Table of contents
- Mistreatment of Surrogate mothers
- Violation of child rights
- The Surrogacy market
Mistreatment of Surrogate mothers
Surrogate mothers are like our mothers too, they deserve the same amount of respect and kindness we give to our mothers, however, surrogate mothers around the world today are still being mistreated. On 8th October 2015, a surrogate mother in the US was the first to die from surrogate pregnancy. An Idaho woman named Brooke, served as a surrogate three times when carrying twins, reportedly for a Spanish couple. These women are being paid to give birth to a child and bear this pain of labor. A pain experienced by only a mother who wishes to give birth to a child and not for her own expense.
The surrogates around the world are being treated like baby factories and they cannot have any say or right on the child that she carried. Many say that this practice is converting women into baby factories. This is for the most part true, many surrogate mothers in India joined surrogacy with the intent to sustain their own family, but what happens when this job comes with the risk to lose their lives?
In 2012 during the time when commercial surrogacy was still legal in India, a surrogate mother named Premila Vaghela, a 30-year old surrogate died on 16th May 2012 after delivering a healthy child. She wasn’t in a financially stable condition, with two children and a working husband who is a laborer. She had to go for surrogacy as she had to sustain her own family and children. Surrogacy had only changed this family’s life for the worse.
For surrogacy companies, the first priority always goes to the customer and not the surrogate mothers, this is precisely why countries like Sweden have banned both forms of surrogacy. This practice has broken several laws on human rights and deserves to be criminalized. Many argue that altruistic surrogacy is better and causes no harm, although this is far from the truth. In reality, altruistic surrogacy is the exact same process as commercial surrogacy, except the mother has to give away the child with no cost and payment. The process also carries the same risks and disadvantages.
The most common form of surrogacy is gestational surrogacy where the surrogate mother is under IVF implantation, a process where the egg of the mother or egg donor is implanted into the surrogate mother however, this process has its medical drawbacks and success rate. There are 4 main factors affecting the success rate of IVF implantation, age, previous pregnancy, fertility problems, an egg donor. If a surrogate mother has multiple pregnancies and is of age above 42 the success rate can drop to as low as 4%.
Furthermore, surrogate mothers don’t get respect and are not being treated like they are supposed to be. Alina, a surrogate mother in Kyiv, Ukraine had worked in a surrogacy company that had assumed she would be cared for and treated well. The company did not live up to their claims and instead treated her horribly. Alina quoted “We were treated like cattle and mocked by doctors. We were all very stressed, most of the women came from small villages and are in hopeless situations. We spent the first week just lying around, crying. We couldn’t eat. This is a typical situation for surrogates.”.
I personally believe that surrogate mothers regardless of race, religion and belief are still mothers who are willing to bear the same pain. Surrogate mothers are being treated as if they were nothing less than humans themselves. I find the main issue to be the company itself, they make the rules and regulations followed by medical and financial support. If the company does not take care of its own employees, then surrogacy will never be legal.
Violation of child rights
Children are no doubt, the most important life in the world today, and so we must put our every effort to keep them safe. In the above-mentioned statement about the IVF success rate, the highest potential success rate peaks at 40%, even with the best technology we use today the highest possible success rate is 80% and this process costs a lot of money. Is it ethical to use a technology we haven’t mastered yet? A child’s life is not meant to be meddled with hence, we must make sure we can’t lose any more lives.
It has been an international debate on a child’s nationality and his/her identity if their biological parent is a surrogate. One of the most popular cases of this is the baby Manji case. Baby Manji was born to an Indian surrogate mother in Anand, Gujarat on July 25, 2008. The Father of baby Manji had tried to take Manji back to his home country Japan, but they denied her visa since they did not believe that this was a Japanese child. Eventually, after a long legal battle between the two countries, the baby could reunite with her father.
The Surrogacy market
The surrogacy industry is no question, a very large industry with high demand in today’s world. Surrogate mothers earn an estimated $40 000 to $80 000. Celebrities such as Elton John, Kim Kardashian, and many others have reached out to surrogacy to have their own child. In recent years, many countries have opted to criminalize and ban surrogacy. Many of these countries have banned this practice for legal or ethical reasons.
Many countries say that surrogacy is exploitive, demeaning, and unethical. Surrogate mothers in India earn about Rs 4,000,000 to Rs 1.2 million, most of these women are in poverty and need to take care of their children. This has raised many concerns as this allows many companies to exploit these women in various ways.
The above picture depicts surrogacy as a crime relating to selling drugs.
With an industry worth an estimated $6 billion the surrogacy industry is no doubt in high demand. When the supply of any object is reduced without reducing demand first there is bound to be a formation of a black market.
Reports from the Times (London) report that black market surrogacy is booming in China, the source is from a two-month-long investigation on a state-run news website. The reports say that the agents charge the couples anywhere between US$55,00 and$155,000 for a baby and the gender is guaranteed. This process is no doubt problematic, especially where the baby is disabled or has problems with pregnancy.
In my opinion, I believe that surrogacy is a bane to modern society. I had the exposure to present the idea of surrogacy when I went for HMUN 2017-2018 representing India, my home country. I talked about surrogacy and our perspective on this idea. In my opinion, I think that surrogacy is a great scientific achievement we made, however the ways we use it in the modern-day world are not acceptable. I can compare this to the invention of dynamite by Alfred Nobel, the intended use was for mining, however, it was used as a weapon by others. If we all don’t come up with a justified and legal form of surrogacy, we cannot put an end to these issues
I believe that surrogacy is a scientific breakthrough that, in theory, is a very beneficial business and could help many people around the world. In practice, however, there are many ethical and legal issues that are preventing it from being used to its true potential.
Surrogacy can be replaced with better alternatives. One of the best alternatives is adoption Which is more legal, ethical, humane, and cheaper. There are many other global issues that can be solved by this such as overpopulation and poverty.