Human Exceptionalism

Surrogate Asked to Abort and Sex Select

I am not a fan of surrogate mothering. I am particularly opposed to commercial surrogacy, as it reduces gestation to a matter of breeding and can, in particular, lead to the profound exploitation of the surrogate mothers–known in the dehumanizing industry parlance, as ”gestational carriers.”

The Daily Mail has a story about a surrogate who had two feel-good experiences, but then got out of the trade because she came to see its dehumanizing aspects. From the story:

In more recent times, she entered into a third arrangement, this time with a ‘well known’ and ‘mega rich’ couple from the entertainment industry, who she can’t name for legal reasons – and who were due to pay her a ’significantly higher’ fee than she had been offered previously. ‘It was like hearing the neighbor’s kid crying. I think it would have been harder for me if I hadn’t bonded with the dads’

Unlike with the first two couples, she found it impossible to ‘bond’ with these people, who treated the process like ‘a business transaction’; so much so that Ms Szalacinski started referring to herself as a ‘commodity.’

Actually, no matter how nice the biological parents might be, as they said in The Godfather, “It’s not personal, it’s business.”

Back to the story:

Not only were the couple initially insistent on having a boy – testing the embryos five days after fertilization for gender – but when they eventually settled on two female embryos, they asked Ms Szalacinski to ‘reduce’, or terminate, one of them if they both ‘took,’ because they didn’t want to raise twins.

“Reduction” is the industry euphemism for targeted abortion. In other words, if one of the twin fetuses had been killed, the other child would still be a twin, but with a dead sibling. Imagine knowing that there but for where the forceps went would be thou!

Then came the eugenics that is rife within the industry:

Additionally, the picky couple were eager to choose a ‘particularly attractive’ egg donor, despite the fact that her eggs were ’sub-par’, because, according to Ms Szalacinski, they were ‘obsessed with looks.’ ‘I couldn’t believe that this kind of misogyny exists. My moral compass kept flicking off and I had to walk away,’ she says.

Good for her. But women who really need the money may not have that strength and might find themselves participating in actions they consider wrong and immoral–with potentially devastating emotional consequences.

This story reflects the ultimately crass nature that lurks at the bottom of the baby-making industry. Not only do many buyers believe they have a right to a child by any means necessary, but to the child they want.

Sometimes, surrogate mothers are collateral damage, and few care. See the Center for Bioethics and Culture’s (for which I am a paid consultant) excellent documentary, Breeders. It’s not all peaches and cream!

Adopt. Adopt. Adopt.

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