Tag Archives: Surrogacy

Are gay rights and children’s rights compatible?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Here are a couple of articles from The Federalist which made me think that gay rights are not compatible with children’s rights.

Here is the first article that talks about growing babies on demand in labs, and also surrogacy:

In the years leading up to the Supreme Court decision nationalizing gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, and in the short span since, the debate is already leagues beyond whether gays should adopt babies who are already born and need homes. Now we are grappling with the reality of buying and selling babies. Don’t pretend that’s not what it is—there’s a financial exchange for growing a baby. What else would you call it?

Buying a child via surrogacy is cruel and selfish. Most often it deprives her of knowing at least one biological parent in addition to the mother who nourished and supported her for nine months and brought her into the world. Buying a baby from a lab, even if she’s made up completely of the commissioning couple’s DNA, is even more cruel and selfish. It could deprive her of any mother at all.

If two men are “conceiving” a child, that baby must be grown in a surrogate or, when the technology permits, an artificial womb, which would certainly be more convenient and with fewer legal pitfalls but less humane.

Motherhood begins with gestation, not birth, but in the case of a lab gestation, there would be no mother. Babies recognize their mother’s voice from hearing it in the womb, and as experts on surrogacy have explained, human pregnancy creates a deep, lifelong bond between mother and baby.

Family therapist Nancy Verrier said in an interview for the documentary “Breeders: A Subclass of Woman?,” “The baby is hurt by the separation, by the loss, of that mother that it knows.” What trauma, then, would a child with no mother experience?

Lab-grown babies would be a great leap in commodifying children. This is a progression in lockstep with both the sexual revolution, which bestows legitimacy to a wide array of sexual orientations and arrangements, and with modern feminism. Both the New Sexuality and feminism declare to gay couples and single women: “If a baby sounds nice to you, who should tell you you cannot have what you want?” Genetic engineering is the latest tool in that effort to meet demand for babies, and the stakes are high.

Do children need their biological mother and father to raise them? Do children benefit from having two parents who have (minimally) a biological stake in their development?

Recent, comprehensive research conducted by Dr. Paul Sullins at the Catholic University of America has found that “children with samesex parents are assessed at higher levels of distress, compared to children with opposite-sex parents, for every measure of child emotional difficulty, developmental difficulty or treatment service.” Additionally, children of same-sex couples, “are at almost four (3.6) times the risk of emotional problems when compared to children residing with married biological parents.” Sullins also found that, “Risk of child emotional problems is 1.9-2.2 times greater, significant at .01 or better, with same-sex parents than with opposite-sex cohabiting parents or step-parent family.”

According to this study, which was far more comprehensive than the small ones popularized by the media that claim the opposite, it is more beneficial for children to be raised by two opposite-sex parents, and when they are raised by married opposite-sex biological parents, the rates of distress to children are nearly twice as low.

Here’s the second article, which lists more problems for children who are created through lab conception or by surrogacy:

  1. Commodification of Children. Children are not products, they are humans with inherent rights and thus worthy of protection. Selecting desirable embryos based on health, appearance, gender, race, or other characteristics treats humans as products, not people. This kind of behavior is appropriate when purchasing a car, but not when having a child.

  2. Right to life. The embryos deemed unacceptable were likely destroyed. And often commissioning parents will, for the sake of maximizing their investment, implant multiple embryos and then “selectively reduce” (that is, abort around 20 weeks) the unwanted children, even if they are perfectly healthy.

  3. Right to their mother. Children have a right to both biological parents. They are not items to be cut and pasted into the romantic configuration of adults.  Like every other child, these girls are made by, and will likely long for, a relationship with both biological parents. Kids don’t just need “love and safety.”  They actually crave male and female parental love and receive unique and complimentary benefits from both mother and father.

  4. Right to their genetic information. Children crave, and have a right to, their biological identity. Not only because they want to understand who they are, but it’s also critical for their long term medical health- and the health of their own children. It’s a violation of a child’s right to arbitrarily deny them access to half of their biology.

  5. Right to their heritage. Biological connection mattered enough for these commissioning fathers to ensure that each dad got one biological child.  Probably because they wanted grandchildren and great-grandchildren related to them as well. But it works the other way too. Children have a right to know, and desire to be known by, both sides of their extended family and racial/ethnic culture whenever possible.

  6. Right to be born free—not bought and sold. As mentioned in the article, purchasing eggs and employing a surrogate costs $100,000- $200,000. Many children born via sperm and egg donation are troubled that money exchanged hands over their conception, no matter how little.  I heard one adult child painfully remark “My father (sperm donor) was paid $75 to stay out of my life forever.”

