Against Surrogacy

Brigit is nobody’s child: her biological parents in the U.S. decided not to take her, and her surrogate mother in Ukraine didn’t want her either. Her story highlights the pitfalls of Ukraine’s controversial surrogate adoption industry. https://t.co/IPCCQ1jGDl

Surrogacy needs to be outlawed. Children are human beings. Nobody is entitled to a child. Nobody should be able to purchase a child.

37 thoughts on “Against Surrogacy”

      1. I honestly wonder if commodity children isn’t the very least of the problem here. In the grand scheme of things, surrogacy is really expensive, and there are far more abandoned and unwanted children produced the traditional way. At the very least, the handful of abandoned ones produced this way should theoretically be very adopt-able: they are for the most part infants (not already-damaged older children) born to healthy women (not malnourished alcoholics or addicts). It’s bad, yes. But… I know a woman who’s had THREE children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome– every one delivered via C-section on the public dime. That’s completely legal and uncontroversial, and the kids are screwed for life. At least unwanted mail-order babies have a fair shot at a decent life with adoptive parents who actually want them?

        But the breathtakingly exploitable situation it sets up for the women involved… No. People are going to do it somewhere. But it is not a good thing anywhere.

        I recall a warped case from several years ago, where a couple hired a surrogate out in CA, the couple divorced, and told the surrogate they didn’t want the kids, while she was still pregnant (with twins). She went through a wild legal process of having herself declared the parent, so she could sign the adoption papers. Which is bad enough, but hooray for legal recourse. I seriously doubt there’s any good process for this in the more typical arrangements where gay Israeli men hire Indian women to go have a baby in Nepal. That’s ripe for exploitation. This actually makes me a bit sympathetic to arguments like “this should be legal, but only if you hire a surrogate in your own country”. It’s still wrong, but you’re way more likely to be able to sort it out with lawyers, that way.

        Oh, found a link to the Susan Ring case. They also forced her to abort a third baby: https://people.com/human-interest/parents-back-out-on-surrogate-mom-pregnant-with-twins/

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  1. Yes, I agree.
    I’ve never liked the fact that Anderson Cooper got a baby through surrogacy–there seems to be something very selfish behind this on his part.

    Also, I don’t like the idea of treating women as storage units just so you can get what you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What is it, do you think, about how Anderson Cooper got his kid that makes it feel selfish?

      I’m a big fan of couples adopting, but there doesn’t seem to be a way for a gay man to have a child biologically related to him that doesn’t involve getting a woman to carry that child.

      Would there be any way for that not to feel selfish? Probably not if the woman is also doing it for herself (they’re planning to co-parent), or, say, the man’s sister is acting as a surrogate. Family members have done that for each other.

      A gay man wanting to have a biological child is no more selfish than a straight man wanting one.

      I agree with methylethyl that surrogacy should be better regulated. It’s here to stay, and people with means will pursue it at any cost. And that, in general, children born through surrogacy are very much wanted, will have parents who will be able to provide for them, etc.

      When you consider all the good (happy families, happy lives) that surrogacy has enabled, it seems like it would far outweigh the bad.

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      1. How are we supposed to decide that people we have never met are “happy”? The trauma of a child torn from its mother to gratify the vanity of, I’m sorry but some self-involved dick is not a joke.

        When a child is born, the mother’s body is the only universe that child has known. The rhythms of her body, the sounds of her voice, her smell, everything. That’s the planet where the child has lived. The child’s only reality.

        You’ve got to be a bloody animal with no human feeling to tear the child away from the mother or engineer a situation where the mother will willingly throw away the kid like a used rag. And for what?

        Any idea that people like these, who are capable of something so uncaring, so cold aren’t going to manifest this extreme narcissism in every interaction with the child is a joke.

        When you see a newborn, that’s not a blank slate. That’s a person who has already established a long and complex relationship with the most important person in its life. What can justify severing that relationship? What can justify engineering a pregnancy where the mother will not bond? It’s extremely damaging to a child! Children with early bonding disruptions are the only group that psychologists don’t help. Even paranoid schizophrenics are more easily reachable.

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      2. “A gay man wanting to have a biological child is no more selfish than a straight man wanting one.”

        I’m unclear on your point – one can’t regulate wanting. But should rich men have a legal right to rent the wombs of poor women in order to act out some biological imperative to father biologically-related children?

