Surrogacy advocates highlight when all goes well. But when (as was published in Toronto Life magazine) a wealthy woman pulls a poor woman out of her home, where she has four children because she is concerned not about the woman, but about the baby, we don’t hear about that.
Wasser’s eye then fell upon an ashtray full of cigarette butts, and she smelled smoke coming from upstairs; the surrogacy contract stated there would be no smoking in the house. Wasser snapped. She insisted the surrogate spend the final week of the pregnancy in her guest room in Toronto and threatened her with Children’s Aid if she didn’t come. “Imagine me ripping her away from her children. I couldn’t believe I was doing this to these kids, who were crying, ‘Mommy, Mommy, don’t go!’ and me just thinking, ‘That’s my baby, I have to think of my baby.’ ” The surrogate did go to Toronto, but ended up returning home the next day.
Bold is mine. She couldn’t believe it, and yet she did it. The bulk of surrogacy cases, particularly if we start allowing payment for it, will be wealthy people buying babies from the poor. Who has the power in that arrangement? In all the talk of the Handmaid’s Tale, Be It Resolved that it’s not Christians we need to worry about here, but rather those who, in the main, see little problem with a commercial trade in babies.
That’s why this is an important article, by Jennifer Roback Morse. It gives many reasons why surrogacy isn’t the right path. It’s flat out illegal in several countries, like France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Canada should follow suit. Here are a few reasons why surrogacy is problematic; the article contains many more:
- Broken bonds: The gestational mother’s bond to the child is treated as if it were important during the pregnancy, and completely irrelevant afterwards.
- Objectifying women: The gestational mother is used for her womb and then is legally – and perhaps emotionally – set aside.
- Fewer rights for the mother, compared to adoption: If the gestational mother grows attached to the child, as mothers often do, or if she has concerns about the “commissioning parents,” too bad. Mothers who agree to place a child for adoption can almost always change their minds after the baby has been placed in their arms. Denying gestational mothers the same right is, quite simply, inhuman.