Surrogacy as a Modern Means of Slavery?

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education

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If anyone has any doubts that surrogacy has created a market for the buying and selling of children, a new case in Thailand should put any skepticism to rest. The Brisbane Times is reporting that the Bangkok police have raided a surrogacy business where nine, six-month-old babies born via surrogacy were found.

While the story is still fresh, it appears these children were all going to be turned over to a Japanese businessman who had arranged for their conception in hopes that one day these children would take over his business. Whether they bear any biological connection to him remains unclear.

I don’t want to speculate too much, but it’s hard not see some serious parallels between surrogacy and slavery. Here, we have an individual of financial means arranging for the creation of children to effectively serve as his workers. These nine children were conceived merely to be this man’s chattel. It doesn’t get any more dehumanizing than this.

If there’s an upside to the story, it’s this: In light of this case and the recent Baby Gammy case, Thai government officials are reportedly taking steps to ban commercial surrogacy in the country entirely. While some critics have used these cases as a means to promote regulation rather than a full ban on the practice, it’s heartening to hear reports that the Thai government recognizes that the only way to fully protect situations like this from happening is to eliminate the market entirely. Let us hope other countries begin to follow suit.

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