C-Sections and Surrogates: A Risky Combination

by Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director on September 3, 2014

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The Atlantic features an article highlighting the high risks of caesarean section birth deliveries and its increased usage, noting: “surgical childbirth has gone from an act of desperation to the most common major surgery in the U.S”

According to new research cited in the article,

C-section babies go on to have a 22 percent higher risk of obesity, nearly double the risk of celiac disease, a 20 percent higher risk of asthma and type 1 diabetes, and up to an 800 percent higher risk of sensitivity to allergens.

Despite these increased risks, C-sections are far more common than vaginal births in surrogate pregnancies—a potential risk to both the surrogate mother and the child. Moreover, the combination of multiple pregnancies (as is often the case with surrogates) and multiple cesareans can prove to be deadly. This is why even supporters of commercial surrogacy have been critical of the loose guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) surrounding C-sections for surrogate mothers.

Such risks are rarely mentioned when it comes to recruiting surrogates, which should raise serious red flags when considering the extent to which a surrogate mother is able to provide truly informed consent.

As we’ve consistently pointed out over the years, this is just another example of the risks of surrogacy to both the mother and child alike. Let’s just add this one to the ever-growing file of “Dirty secrets that the fertility industry doesn’t want you to know about.”

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