Surrogacy Should Not Be Commercial

by The Center for Bioethics and Culture on May 22, 2012

By Wesley J. Smith, J.D., Special Consultant to the CBC

I don’t believe in surrogacy. But if it is to be allowed, commercial should be made against public policy just as we now do non vital, living organ donation. Alas, there is an ill-advised bill in the New Jersey Legislature to legalize commercial surrogacy. From the summary of Senate 1599:

The agreement would be required to include express terms providing that the gestational carrier agrees to undergo pre-embryo transfer, attempt to carry and give birth to the child, and surrender custody of the child to the intended parent immediately upon the birth of the child. Additionally, the agreement would expressly state that the gestational carrier has the right to have medical care for the pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum care provided by a physician, advanced practice nurse, or certified nurse midwife of her choice after notifying the intended parents of her choice. The agreement would also be required to include a provision that the gestational carrier’s spouse or partner in a civil union or domestic partnership, if any, agrees to the obligations imposed on the gestational carrier and surrender custody of the child immediately upon the birth of the child. With regard to the intended parent, the agreement would be required to include express terms that the intended parent agrees to become the legal parent of the child immediately upon the birth of the child and assume sole responsibility for the support of the child. An agreement including these terms would be presumed enforceable.

This entitlement mentality is really getting out of hand in the West and turning living human bodies and their constituent parts into mere natural resources to be used and exploited by the well off.

Rich women will never rent their wombs. Rich women will never risk their lives, health, and fecundity to help pay the rent. Rich women will never go through the potential trauma of gestating for nine months and the process of being impregnated by strangers’ embryos only to have the child taken away at birth. No, that is work only fit for women who need money. Only poor women will risk the emotional problems that can be associated with surrogacy. Only poor women will risk the potential emotional trauma and moral consequence of undergoing a “selective reduction” abortion, often associated with IVF. Only poor women will risk the relational problems that can arise, with spouse/partner and children. Imagine, for example, a surrogate mother with three young children who see mommy getting big with child. Will they understand the “giving away” of the baby? And how will it affect their own sense of security and love?

In the Dune science fiction novel series, a certain race of women are lobotimized and used as biological gestational machines known as “axlotl tanks.” I don’t see the term “gestational carrier,” as much different from that. It is a disgustingly dehumanizing and objectifying label intended to take all the mothering out of being a birth mother. Why not just say human brood mare and be done with it? And while they are at it, why not add a codicil for the gestational carrier to be paid for wet nursing services? It would be better for the baby to nurse anyway, and if that caused emotional problems for the “milk producing unit,” so what? That’s what she’s paid for.

All this twisting ourselves into legal and moral pretzels when there are so many children waiting to be adopted!

Previous post:

Next post: