CBC Network October 2014
In addition to the tragic stories of surrogacy gone wrong, there are families and surrogates with “happy endings.” It is important to hear these stories, too, and to respond to the arguments they make in favor of surrogacy.
Since the release of my latest film, Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, and with the media attention surrounding our work to ban surrogacy, I have received many personal emails from women who want to tell us about their tragic surrogacy stories. As you might expect, I’ve also received a fair share of emails from people who either used a surrogate to have their children or were themselves surrogates with “happy endings” to their stories. It is important to hear these stories, too, and to respond to the arguments they make in favor of surrogacy.
Typically, the women who have had favorable experiences as surrogates express their love and delight in helping a couple who otherwise couldn’t have a child build a family. The people who have used a surrogate express gratitude to the women who gave them much-desired children. The comments typically make one or all of the following three claims.
First: The children born of surrogacy are all right. A mother’s womb is an arbitrary place of little to no importance, and biological connectedness doesn’t matter. What is of utmost importance is that a child is wanted and loved.
Second: Surrogacy is a wonderful option to help others. Ultimately this is about choice, reproductive rights, and freedom without government intrusion. If you oppose surrogacy, the argument goes, then don’t be a surrogate or use a surrogate mother, but let others have this choice.
Third: The surrogate is part of the family and thus is not an exploited woman. She is well-compensated, and contracts protect her. These new technologies are simply keeping up with the pace of new modern families.
Although these three claims are common, they can each be countered with a fuller picture of the realities of surrogacy and its impact on men, women, and children.