SURROGACY: HOW CAN A PRACTICE, WHICH ONLY BRINGS PAIN, EXPLOITATION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING BE ALTRUISTIC?

As we have always said: surrogacy enslaves women, undermines their physical and mental health and facilitates the trafficking of children.
The topic of surrogacy was also recently addressed by the CBC (The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network) in a presentation submitted to the United Nations in response to the call for contributions regarding the vulnerabilities of children to sale and sexual exploitation in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular Goals 5.3, 8.7 and 16.2.).

 

Jennifer Lahl, CBC President, and Gary Powell, European Special Consultant at the CBC, wrote to the attention of Special Rapporteur Mama Fatima Singhateh, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

 

«International commercial surrogacy tourism is an intrinsically harmful practice to the babies purchased in respect of the high-risk pregnancies and the increased risk that the neonate will suffer health detriments, the emotional abuse caused when a neonate is taken immediately from his or her birth mother, and the child’s exposure to genealogical bewilderment resulting from biological and cultural uncoupling, all of which are associated with the surrogacy process».

 

And given this necessary premise, they continue:

 

«Once commercial surrogacy agencies and the other professional facilitators, such as surrogacy and IVF clinics, lawyers, and doctors, have completed their specialist obligations to the commissioning parents and received their remuneration, their involvement in the process comes to an abrupt end. Shortly after they are born, the babies are often taken abroad, to the homeland of the commissioning parents, where commercial surrogacy is likely to be illegal or considerably more expensive: factors that motivate commissioning parents to seek commercial surrogacy services abroad».

 

And here is the serious denunciation. Lahl and Powell explain that when children are brought overseas, surrogacy agencies do not have the burden of investigating what will happen to the children from then on and whether the acquiring parents had nefarious intentions. Surrogacy agencies do not carry out any kind of rigorous suitability screening of intending parents, unlike what happens in the adoption process. The conflict of interests is too strong!

 

A tragic emblematic case is that of “Baby Gammy” in 2014, where a boy with Down’s syndrome was left behind in Thailand by his commissioning parents who returned to Australia with Gammy’s twin sister, Pipah. The commissioning biological father had previously served three years in prison for sexual offenses on minors and, despite this, he had managed to complete the process of buying the child. It is useless to dwell on the pain caused to an abandoned disabled child because he does not correspond to the product chosen in the catalog.

 

The text underlines: «The fact that these children are purchased in one country and transported to another, with no follow-up monitoring, means that they are at an especially high risk of abuse and exploitation once they are taken abroad. Indeed, the purchasing parents may even have no biological relationship to the child at all, given that both the egg and the sperm that form the embryo can be purchased under some jurisdictions. This is a situation that would seem particularly attractive to malevolent traffickers of children, though numerous examples of adults exploiting children to whom they are biologically related suggest that such abuse is by no means ruled out simply because an adult has a biological relationship to the child».

 

«The birth mothers recruited in commercial surrogacy are often women from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, and in this respect, there is a clear parallel with the sale of human organs, where the “donor” (vendor) is normally in a situation of economic vulnerability – and even urgency and desperation».

 

As also reiterated by us at Steadfast in a document sent to all international cooperation bodies, this inhumane practice must be stopped by all means. The paper sent was used to warn of these illicit trafficking that makes the human being a commodity at the service of a ruthless market.

 

The parallelism with the organ trafficking immediately brings to mind the recent intervention of Michela Marzano, philosopher and former exponent of the Democratic Party, in the daily newspaper La Stampa. Like all surrogacy defenders, she believes she can repair the tragic consequences of this practice by legalizing it and making it free and voluntary “as it happens when you donate an organ”. Apart from the fact that the legalization of a crime seems to us at least a contradiction in terms and comparing a human being to an organ a shame, the number of women who really freely choose to lend their uterus for free and in a purely altruistic way is small. The reality is another and concerns women in extreme economic difficulty, forced to sell their eggs or rent their uterus to eat or keep their biological children, even where the salary is masked by a fake and substantial reimbursement of expenses.

 

It is urgent that governments act quickly to make this nefarious practice an international crime.

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