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Surrogacy, the trade that reduces mothers to incubators


A HOMOSEXUAL couple in America are reportedly suing an IVF clinic after a female embryo was implanted in their surrogate and a daughter was born in 2021. Married in 2013, they had ‘dreamed’ of having two sons.

Albert and Anthony Saniger’s claim for unspecified damages alleges that HRC Fertility of Pasadena, which says it is ‘dedicated to helping the gay and lesbian community achieve their dreams of parenthood’ and Dr Bradford A Kolb ‘negligently, recklessly, and/or intentionally transferred a female embryo’ to the couple’s ‘gestational carrier’ and had offered no explanation for how this ‘error’ occurred. It claims the financial impact on the couple is ‘staggering’ because they ultimately will be bringing up three children rather than the two sons they had planned. 

The clinic responded: ‘The couple ideally desired a baby boy but were blessed with a healthy girl. To their dissatisfaction, we have sought to address their concerns. Every child has value and limitless potential regardless of gender. We hope the Sanigers find love and value in their healthy child.’ Reassuring yet hard to take seriously when couched in the language of commerce, contracts and consumer rights. 

The story has received remarkably little attention. Yet it involves clear discrimination against women and girls in which mothers are termed ‘gestational carriers’ and a baby girl is described as an ‘an error’. Of course, it perfectly fits the mainstream media’s newly minted misogyny, once unacceptable but in deference to LGBTQ etc ideology today is par for the course.

This is not the first such ‘error’. Reproductive technology, which is lauded as miraculous and life-giving despite the wastage of embryos, has had its fair share of ‘mix-ups’, as in the case of an opposite-sex couple who sued a California clinic for implanting the wrong embryo. 

This latest same-sex surrogacy case has opened up a new and more terrifying misogyny, which in effect erases mothers and females from the picture, except as temporary receptacles or incubators of eggs.

It is no longer just about judging the appropriateness of different social arrangements to bring up children, critical though that is. It is about the effects of such arrangements on the status of motherhood, the status and protection of the woman’s reproductive role, and of the very future of girls and women. For if a mother can be replaced by a man, and a daughter by sons, she is no longer a special sort of human being, crucial to the health and wellbeing of future generations. 

Pending the development of artificial wombs and/or reproductive cloning, she is reduced to a reproduction slave; her existence otherwise inevitably a problem which spoils the neat progressive narrative of ‘just another sort of family’.  

Given contemporary disdain for the family as an outdated social construct, it is telling that approval is still demanded – that we collude in the lie in same-sex surrogacy arrangements that the mother is neither missing or missed, and that as to the convenient commodity child, ’what they’ve never had they’ll never miss’. 

Adults whose mothers died at the beginning of their lives would no doubt disagree with that. Likewise those adopted as babies often find the knowledge that they were given away by their mothers, or taken away from them, deeply painful. Feelings persist whatever the indoctrination.

Historically, in all these cases at least one ‘mother’, ideally, has always replaced the original mother. Today a child is expected to process being given away by a mother who never planned to be anything other than a commercial baby-making machine, to a designedly mother-less home, without emotional fallout. It is cruelty. 

This is how one man born via a ‘surrogate’ put it: 

‘Something horrible happened to us at birth. We lost our mothers. They did not die, but they might as well have been dead because we lost them in the capacity of mother, and to a tiny baby, that feels like death . . . That makes us feel very rejected. That leaves a hole in our hearts whether we admit to it or it manifests some other way like in depression or a fear of getting close to someone else . . .’ 

Under adoption, the rights of the child still count. Under surrogacy it seems that that only right that counts, regardless of the circumstances, is the right to a (rightless) baby. If disability is detected before birth, it does not even have the right to life. Sex-selective abortion, another awkward feature of ‘reproductive rights’, is typically ignored by the feminists and by the ‘right to choose’ movement who seem equally oblivious to babies being treated as commodities, and frozen embryos regarded as property to be inherited. 

This is a cultural revolution that has happened on our watch. So-called progressive ‘reforms’ have deformed the family and abolished motherhood. Conservatives’ biggest failure of recent years is their reluctance to conserve the traditional family and to allow female slavery once again to cast its long shadow. Because surrogacy is used to create alternative domestic groupings it has escaped the condemnation of the Left. So preoccupied are they with the injustices of yesterday that they cannot see the injustice of today. Surrogacy may be slavery, but for the progressives it’s right-on slavery.

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Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer
Ann Farmer is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Movement (Catholic University of America, 2008).

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