FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Gestational Surrogacy: Women For Lease, Children For Sale
The pro-life cause may have risen in direct response to the atrocity of medical abortion but it quickly embraced the cause of euthanasia and death via medical neglect. The next frontier of the movement should be a coordinated opposition to the idea of “gestational surrogacy,” or, in lay terms, hiring a woman you don’t really know to produce a baby for you. For a price.
While the numbers are murky, for a lot of obvious reasons among them being the fact that surrogacy is illegal and unenforceable in many states, it appears that the frequency of surrogate births is rapidly increasing:
Babies born to gestational surrogates are clearly on the rise. In 2011, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), a Birmingham, Alabama-based nonprofit group, tracked 1,593 babies born in the United States to gestational surrogates, as reported by its member clinics, up from 1,353 in 2009, and just 738 in 2004.
Part of the reason the number has been restrained is cost, from the same article:
Alternative Reproductive Resources’ surrogates typically charge $30,000 to $35,000, excluding legal and medical fees. Depending on the parents’ situation, Von Halle typically asks them to set aside anywhere from $75,000 to $120,000 for the entire process.
The increase in the number of surrogate births seems to be linked, unsurprisingly, to the formal recognition of homosexual couplings. For reasons that have baffled many on the left, homosexual couples are unfairly burdened with the scourge of infertility. Particularly male homosexuals who remain unable to attain pregnancy by the time tested “turkey baster” method, famed by lesbians in song and story; though I’m sure many have tried.
As with any other human activity, Adam Smith’s invisible hand is felt. As social stigmas are relegated to “hate speech,” a market is developing that provides surrogate mothers to male homosexuals.
As legislatures debate giving gay couples the right to marry – 14 states have amended their constitutions to prevent it – hundreds of couples are finding ways to create families with or without marriage through surrogates like Ms. Stiller, who are willing to help them have children genetically linked to them and to bypass the often difficult legal challenges gay men face in adoption.
The exact number of surrogates who have worked with gay couples is unknown, but close to half of the 60 or so agencies and law firms around the country that broker arrangements between surrogate mothers and prospective parents work with gay couples or are seeking to, through advertising.
Within the close-knit world of professional childbearers, many of whom share their joys and disillusionments online and in support groups, gay couples have developed a reputation as especially grateful clients, willing to meet a surrogate’s often intense demands for emotional connection, though the relationships can give rise to other complications within the surrogate’s family and community.
As noted above, surrogacy is illegal in many places but the same forces that brought us to the point of celebrating homosexual marriage and “throuples” is seeking to allow homosexual couples to buy children.
Enter California and Jerry Brown.
The governor of California has signed into law a bill that mandates insurance companies in the state to provide coverage for infertility treatments for homosexuals.
As previously reported, AB 460 was proposed this past spring by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, whose partner died of AIDS in 1994. He asserts that some insurance companies are discriminating by denying coverage to homosexuals because they did not have “an opposite sex married partner in which to have one year of regular sexual relations without conception.”
Current law requires that spouses try to conceive for one year, and may claim coverage if they remain barren after that time.
“Reproductive medicine is for everybody’s benefit,” Ammiano wrote in a statement following the signing of the bill this month by Governor Jerry Brown. “To restrict fertility coverage solely to heterosexual married couples violates California’s non-discrimination laws. I wrote this bill to correct that.”
“Coverage for the treatment of infertility shall be offered and provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation,” the new law states.
California was already considered to be friendly to the idea of surrogacy. This bill raises it to a right. If two homosexual men testify that they have had sex with one another for an year, and to the surprise of no one who sat through eighth grade biology, have been unable to conceive then their medical insurance is on the hook for a surrogate.
In New York, the fight is different. New York has one of the more stringent anti-surrogacy laws in the country. Anyone who enters into a surrogacy arrangement may be fined up to $10,000. Those who facilitate surrogacy arrangements, e.g. lawyers and agencies, are fined in the first instance and, for a second offense, are guilty of a felony.
