Romney’s son and his wife have done it. E! anchor Giuliana Rancic has done it. Hollywood stars like Sarah Jessica Parker have done it. They all have had a biological child/children with a gestational surrogate. The business of surrogacy is part of what has been called the “Fertility Industrial Complex.” What is it, and what ultimately drives it? Lets start with Kathleen Sloan, who is on the board of the National Organization for Women, and her thoughts.
She has major concerns. When people share the “good news,” it’s “always from the angle of the miracle of life and not the use of some other women’s eggs or the rental of another women’s womb. They don’t look at the health risks. They don’t look at the exploitation. It’s extremely one-sided and really a very classist treatment of the issue.”
It is not legal everywhere. But in the U.S. (and India), it is not only legal but not well regulated, even called the “Wild West of third party reproduction.”
A recent statement by Sloan lays out the real problems with way to have a biological child:
“Surrogacy is a stark manifestation of the commodification of women’s bodies. Surrogate services are advertised, surrogates are recruited, and operating agencies make large profits. The commercialism of surrogacy raises the specter of a black market and baby selling, of breeding farms a la The Handmaid’s Tale, turning impoverished women into baby producers. Surrogacy degrades a pregnancy to a service and a baby to a product—an entitlement for those with the financial means to procure one.”
“As developments in biotechnology facilitate the commodification of reproduction, alarm bells should be sounding about the new door that has been opened for yet further disregard and degradation of women’s humanity, wholeness, physical and emotional inviolability. Simply put, if you care about women’s human rights, you cannot allow their exploitation as commodities and their health endangerment for others’ profit and gain.”
Even after the business of the baby is done, and the baby is delivered, problems remain. What if something is wrong with the baby? The “parents” can say they don’t want it, and who gets it? Surprise-the surrogate.
How did we get here–to where women will allow other womens’ exploitation so they can have their own biological child?
It started generations ago with the birth of pronatalist beliefs. In times when societies needed to grow their populations to survive and gain power, pregnancy and childbirth didn’t come without risks. Sociologists tell us that “romanticized myths” were needed to influence women to take those risks and create the desire for them to have many children.
Generations ago it was the genesis of the many pronatalist beliefs that remain strong today, such as “I am not a real woman if I can’t have my own child.” “When it comes to having children, biological is best.” And what makes people believe adoption is a distant second.
The fertility industrial complex continues to feed these kinds of beliefs. It is time that they are seriously questioned, and this is what The Baby Matrix does.