I believe that surrogacy has meant a beautiful baby outcome for many people and for that - I support it, in theory.
The concern I have for any commercial arrangement is that any person in a vulnerable position (disability, poverty, mental illness) may be taken advantage of o exploited for financial gain. This isn't something that CAN'T be resolved through proper screening, compulsory counselling etc but it needs to be considered.
I also think that this makes "babies for purchase" a reality for those who can afford to pay - which doesn't necessarily make someone a good parent. will wombs go to the highest bidders as opposed to the best parents or even just good parents? This is not something that is as much of an issue in altruistic surrogacy.
Then there's the gendered issue of surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy could lead to even more exploitation of women - a group that seriously doesn't need further exploitation. Especially not by each other. Can the biological parents demand certain behaviours, diets, lifestyles because they have paid the surrogate for their services? To what extent?
And how do surrogacy disputes get resolved? Sure it might be easy when the biological parents have created the embryo prior to implantation but what if they didn't? what if they use a donor for sperm, egg or both? Does the fact they paid for it, create any more of a child + parent relationship than the surrogate who carried the pregnancy? Although this may be an argument against surrogacy in all its forms and I don't mean to do that.
I'm not entirely sure where I sit with this but to me, creating a commodity from children is fraught with danger - unless someone can come up with a fair, equitable, regulated system that works to avoid exploitation. But i'm a cynic and wonder if whenever money enters the equation, all bets are off.
For the record, i'm not naive enough to assume commercial surrogacy doesn't already occur in Australia so maybe for those who do it - some monitoring and regulation isn't a bad thing.
Sorry for the rambling - thoughts going in different directions while watching Offspring and seeing all those babies born!
Well said firsttimemum, I agree with all of your rambling thoughts lol!
"Baby as commodity" is a real danger. I just read that Sherri Shepard from The View in the US is divorcing and she is saying she no longer wants and won't help raise the baby CURRENTLY BEING CARRIED by a surrogate because it's her soon-to-be-ex husband's sperm and a donor egg !!
Exploitation is something obviously surrogates in Australia do consider, but consider this...given we are the only ones not paid in the process, doesnt that too equal exploitation? I do agree that we can (and do in most states) protect vulnerable women already.
I believe babies are already being purchased, given the nonexistent medicare funding.
I do not believe commercial surrogacy should include the removal of the parenting order process, this would protect surrogates and maintain bodily autonomy.
At the moment surrogacy disputes go to counseling where they are usually resolved, after that and depending on type they can be resolved in court, obviously this is an expensive process.
See above, I already believe that we have created a child commodity given everyone bar one person is paid in the process.
Yes...I have heard rumors of commercial surrogacy already occuring but nothing more than that.
Anyway, hope you dont think I am being argumentative at all, I simply find this topic very close to heart and its something I am beginning to feel passionate about
Not at all! I think this topic is so raw and controversial but also necessary. Not just because of Gammy but for potential parents and potential surrogates everywhere. I'm glad that we have a place to open a dialogue and consider points of view. Not thinking of you as argumentative at all!!!
That whole Sherri Shepard thing makes my skin crawl.
Thank you headoverfeet for sharing your point of view.
To answer the OP, I think that given all the appropriate safeguards and checks, I would feel more ethically comfortable with a regulated system in Australia whereby the surrogate can receive financial compensation, as opposed to what seems to be often unregulated and exploitative systems overseas.
I just wanted to add that while my view is that surrogacy is already somewhat commercialized as I've mentioned, I do not frown appon it, simply part off the process when using a service be that a lawyer, doctor ect. I do believe Medicare would relieve a lot of the pressure on intended parents as would being able to claim on tax as patients currently can for our of pocket expenses over a certain amount.
The proposed changes to surrogacy law in WA (link belows) are pretty infuriating and insulting.
Babies should apparently only be born to opposite sex parents for reasons like:
*Only mothers can breastfeed (so non-breastfeeding mothers shouldn't be allowed children either?)
*Mothers are better than fathers at reading emotional cues in their children
*Fathers are more likely to introduce children to the worlds of work, sport and civil society
Even if you're against surrogacy, I don't know how anyone could not be offended by these ridiculous, outdated stereotypes and the fact that laws may be made based on them.
Primary caregivers (regardless of gender) are best at reading their children's cues.
Mothers are perfectly capable of working outside the home and being part of "civil society" (wtf?!).
I can't believe people still don't believe that children need families who love and care for them, whether it's a traditional nuclear family, single parent, or same-sex couples.
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