New York is also Ground Zero of the homosexual privilege movement and so there is agitation to change the law:
A month before their baby’s due date, Brad Hoylman and David Sigal got a call from the woman they had hired to have their child.
She was having contractions; come right away.
Mr. Sigal, a filmmaker, had the more flexible schedule. So after a sleepless night, he hopped on a plane to San Diego while Mr. Hoylman stayed in New York and frantically oversaw the dusty conversion of their TV room into a nursery.
Now Mr. Hoylman, as a novice state senator, is in a position to do something about it. He is the co-sponsor of a proposed law that would overturn the current law and make compensated surrogacy legal in New York State.
The bill’s supporters argue that it makes no sense for New York, which has a large number of fertility clinics, not to mention a flourishing gay community, not to be able to offer commercial surrogacy to those who want it. And they say that making surrogacy more widely available could reduce the exorbitant costs, easily as much as $100,000 per baby.
In Mr. Hoylman and Mr. Sigal’s case, neither of their parents expected them to have children. “Now they think he’s a family man,” Mr. Sigal said, grinning at his husband.
They toyed with the idea of finding a female friend to have their baby, but most of them were past prime childbearing age, they said, and anyway, it seemed emotionally fraught.
They settled the quandary of who should be the biological father by each contributing sperm and choosing not to know whose DNA prevailed.
“The amazing thing about the California law is that both my husband and I are on the birth certificate as the parents,” Mr. Hoylman said, which would also happen in New York under the proposed law.
Sitting in their apartment near Washington Square, with Silvia bouncing around in a tutu, they joked about the hazards of being the child of two gay men. “She’s going to hear a lot of musicals in her life,” Mr. Hoylman said. They have compiled a baby book filled with photographs — her first subway ride; Silvia wearing an austere brown outfit that Mr. Hoylman thinks makes her look like a Holbein painting.
“Who’s that?” Mr. Hoylman asks, pointing to a picture of a cheerful-looking blonde. “Mari!” Silvia replies, naming her gestational carrier.
Their life is a series of sleepovers, dress-up games and grilled cheese sandwiches. They have attended playgroups run by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, which also runs a monthly group called “Planning Biological Parenthood for Men.”–
Naturally, wherever you find a social pathology you find people willing to exploit it for personal gain and notoriety… and you find television producers more than happy to assist.
Britain’s first gay parents are appearing in their own TV show, recording the path to surrogacy.
The Parent Makers, which is set to air on Sky this month, follows the lives of Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, who run the British Surrogacy Centre, in Chandlers Quay, Maldon.
The 10-episode series will feature footage of their lives at home, at work, wedding preparations and how they deal with their five children, Saffron, Aspen, Orlando, Jasper and Dallas.
Needless to say, the five children were all the product of surrogate mothers. Adding to this rich stew of dysfunction is the fact that this “couple” are suing the Church of England for refusing to marry them in church.
The first legal challenge to the Church of England’s ban on same-sex marriage was launched today – months before the first gay wedding can take place.
Gay father Barrie Drewitt-Barlow declared: ‘I want to go into my church and marry my husband.’ He added: ‘The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the Church.’
The bright spot is that this “family” now includes a 19 year old son one of them conceived the good old fashioned way during some period of confusion.
-Barrie explained: “It happened when I was 19 and came home late one night. I was standing on the doorstep stressing about waking my parents when my mum’s friend poked her head out of the window and asked if I was OK. I ended up staying at her house – and ultimately in her bed. I liked her enormously but it was about that time that I realised for sure that I was gay.
“And now, all these years later when she told me that Colin was my son I was overjoyed and overwhelmed.
The Catholic Iona Institute has produced a paper on the ethical implications of surrogacy. It presents a chilling picture of children being produced for eye color, potential IQ, etc., and subject to abortion if they aren’t what the “parents” desired.