        “there doesn’t seem to be a way for a gay man to have a child biologically related to him that doesn’t involve getting a woman to carry that child.”

        I’m unclear on this point too. Are you saying that gay men have a natural right to rent wombs because their sexual partners are, by definition, not capable of becoming pregnant? If so, where does this right originate, are there limits to it, and do straight men whose partners are infertile share this same right?

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        1. There’s never any discussion, in this context, of what s child might want. What might be good for a child?

          It is clear to anybody who has been around a child that absolutely any child wants mommy and daddy loving each other and loving the kid. It’s beyond obvious.

          Now, there are many sad, abandoned kids. They can’t have mommy and daddy loving each other and them. I deeply respect people – gay, straight, single, whatever – who adopt and give a family to such kids. I’m not heroic enough to do it myself but I admire.

          That’s the kind, non-exploitative choice for those who want children but can’t have their own for any reason.

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          1. “I’m not heroic enough to do it myself…”

            I daresay that most adoptive parents never consider themselves “heroic” but instead believe themselves to have been especially blessed by the gift of sharing a life with their child/children.

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              1. “It’s truly God’s work they do”

                God gifts biological and adoptive parents equally with their children. It’s up to parents of all kinds to do “God’s work” by raising their children with unconditional love.

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        2. Look, I think that having a biological child is inherently selfish. You’re bringing a whole other human being into the world because you want to have a specific kind of relationship with them. A child cannot consent to being born.

          Straight couples who are struggling with infertility move mountains and spend fortunes to have children who are biologically related to them, and no one blinks an eye.

          I think rich gay men should have just as much legal right to rent out the wombs of poor women as rich straight couples do.

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          1. “no one blinks an eye”

            Not so – this whole thread is all about major eye-blinking.

            “having a biological child is inherently selfish”

            Nihilism defined.

            “legal right to rent out the wombs”

            What would this “legal right” be based on – an absolute right of rich people to take any kind of financial advantage of desperately poor people? Morality shouldn’t come into the discussion of the creation of human life because ‘Cash is King’?

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            1. I think spending, say, $50K on conceiving your biological child is immoral when there are children you can adopt.

              Clarissa refers to biological parents not wanting the disabled child their surrogate is carrying as “discarding a defective child” (I couldn’t find the exact quote, but that’s the spirit). I just broaden the definition a bit – to people who are dead-set on raising children biologically related to them, any children who aren’t are defective.

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              1. The difference between paying for fertility treatments and renting a womb is that in the former situation the child isn’t separated from the mother. This is the crucial issue we are discussing here and there’s no comparison between the two situations.

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              2. “I think spending, say, $50K on conceiving your biological child is immoral when there are children you can adopt.”

                Now I’m completely befuddled by your position.

                Surrogacy can easily run double the 50K$ figure you mention here. Adoption will also often run into several tens of thousands of dollars. So why is surrogacy moral if it has a price tag higher than fertility treatments? Cash isn’t King after all?

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            2. I’ve heard this argument about having children being selfish and I sincerely don’t get it. The only way to have a child is out of s sense of fullness, a need to give without wanting to get anything in return. It’s a “pay it forward” type of thing like none other.

              Children are bottomless pits. Even the extremely happy, fortunate kids are bottomless pits that never get enough love, attention, care. Every ounce of attention and love you give to them is a brick in the bullwark of strength that will keep them safe for the rest of their lives.

              Having a child out of any other consideration than the need to give, give, give is a bad idea. Kids are little but extremely strong machines that are designed to pump you for every ounce of energy and attention you have. They’ll suck you dry and demand more. The moment you become a parent is when you reorient your whole philosophy of life away from “but I wanna” towards “what’s good for the child reigns supreme.”

              Somebody said this on Twitter and I think it’s very profound: “if a mother’s child dies in childbirth, everybody agrees it’s a tragedy. How is it less of a tragedy to take a child away from the mother to gratify the needs of some rich people who want an accessory?”

              Gosh, we don’t take kittens away from their mommy immediately upon birth. And these are human beings.

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  2. The biological parents should be legally responsible for paying for the child’s care. This is child abandonment, pure and simple.

