Why Rent-A-Womb Experiments Make Me Itch

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B.P. Terpstra

Sam Everingham is co-convener of Australian Families Through Gestational Surrogacy. He’s also an amateur historian, who cheerily reminds us that, “Traditional surrogacy, where a man inseminates a surrogate mother to carry a child for his wife, was sanctioned by Babylonian law in 1760BC. Today it is possible for the intending parent to use their own eggs or those of a third-party donor.”

In Everingham's trendy worldview, surrogacy is more like “babysitting” today (with a bit of blood and pain, my guess) and we should support social experiments.

Incidentally, the Babylonians were never fine role models. To the contrary. For according to The Code of Hammurabi (one of several sets of laws in the Ancient Near East) a baby was worth ten shekels (“If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss”) and neglectful wives risked severe punishments (“If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water”).

Historically, pro-surrogacy societies have often mistreated their childbearing women and exposed babies, but history aside, rent-a-womb experiments make me itch.

Regulation myths

To soften our concerns though, Everingham assures readers that (unlike archaic Australia) the “remuneration of surrogates is legal and well regulated in many states of the US, Canada, India, Thailand and Iran.”

But I demur. Iran is a misogynistic dictatorship. Or as even one medical ethics article from the sympathetic National Center for Biotechnology Information acknowledges: “The main ethical concern of Iran's experience with gestational surrogacy is the monetary relation between the intended couple and the surrogate mother. While monetary remuneration is practised in Iran and allowed by religious authorities, it seems to suffer from ethical problems.” And, that’s putting it politely.

As well, in some liberal North American states, the standard surrogacy business model, looks like a creepy Aryan breeding programme, while exploitation stories are emerging from India and Thailand, where women are treated like cattle by the white-majority gay establishment and desperate-acting female careerists. 

If by “well regulated” Everingham means ethical, then he’s seriously naïve or worse, because reports are emerging of wide scale abuses, without convincing explanations.

Iran? I mean, come off it.

As always, the Australian Families Through Gestational Surrogacy group adopts the language of selective adults-first libertarianism over the language of children’s rights.

Rent-a-womb ethics

Furthermore, social engineers never tire of Orwellian experiments under the banner of “progress” (as if society isn’t dealing with enough broken new age family models and costly expressive divorce casualties).  So, naturally, therefore, Australian Families Through Gestational Surrogacy directs visitors to “Gay Dads Australia” (an odd pro-surrogacy site where adult rights are uncritically uplifted).  

“In the United States, the payment for a surrogate mother currently appears to be in the range between US$25,000 and $30,000, however the whole procedure can cost upto [sic] AUD$150,000 to $200,000” we’re informed.  

And: “Choosing an Egg Donor is another step you must take. There are numerous agencies that provide egg donor services and you should ‘shop’ around. Egg donors can cost from US$8000 upwards.”

As an advertisement, photos of motherless boys do look happy with their white fathers.

And: breeders are cheaper in Canada, we’re assured.  Gay Dads Australia’s propaganda site adds: “In India, the surrogate is usually arranged for you by the Agency. In India you are unlikely to actually ever meet your surrogate as the industry in India operates very differently to the US and Canada.”

For potential customers, fuzzy statements abound: “An Egg Donor is a very personal choice.”

Motherless boys

I realised something else. You see, it’s not just what Big Surrogacy tells you, it’s what their salesmen and enablers avoid discussing in public. After, a child is born, and taken away from his screened “birth mother” or “gestational carrier” (to objectify women more) little is said about maternal instincts.

“Mothers are encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies as much as possible in Britain as it helps with feeding, bonding and settling the child,” for example.  But under Big Surrogacy, nurturing isn’t a top priority.  The truth: Skin nurturing also known as “kangaroo touch” is a biological gift even a well-meaning gay gentleman can’t manufacture for a boy.

Nor can we deny breast milk’s long-term benefits. Or to quote from the journal Pediatrics: “By looking at boys and girls independently, we found that predominant breastfeeding for six months or longer was significantly associated with increased mathematics, reading, writing, and spelling scores for boys, but no effect of breastfeeding was apparent on the educational attainment of girls for any subject.”

Elsewhere, the adults-first sounding Everingham says his side isn’t avoiding the messy inconvenience of parenthood.” Forget that men can’t breastfeed, among other things, as even the imperfect Babylonians understood.