Australian feminist health researcher Dr. Renate Klein has written a timely and important article on surrogacy, particularly in the wake of the scandal surrounding the Baby Gammy case. Specifically, she is responding to those who claim that regulation will cure all that is wrong with surrogacy.
Her view differs considerably:
As a critic of the IVF industry for three decades, my solution is very different. Rather than regulating a system that commodifies the resulting child and invariably uses women as “containers” for carrying and birthing a baby they are taught to say is not theirs, we need to focus on the demand for surrogacy and try to reduce it.
In her research she has found that
The right to a child is not questioned, the fact that the birth mother might regret giving away her child for the rest of her life, or decide to keep the baby, is only discussed in the context of what precautions intended parents need to take so that this does not happen. It is accepted without discussion that a “gestational surrogate” – the term used for a woman who becomes pregnant with an implanted embryo that does not contain her own genes – will not have a relationship with the developing baby as it is “not her child”. An absurd notion for any woman who has ever been pregnant.
She boldly concludes,
Surrogacy is a heartless, exploitative, capitalist enterprise. There is no right to a child; children are not commodities, and surrogates are not just “suitcases” or “angels”…
And then pass it on — share it, tweet it, print it out and mail it to everyone you know, whatever works for you.
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