Thursday, August 7, 2008

Baby Farming Hits a Bump in the Road

A messy story from India, where the baby-farm industry flourishes. In brief:

Japanese parents buy an ovum and rent the womb of a poor woman, but alas, the couple divorces before the birth. The natural mother, who provided egg and incubation for money, does not want the burden of raising the child, which is understandable, as we assume that she only took on this life-changing job because she is poor. Baby incubation is not a job middle-class or upper class women take on. Now the Japanese father is willing to take the child, but the Indian law says that only couples can adopt the baby...not a single parent, and there is some problem with the baby leaving India. So while this is sorted out, the baby languishes in a Jaipur hospital.
(read full story at: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080060225
(Once I figure out how to do a link, I will!)

While this sounds shocking, something similar happened here in the USA a few years back and the whole sorry story was in O magazine. In that case, the surrogate mother--whose eggs were fertilized with man's sperm--had twins and again, due to divorce, neither parent who ordered up the babies wanted them. When they were born, the divorced couple simply turned their back on the surrogate mother. Wouldn't pick up the kids, answer her phone calls, and had temporarily disppeared since they had moved. The surrogate mother, ahem, the real mother, was raising the twins while this was being sorted out. (I tried to find this story on the O website to no avail, it ran about five years ago. If anyone can find it, please do.)

What to do? We humans are so cavalier about baby-farming--it's all about "I want" and "I can pay" that we do not consider the eventual outcome and impact on the children being created. Their needs are seen as secondary, not that important. Love will solve everything, right? Wrong.

Who out there doesn't know, or know of, some woman who has had a baby with an anonymous sperm donor? When one showed up at the AAC conference in Atlanta a few years ago, with the cute baby following her around--she should have been shunned rather than been on the program, where she was largely unchallenged as she told her story.

If we cared enough about the future needs of these children, there would be no anonymous sperm donating--anywhere; if we cared enough, surrogate mothers could not be paid for their eggs, or their wombs available for filthy lucre; if we cared enough, frozen embryos would not be passed around like so many jelly beans; if we cared enough, poor nations would not be exporting babies as a commodity contributing to their GNP; if we cared enough, there would never be another closed adoption anywhere, and open-adoption contracts would have the force of law behind them; if we cared enough, all adopted people, and sperm-donor babies, would be able to access their birth records--with all names--tomorrow.

But we do not care enough. Because the tools to manipulate life are there, a generation of baby boomers and X-geners use them casually, indifferently, without any real thought to the eventual lives they are manipulating. Historically, humans have always foisted atrocities upon each other, but this is the first time it is being done in the name of "love."

As for the baby above, we can only hope that the real father gets to take his baby home to Japan.

Lorraine

3 comments :

  1. nice piece! Just seeing if I can log in here.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I care, and I also care for the hollow husk of a mother left behind when her usefulness is depleted. They are the ones I will fight for. If the mothers were not being exploited, there would be many fewer adoptees in the world. And, again, what about the fathers.....?

    ReplyDelete

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