A Japanese businessman, multimillionaire Mitsutoki Shigeta, has had at least 15 children with surrogates whose births were weeks or months apart, and were all living in one house. The 24-year-old says his motives are pure; a large family is all he wants. He broke no law;
three of the children were taken to Cambodia where he has a large house; the others are in custody in Thailand.
Thailand, known as the sex-trafficking center of the world, has an unregulated boomlet in surrogacy, where it has been available for at least a decade. Many poor women in the rural areas look to it to change their lives as it pays about $10,000 for a successful pregnancy, and more for twins, as well as a monthly allowance of around $450 and housing during the pregnancy. These fees are huge in a poor country such as Thailand.
While no law bans surrogacy in Thailand, the law defines a mother as the person who gives birth. For biological parents to gain custody, the surrogate mother must give up her parental rights, a concession that may require some legal finagling.
What's wrong with this picture? Children are being bred like animals, and if there is a problem, the parents feel little or not connection with imperfect results. As Farnell said: "I don't think any parent wants a son with a disability." Well, no, you don't wish for a child with a disability, but you do care for that child once it is born; you do not discard it like damaged stock, as he apparently is willing to do.
The number of Thai surrogacy births runs to the several hundred a year. Because surrogacy is outlawed in China, many Chinese couples come to Thailand for embryo implantation and then return home to have the baby sub rosa. The womb-rental business in Thailand also benefits from the ban on gay couples in India hiring surrogate mothers. India is the only other Asian country where surrogacy is legal.
But children are not animals, humans should be better than these examples, but as long as wombs and woman can be rented for a fee, this kind of breeding will go on. Surrogacy, in Thailand as well as the United States, exploits poor women and treats children like chattel.
A pending ban on surrogacy in Thailand is likely not to end the practice there but drive it underground. While we can decry these instances of sick human breeding, the fact remains that America is the world's largest paid surrogacy destination. Some years ago I read a story in O about a woman who was hired to be a surrogate, but before twins were born, the couple broke up and neither of them wanted the children. I don't know if the surrogate kept them, or they went into the adoption pipeline.
In recounting these facts, I am almost without words. Surrogacy is a fact of life today. The genie is out of the bottle. Without pay for family and among close friends, it is perhaps not objectionable. Mothers have carried babies for daughters; sisters have done it for sisters. But for pay and profit? It is no better than breeding livestock. It is indeed a brave new world.--lorraine
Thailand’s Business in Paid Surrogates May Be Foundering in a Moral Quagmire
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Japanese man fathers 15 babies via Thai surrogacy
When a child of surrogacy asks: Who is my mommy?
Surrogate Mother Wins Right to Sue for Custody; Police Chief Sentenced for Stealing Surrogate Items
Making babies, just to make ends meet
Exploiting first mothers, then and now
by Annette Baran and Rueben Pannor
While not specifically on the topic of surrogacy, "this compact and compelling book on the psychology of donor insemination presents both problems and solutions. In the world of alternative means of conception, donor insemination is the parent procedure, the most available, successful and egalitarian. Breaking the bonds of silence and ending secrecy is necessary, the authors believe, to address the inherent psyhchological problems. As the world continues headlong down the road of high-tech procedures and methodologies, there is a need to maintain a strong sense of importance of the human element and historical, genetic connections."--Amazon