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  3. That’s right, let’s outlaw surrogacy. That’ll save 0.5% of the children who are being treated as consumer goods.

    You should only be able to exploit a child if you can biologically give birth to one. At least then you’ll have to deal with some consequences (what pregnancy does to the body) instead of getting off completely scot-free. Applies to women only, of course.

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    1. What is the profound point you are trying to make here? That if this isn’t a lot of kids, they don’t matter? That real parents can be shit, too, so it’s ok to manufacture more unloved, miserable kids?

      Are these the pearls of wisdom you decided to share with the world and are there more where these cane from? I tremble in anticipation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an intriguing discussion. My impression (possibly naive?) was that the surrogacy is primarily a means for couples, where the women are not able to carry through a full-term pregnancy due to biological issues**, to become parents. In that sense, I can see the merit of the idea (even if I don’t necessarily identify with it).

    Otherwise it does not really make sense over the usual route of adoption. Is that misinformed?

    **with the additional underlying assumption that they are also devoted to the idea of “own flesh and blood” to not be enthusiastic about adopting a child.

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    1. Yep. Problem is, if you don’t go through a pregnancy, there’s no bonding with the child, why would you be motivated to accept a “defective version” when you can always pay for a nice-looking replacement?

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      1. Tangentially related essay, but it does echo what you said above, that bonding starts in pregnancy:

        “The research is pretty clear that the attachment process begins in utero and thus, when adoption happens, there is a real and experienced loss of one’s first attachment figure,” Gardner says. “How that loss is experienced, processed and coped with is very individualized and complicated.”

        https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/rejected-father-time-helped-heal-200608130751967.html

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  5. Look at it this way: people purchase pets, and they’re living sentient beings (No?). And advertisers, merchants and industries perceive us as “Barbie doll wind-up toys” always with money to spend, deserving to be hustled in any manipulative way not considered unlawful.

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  6. Unrestrained procreation has gone on long enough imo. Procreation should involve some sort of government sized body and some reasonable criteria being met before procreation takes place eg “can you support yourself financially – if not, then how can you justify bringing a child into this world” etc.

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  7. I know we were debating here what the “next frontier” would be. Bestiality is looking most likely! Just look at this insane thread. The “poor rural people” stink is erased if you start with exotic sea creatures. IMPORTANT NOTE: the guy in this documentary did NOT do anything sexual with an octopus. It’s a totally innocuous film. The woman who tweeted this is deranged and projects sex onto everything.

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      1. If she got psychological help, her whole career would be over. She’d have to start anew. Rn, she’s a famous academic and published author, and there’s a whole academic school of thought (queer theory) made for people like her.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. What are your thoughts on the snowflake babies – those children conceived in excess and not implanted in wombs? I know of infertile couples who wish to adopt one and carry to term. I have seen so much heartbreak from my infertile friends. I even have friends who paid for all the medical care for a woman and adopted her baby–only to lose the baby 1 year after she was born because the mother never told the father of the child she was pregnant (he was physically abusive). My dear friend had to hand over her baby to the abusive father after the court ruled against her and her husband. All of that said, I have a tender heart for disabled children and any parent who refuses to take responsibility for their disabled child (yes, even those who hired a surrogate) is evil. I guess what I’m saying is, I want my childless friends to have babies but not to abandon them if they don’t measure up to a certain standard.

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  9. // “if a mother’s child dies in childbirth, everybody agrees it’s a tragedy. How is it less of a tragedy to take a child away from the mother to gratify the needs of some rich people who want an accessory?”

    I have a problem with the confused terminology here.

    If the egg is mine, isn’t it my child no matter whether the kid was gestated in my womb, in an artificial one or in another woman’s?

    Who is the real mother in this case? Imo, the biological one who shares 50% with the kid.

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    1. I have no idea who the real mother is. The situation is created purposefully where that’s impossible to untangle. Which, once again, is detrimental to the child.

      Be that as it may, separating the child from the mother whose body is the only reality the child has known is extraordinarily cruel. Nobody would do that to a puppy or a pet parrot.

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    2. Under Italian law the woman who gestates and brings the child to the world is the legal mother, no matter whose egg it was. That is as it should be, since that is the definition of a mother, is it not?
      However, the law is applicable only in Italy and as a result many couples – gay or straight – go abroad to rent wombs wherever it is legal.

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