|By Sarah Williamson for the New York Times|
What is this if not the strange world of the future that Jane talked about in a recent blog after re-reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? Women in lesser circumstances, women without resources--women in Romney's 47 percent--women in this brave new economy having babies for the wealthy? Because she needs the money to hang unto her life, the woman in the Times' piece has carried other people's babies twice before, always with another woman's eggs; it's not stated whose egg was used for this child, but certainly not those of the woman who is in her 50s.
Why didn't the wealthy wannabe mother find a volunteer job where she could satisfy her need to "mother"? Why not be a "Big Sister" to a young girl who needs a little help and encouragement, and probably a new wardrobe to boot? Why not adopt an older girl who needs a home? But who wants another's rejects, I suppose the thinking went, when we can buy an egg, rent a womb, buy the pain and suffering and danger of labor?
I'LL HAVE BREAST MILK WITH THAT....
Why not do anything other than order up a baby to go? To make sure that one child is delivered, three embryos were implanted into the woman's womb; all took but fortunately two of them shriveled up by themselves during the pregnancy.
I felt physically ill when I read the piece out loud to my husband this morning as we drove to Starbucks. Three embryos--three? If nature had not intervened, would the woman have been asked to undergo another procedure to abort one or two of them? But it was perhaps the breast milk that got to me. The woman made a 45-mile trip to deliver fresh breast milk every day to the hospital, and then 45 miles back. I wondered if she charged for mileage. How is this different than the black mammies who "wet nursed" white women's babies during slavery?
We can be outraged and disgusted, but certainly the Romney folks are not, as three of those numerous grandchildren (now holding at 18) that Romney is so proud of were born via surrogacy. His oldest son, Tagg, and his wife, Jennifer, had three children (a girl and two boys) before they got someone else to do the dirty work of actually carrying the children to term and enduring labor. Before the last twins, Will and David, were born to a surrogate mother, she also supplied a son, Jon. So now they have six little spirit carriers doing God's work. While the Romney baby carrier has been called the "gestational surrogate," which usually means that the egg was not Jennifer's, it's not certain if the eggs of these last three babies that Tagg and Jennifer Romney have, er, created are biologically related to them. But if they are, why the need to devalue the dignity of another person--a woman in need--by renting her womb? Why not see it as "God's plan" to only have three children, since the Romney clan is so very much about God.
Because of little regulation in the U.S., commercial surrogacy is legal and couples like the Romneys don’t have to outsource their pregnancies to India, which has a booming industry in surrogacy. Our Canadian neighbors got it right when the Supreme Court of Canada wrote, “allowing the purchase of human gametes and surrogacy services devalues human life and degrades those who choose to participate in such a commercial transaction.”
DEVALUING HUMAN DIGNITY BY RENTING ANOTHER'S WOMB
We read the the Mormon faith is against surrogacy, but apparently the Romneys are slip sliden' around that, as they slip and slide around everything that seems uncomfortable. The Romney-Ryan duo (and their Senate candidates) are adamantly opposed to abortion--which gives a woman the right to control her body and reproductive life--but they are in support of devaluing another person's life in the pursuit of their one-percent happiness.
The illustration in the Times piece (above) is quite telling: The couple and their decked-out nursery with murals and toys and a rocking horse, and the couple themselves, are in vivid colors; the pregnant woman, looking down and sad, holding her distended belly, is in black and white. The difference between the two classes represented there is stark.
Eggs for Purchase. Wombs for rent. Outsourcing pregnancy. It is always the rich who use the bodies of the poor. Call me disgusted.--lorraine
Sources: Opinion: Making Babies, Just to Make Ends Meet
The Commercialization of Reproduction and and Donor Anonymity in Canada
Creating children, no matter how, in the quest to have a family
So What Do You Think of Surrogate Mothers?
Letters...Her Body, My Baby
Baby Farming Hits a Bump in the Road
Further Reading: Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction Susan Markens takes on one of the hottest issues on the fertility front--surrogate motherhood--in a book that illuminates the culture wars that have erupted over new reproductive technologies in the United States. In an innovative analysis of legislative responses to surrogacy in the bellwether states of New York and California, Markens explores how discourses about gender, family, race, genetics, rights, and choice have shaped policies aimed at this issue....a fascinating picture of how reproductive politics shape social policy. (Amazon)
The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception Among the troubling aspects of new reproductive technologies is the takeover of reproduction by the marketplace. This probing study accepts the free market process while casting a discerning and skeptical eye at its pitfalls. Harvard business prof Spar explores many aspects of the high-tech commodification of procreation: the fabulous revenues commercial fertility clinics earn from couples' desperate desire for children and the ensuing conflicts between medical ethics and the profit motive; the premiums paid for sperm and eggs from genetically desirable donors; the possible exploitation of poor, nonwhite and Third World surrogate mothers paid to gestate the spawn of wealthy Westerners; the fine line between modern adoption practices and outright baby selling; and the new entrepreneurial paradigm of maternity, in which the official "mother" simply finances the assemblage of sperm, purchased egg and hired womb and lays contractual claim to the finished infant. --Publisher's Weekly