mention of “our gestational carrier”. To have carried a baby in your womb, shared a blood supply, felt its little feet kick against your abdomen, heard its little heart beat, sensed it growing bigger and stronger, while it changes your metabolism, and the way you sleep, breathe and eat, and then to have given birth to a living, breathing human child you have been longing to cuddle is not a trivial act. So to have it described in such clinical, remote terms is insensitive and thoughtless, to say the least.

A few of the recent celebrity womb rentals have included Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick – twin girls; Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka – fraternal twins, a girl and boy; and Kelsey Grammer and estranged wife Camille – a boy and a girl. On Christmas Day, just three days before the latest Urban addition, Elton John and his partner David Furnish became “proud fathers” of a baby boy born to a surrogate mother in California, the product of a donor egg from another anonymous woman fertilised with the sperm of one or other of the men.

Then there is the story of the Melbourne couple who aborted twin boys, conceived though IVF, because they already have three sons and wanted a daughter instead. The father told the Herald Sun it was “our right” to decide the gender of their future child.

The Wall Street Journal last month ran a story about the new global industry of baby manufacturing, with baby “concierges” co-ordinating the coming together of egg, sperm, womb and parents from all corners of the earth. One of the most affordable packages featured was the “India bundle” from PlanetHospital, which gets you “one egg donor, four embryo transfers into four separate surrogate mothers, room and board for the surrogate, and a car and driver for the parents-to-be when they travel to India to pick up the baby.” Planet Hospital also specialises in “surrogaycy” for same-sex couples but doesn’t really seem to care much who the parents are. Chief executive Rudy Rupak told the Journal: “Our ethics are agnostic . . . How do you prevent a paedophile from having a baby? If they’re a paedophile then I will leave that to the US Government to decide, not me.”

Are women easy-bake ovens?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-marquardt/surrogate-motherhood-_b_2024435.html

 Women in India are being used as cheap surrogates for western couples, straight or gay, in some cases housed and monitored in dormitories and delivered by caesarean section for the convenience of the “commissioning” couple. In the U.S., many surrogates are military wives, supplementing their husband’s low pay by renting their wombs, with labor and delivery costs paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. Donated eggs are often involved in these cases. In addition to the identity issues such complex forms of parentage force upon the children, egg donation is a risky business, luring mostly college-aged women into rounds of hormone shots and surgical extractions that are a documented risk to their own health.