Unfortunately, our cultural often heralds the big fertility industry despite the drastic and negative effects it has on babies and women.
Surrogacy using donated sperm and/or eggs is becoming more commonplace and even trendy but it’s a detrimental practice that inevitably harms women and babies.
Paying someone else to make or carry a baby that may or may not have any of your DNA is a lucrative racket that’s taken off in the U.S. and rakes in billions of dollars each year. It’s also growing increasingly popular for gay couples or even some women who want to avoid the pregnancy symptoms and body changes required of carrying a baby, but just because it’s an option doesn’t mean it’s ethical.
Some celebrities such as Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, Elon Musk and his ex-girlfriend Grimes, and Anderson Cooper and his ex-partner have taken advantage of the expensive baby creation market and been praised for normalizing the Big Fertility industry.
Even conservative commentator Dave Rubin recently announcedthat he and his husband are expecting not one but two babies this year via surrogates.
Plenty of reportedly pro-life people and conservative outlets congratulated Rubin on Twitter but the truth is there’s not much to praise about needlessly separating a baby from his biological mother to fulfill your own self-interest.
Surrogacy Sidelines Children
Whether we like it or not, surrogacy intentionally severs the biological and emotional bond a woman and the baby she is carrying develop. It violates the dignity of the child, the birth mother, and the adoptive parents by automatically handing the child lower chances of success later on in life.
There are plenty of studies showing that children born to a married mother and father are more likely to be healthier, safer, get a good education, and live above the poverty line. On average, children are best set up for success when they are raised by their biological mother and father. On the contrary, adults that use the commercial fertility industry to create children using donated eggs and/or sperm through a surrogate automatically manufacture a biological distance between themselves and the baby they order.
In an ideal world, children should stay with their biological parents who are responsible and seek their children’s best interest. A loving, nuclear family that can take in a child neglected by his biological parents is a strong second choice designed to cater to the needs of a child. Adults who solicit Big Fertility when they desire a baby, however, are choosing to doom children to likely biological and sociological trauma and even death without much consideration.
A mere 7 percent of the babies conceived via in vitro fertilization required for gestational surrogacy survive the embryo storing and implanting process. Most of them are disposed of or frozen, which also reduces the chances of an embryo surviving implantation, as adults become picky and choosy about how many children they want and how “viable” an embryo is believed to be. Unwanted or extra embryos that do implant in the uterus are subject to “selective reduction” which is just a fancy word for killing the unborn baby.
In addition to the IVF process being extremely risky for children, surrogacy traumatizes babies before and after they are born. Surrogacy raises the chances of babies being stillborn or struggling to meet birthweight goals and often leaves children intentionally motherless. Or, as in Ukraine right now, it leaves babies separated from both their biological and surrogate mothers during unprecedented circumstances.
After birth, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admit that 80 percent of children who are only raised by one or no biological parents, something surrogacy promotes, experienced at least one adverse family event such as “divorce or separation, death, incarceration of a parent or guardian, living with someone who is mentally ill or suicidal, living with someone who had an alcohol or drug problem, witnessing violence in the household, being the victim of violence or witnessing neighborhood violence, suffering racial discrimination, and having a caregiver who often found it hard to make ends meet” which are proven to have damaging effects on kids as they transition into their adult lives.
Surrogacy Exploits Women and Their Design
Surrogacy not only exploits women, some of whom are forced to turn to the industry because of poor living conditions in their country, but it can leave them physically and emotionally damaged.
Lured by the promise of thousands of dollars, women designed with the incredible ability to carry and birth children are loaned out to people who have enough money to manufacture a child according to their preferences.
Even though a woman is compensated for renting out her womb, her body and mind have undergone significant changes and pressure that don’t yield the joy of raising a child at the end. In some contracts, those surrogate mothers who do wrestle with the inevitable bond they’ve built with the babies they’ve nurtured for nine months suddenly decide to keep the child which ends in heartbreak and legal battles for everyone involved.
Those who are forced to separate from the babies after birth regardless of their feelings are left feeling anxiety caused by increased levels of cortisol. The baby, too, can suffer from increased stress and even brain structure alterations due to separation.
Women who carry children who aren’t their own are at a “three-fold risk of developing hypertension and pre-eclampsia.” Those who lose their baby via miscarriage due to these increased risks or other trying factors report feeling incredible sadness for the baby’s life.
“The commercial separation of children from their mothers has already led to baby-selling rings, trafficking, and baby hoarding, all of which exemplify what surrogacy is at its core: a marketplace of human beings,” Katie Breckenridge of child advocacy organization Them Before Us noted in 2021.
Excitement About Innovation Shouldn’t Precede Ethics
In a civilized society, commercial surrogacy would be outlawed. That’s why so many European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Bulgaria have banned it despite activist cries that it’s a legitimate family-building practice. Unfortunately, the big fertility industry is thriving in multiple U.S. states and is often heralded by our culture despite the drastic and negative effects it has on babies and women.