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All Worked Up About Surrogacy
a blog by the editors
I’m always amazed at how quick people are to judge. Truly, when I think about it, I’m shocked. Are we really that afraid of people who have views different than ours? Now, I’m not saying I never judge – I’d be lying -- but I guess because of my line of work, I feel much less apt to say someone’s family building choices are right or wrong, moral or amoral.
A recent article in the New York Times, Building a Baby, With Few Ground Rules, by Stephanie Saul, tells a horror story about a husband and wife who hired a surrogate to build their family (using donor sperm and a donor egg). The woman who acted as surrogate -- a married mother with four children of her own -- gave birth to the couple’s twins. The twins went home with the intended parents as planned. The surrogate later sued for (and won) custody of the twins when it was determined the intended mother was “unfit” because of a history of mental health issues.
The story was enough to scare the bejesus out of you and it generated LOTS of comments (163 as I write) condemning surrogacy and the families who choose it to grow their families. The article pointed out that the area of surrogacy is largely unregulated. It cites three cases where legal battles have ensued over whether intended parents are “fit” to raise the children born via surrogates.
To quote the article, “About 750 babies are born each year in this country through gestational surrogacy, and twice that many surrogacies are attempted.” That’s right, there are 750 babies born via surrogacy each year. We hear about three in this article that go awry. Maybe there are a couple others not yet documented. But the point is that 99% of births involving surrogacy go RIGHT and are positive, life-altering experiences.
While ANYONE using a surrogate should consult an experienced surrogacy lawyer, and while I agree that the parties involved in surrogacy should be subject to agreed-upon guidelines, surrogacy is NOT the Wild West. The vast majority of babies who come into this world via surrogates are loved enormously and raised under circumstances similar to those babies born by their biological parents.
Can you imagine if EVERYONE who wanted to have a child was subjected to mental health and medical analysis before building their families? Who would be deemed fit to have a child? Who has a ghost-less closet? Probably not I.
Our world is not perfect. Parents aren’t perfect. ART isn't perfect. Nor is surrogacy. But by and large it is an amazing, altruistic medical achievement that makes families complete.
The cases of surrogacies that go bad aren’t the norm.
Don’t let the outlier cases scare you . . .
Laurie C. Gordon