The New York Times today published the third and final installment in a series of articles on surrogacy. This article appears on the front page and is titled, “Surrogates and Couples Face a Maze of Laws, State by State.”
Weighing the Risks
One of the strongest opponents of surrogacy is Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture in California, who testified for the Kansas legislation and lobbied Gov. Bobby Jindal to veto the Louisiana bill.
She sees the practice as rife with risk: Informed consent, she said, is not really possible in a relatively new field. So little is known about the risks of the hormonal stimulation undergone by egg donors and surrogates, she added. In addition, the emerging field of epigenetics is yielding new discoveries about how conditions in the womb affect a child’s later development.
“This is part of the American entrepreneurial approach,” Ms. Lahl said. “We design things, put them out there, they can be dangerous, and then have to ratchet them back to add safety limits. I see assisted reproductive technology, which is relatively new, as a space where we’re starting to see the harms.”
Ms. Lahl’s new film, “Breeders: A Subclass of Women?” features four women who served as surrogates describing wrenching experiences. One is Gail Robinson, a Texas woman who agreed to carry a baby for her brother and his partner. In the course of the pregnancy, she had a serious falling-out with her brother and suffered life-threatening eclampsia. Ms. Robinson, who had never had a child of her own, ended up seeking custody of the twin girls she carried and was declared a legal parent, along with the partner, despite her lack of genetic connection to the twins.
A quote from our Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, which was featured in the first article in the series, “Coming to U.S. for Baby, and Womb to Carry It: Foreign Couples Heading to America for Surrogate Pregnancies,” was the New York Times quotation of the day:
“I was crying. I said he has to come in; he’s the father; he should be here. He came in, he cut the cord. He took the baby. And that’s the last I ever heard from them.”
HEATHER RICE, a surrogate who carried a child with a defect, describing giving birth over the biological parents’ objections. From breeders.cbc-network.org
The second article in the series looked at surrogacy as an aspect of surrogacy tourism: “A Surrogacy Agency That Delivered Heartache.”
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