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wombs for hire
BLAS, valerie anne
• Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of gestating and giving birth to a child for others to raise. • Latin word, surrogatus (substituted)
Old testament [Genesis 16]: Hagar, the maidservant of Sarah, slept with Abraham to bear a child for her infertile mistress
Types of surrogacy
Traditional surrogacy Gestational surrogacy
Partial or genetic contracted motherhood • Using artificial insemination: gestational mother is impregnated with the sperm of the commissioning father • Pregnant woman is both the genetic and gestational mother of the child • she relinquishes her role of social mother to the commissioning mother.
Complete or gestational contracted motherhood • Using in vitro fertilization, eggs and sperm are extracted from the donors and in vitro fertilized and implanted into uterus of the surrogate mother • pregnant woman makes no genetic contribution to the child • she is the child’s birth mother. • In cases of infertility: donor sperm or donor eggs are transplanted
Why become a surrogate mother?
Statistics: • mostly educated women (>13 years education) • not primarily for money • predominantly Christians (Catholics and Protestants) • wishes the intending family to enjoy the special love and gratification of a child • driven to share what they have • relieve some of the social stigma of not being able to produce a child. It takes a special person to become a surrogate • stresses associated: insemination, pain, unpleasant side effects, depression, guilt difficulty remaining unattached, relinquishing, etc.
Surrogate Motherhood PROS CONS
• It allows couples who want a family but who were prevented from having one by infertility to have a child
– Medical conditions: damaged ovaries (endometriosis, destroyed ovaries, menopause, severe ovulatory disorders, genetic disorders)
• It does not harm both parties if arrangement does not harm either • Children are not conceived for their own sakes, but for another’s benefit
• surrogacy arrangements are in reality contracts for the purchase of a child • surrogate arrangements depersonalize reproduction • create a separation of genetic, gestational, and social parenthood • right to be a parent must be intuitive and deeply rooted
Great similarity between gestational commercial surrogacy and organ transplant marketing Despite claims to freedom of choice, surrogacy is a form of prostitution and slavery, exploitation of the poor and needy by those who are better off Women are frequently reduced to biological capacity.
Can anyone predict the emotions associated with relinquishing a child? Should the child be told? What are the possible adverse psychological effects on the child? What identity crisis might ensue, and will there be a desire on the part of the child to know his/her gestational mother? What happens when no one wants a handicapped newborn? Will surrogate arrangements be used not only by infertile couples but also for the sake of convenience, or by single men or women? Would this lead to commercialization of surrogacy and expose the surrogate mother to possible exploitation?
Mother Mary… a surrogate mother? Definition: surrogacy is an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of giving birth to a child for others to raise she did not give up Jesus to be raised by someone else, she raised him
Abraham and Sarah… and Hagar?
practice of her native country one of the legal codes of Mesopotamia No established moral foundations
Abraham allowed Sarah to lead him astray Outcome: suffering and disappointment Tension, heartache, and hatred bet the women Intense bitter dissension between the offspring’s of Sarah and Hagar - felt in the modern world today
Sarah’s descendants (Jews) vs. Hagar’s descendants (Arabs)
Hagar = modern woman Being a surrogate gave her an elitist feeling She became pompous and proud would not consent to the plan to turn her child over to the mistress Why should her child be passed off as the wife’s son? She had second thoughts …still happens today.
Humanae Vitae, 1968 encyclical letter by Pope Paul VI: • There are two equal purposes of sex in marriage, the unitive and the procreative, and that both must be present in each act of sex in marriage • If human beings truly are created in God's image and likeness, then human love should imitate divine love • God's love issues forth creation in an act of supreme and unfettered generosity • Human love should be both love-giving and lifegiving
Donum Vitae, 1987 statement by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: • Assisted reproduction divorce procreation from sexual union of the man and woman • Calls infertility "a difficult trial" and expresses sympathy towards "the suffering of spouses who cannot have children” • Its elaboration that "Physical sterility in fact can be a call for other important services to life like adoption, education work and assistance to other families and to poor or handicapped children • Reproductive technologies which seek to 'take' a child apart from sexual intercourse do not treat a child as what he or she truly is
• A child is not only "the most gratuitous gift of marriage," but is also "a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents." • Child's right: "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents"
– nature of a surrogacy arrangement rules such out
• Gestational surrogacy: The mutual giving expressed by what the Church calls "the language of the bodies" morally requires that the child not only be conceived through sex between its biological father and mother, but also carried and gestated by its genetic mother • “the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents."
What does it mean to be a parent? How should we consider children? Is the child himself or herself being reduced to a commodity, one good alongside other goods we buy and sell in our economy?
If the answer to this is 'yes,' then paid surrogacy violates the dignity of the personhood of our offspring, for only THINGS have prices people are too valuable to be for sale