  7. Subjecting children to increased medical risks. Pregnancies resulting from reproductive technologies are more likely to involve complications. Children born through surrogacy, for example, are more likely to be premature, suffer from low birth weight, and have trouble adjusting likely due to “the absence of a gestational connection to the mother.”

To understand why these practices are wrong, we have to stop looking at the selfish adults, and listening to their self-centered sob stories. We have to think about the children. About the children’s need to not be lost in a universe without the two people who chose to bring them into being. Growing up is a scary thing. It doesn’t get better for children when they can’t even have relationships with the two people who made them. We all need those relationships. It goes against common sense to dismiss the effect of parents being biologically related to their children. Biological parents have more of a perceived stake in the development of their biological children. We need to give children what they need.

Indian surrogate mothers open up about the pain of giving up their babies

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

Katy tweeted this story from the radically leftist BBC, and it made me feel sad when I read it.

India is known as the “surrogacy hub” of the world where infertile couples, many from across the globe, head to rent a womb. In recent years, the southern city of Chennai has emerged as a major centre with more than a dozen hospitals carrying out the procedure and more than 150 surrogates.

Most surrogate mothers are women from poor families who take up the assignment for money. It’s generally believed that the transaction is purely commercial, but three surrogate mothers tell the BBC about the emotional bonds they developed with the babies they carried in their wombs for nine months and the pain they felt once the umbilical cord was snapped.

Here is one woman’s story from the article:

I live in a slum in Chennai’s Vyasarpadi area and I come from a very poor family. My husband is an auto-rickshaw driver who earns about 8,000 rupees ($120;£92) a month. I work in a factory that makes leather bags. I earn 6,000 rupees ($90; £69).

Seven years ago, my family was struggling, we had borrowed 100,000 rupees from people, mostly to pay the fee of our school-going children, and the debts had to be repaid.

One day, I met a man who worked as an agent for a surrogacy clinic. He told me that I could earn 200,000 rupees being a surrogate mother.

I knew two other women in my neighbourhood who had been surrogate mothers so I agreed.

I thought, I have four children, and now I can help someone who cannot have any. I was thinking how horrible it would be if my daughter couldn’t bear children. I believe everyone should have children and I wanted to help.

I never met the real parents and have no idea who they are. I was still under sedation when they removed the baby. I never set eyes on it.

I have no idea whether it’s white or black, whether it’s Indian or foreigner, I don’t even know whether it’s a boy or a girl!

When I gained consciousness, my first words to my husband were, ‘Did you see the baby? Is it a boy or a girl?’

He said he hadn’t seen it. I asked my doctor, but she didn’t answer my question.

‘You are a surrogate mother, you shouldn’t ask these questions,’ she said.

But I want to know about the baby. I want to know where he or she is and what it is studying.

For three months after giving birth, I spent sleepless nights, I would get headaches thinking about the baby and I had to take medicines to calm down.

Every year, on 4 November, the day the baby was born, our family celebrates its birthday. I do all the rituals that I do for my other children.

I fast in the morning, I cook payasam [rice pudding] and share it with my family and neighbours, and I visit the temple to pray for the baby’s well-being and long life.

I’ve always wondered if the baby is like any of my other children. I really do miss the baby and would give anything to see it once.

I know it’s not my baby after all, but I know that if I’d seen the baby, I wouldn’t have given it away.

I hope the baby is happy and fine wherever it is.

We talk a lot about it, we call it Paapa or Kuzanthai (Tamil words for baby or child) and at times, my family thinks maybe it would have been happier with us.

But then, we are a poor family and in difficult times, we think that perhaps the baby’s better off in a wealthier family.

As soon as I read this, I thought of the scene form the movie “The Island” where the woman in the cloning factory gives birth to the baby and she is holding it and then the cruel doctors and scientists take it away from her and killed her. I just can’t imagine how anyone could take a baby away from the birth mother.  There are some things that selfish adults do that are just wrong because of the harm it causes to children. Children are small – they ought to come first.

I wish women would think of having babies when they are younger. It does take some foresight to focus on marriage and children when you are young, but when you think about how expensive adoption is, how expensive and risky IVF is, and how painful surrogate motherhood is for the mother, it really is the best way to go.

Previously, I had blogged about the case of the two gay men who had purchased a baby boy from a surrogate mother in Russia. The mainstream media celebrated the “two gay dads”. But the two gay men raped and abused the boy, and gave him to others to rape and abuse. I can only imagine being a surrogate mother and wondering what the child’s life is like when things like that are happening. I wouldn’t do it. I just couldn’t live with myself not being able to protect and watch over something that I had a hand in making.