In addition to difficulties regarding the establishment of filiation and nationality of the child, problems may arise in numerous situations: if the surrogate mother’s health or life are threatened during pregnancy, if the surrogate mother changes her mind and wants to keep the child, if the commissioning parents part during pregnancy and do not want the child any longer, if the child is born with a disability and neither the surrogate mother nor the commissioning parents want him or her… If a disability is detected during pregnancy, can the surrogate mother be obliged to abort? Some agencies require that they accept in advance to abort if asked to.
In surrogacy, the woman rents her body. This should at a minimum alert us to the very strong possibility that surrogacy is a new form of exploitation and trafficking in women. In surrogacy, the child is treated as a commodity, the object of a legal agreement. The aim of surrogacy is to fulfil the desire of adults, to enable foreign parents to satisfy their wish for a child at any price.
Refusal to transcribe the filiation of children obtained through international surrogacy in the civil registry is one of the most effective ways of dissuading intending parents from resorting to a surrogate mother abroad. Surrogacy is contrary to numerous international and European law provisions, especially regarding human dignity, adoption, protection of women and children and trafficking in human persons.
In short, a mirror image of what is happening now with selective abortions.
All of this should be troubling for anyone who is concerned about the buying and selling of humans, and surrogacy is no less than the renting of a woman for the creation of a child.
This technology is marketed as a solution for desperate families who can’t have children. In truth, what we have is the buying and selling of women and babies over the internet in what can only be described as a mass market for a new and virulent form of prostitution. The purchasers are wealthy people, including many powerful celebrities, who don’t want to be bothered with having children themselves, and homosexuals, especially gay men.
In my opinion, one reason this misogynist abuse of women has been allowed to flourish is that the churches are, even now, tone deaf about women’s human rights. They focus on the lives of the embryos that are mass produced by harvested eggs without considering that the women whose bodies are being farmed, and whose health and dignity as human being is being comprised, are also human beings whose human rights as well as their health and well-being are compromised by this practice.
In truth, egg harvesting and surrogacy is a one-two punch of human rights violations. It reduces both the babies and the women to the level of commodities to be bought and sold with no regard for their well-being.
Like any other activity wherein people are treated as commodities, one has to expect some number of bad things to happen. This can be as banal as a famous and wealthy homosexual couple making a freak-fest of the their family life or the simple and obvious fact that children raised households composed of (at least) two homosexual adults fare worse than their contemporaries. It could conceivably be much darker. A homosexual couple of Australian pedophiles were convicted of using a boy they had bought from an unwed mother in Russia – though they claimed it was their child via a surrogate mother — for a sex toy:
An Australian couple is accused of making hardcore child porn with their “adopted son” for an international porn syndicate known as the Boy Lovers network.
On Friday, Mark J. Newton, 42, was sentenced to 40 years in prison and was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution to the child. His boyfriend, Peter Truong, 36, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
The couple bought the child from his Russian mother for $8,000 in 2005.
Investigators say Newton and Truong flew the boy between Australia, the United States, France and Germany to record at least eight other pedophiles sexually abuse him.
It is unfortunate when a married couple cannot conceive. This does not imply that society needs to make a way possible for that to happen, either by in vitro fertilization or especially by surrogacy.
IVF results in fertilized embryos confined to a nether realm of non-birth and non-death and thus the victimization is less apparent. Surrogacy, on the other hand, in an unmitigated evil. It places a dollar value on the creation of a human infant and obligates a woman, who may be operating from either financial or psychological need, to carry that child and then relinquish her rights as a mother. On the receiving end you have two (or more) people who have paid an extraordinary sum of money and most likely will see the child as a product accompanied by certain warranties and expectations, not as the natural outcome of their love for one another.
While the fight against abortion has to remain in the fore, we need to resist the expansion of gestational surrogacy and roll it back where we can. Surrogacy is not benign, like abortion it is an affront to notion of humanity itself.