I was watching a news show last night that did a story on the sudden burst of surrogacy numbers in India. An Australia couple has reportedly paid $70,000 to have an Indian woman carry their twins. This woman will make in “9 months” what her husband makes in 4 years.
Why did this couple chose India for surrogacy? Because commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia.
They seemed to come at this story from an angle of it being immoral, exploitation of “poor” women in India who will do anything for cash. The couple preferred to see it as a win-win situation. And I think that is how I see it, too. This Indian woman has the chance to contribute to her family, to make their life a little better, and by doing so, she helps a couple who otherwise would most likely not have children. Where is the exploitation?
For the record, I don’t consider the baby of a surrogate to belong to that surrogate, or to be a part of her at all. I’m sure MANY people would argue with me on that one, but that’s what I believe. The embryo comes from the couple and is implanted in this woman. It is not a part of her, or of her husband. When I was pregnant, knowing that I was carrying a human life that my husband and I had created together made the experience what it was.
I believe in surrogacy, and it makes me sad that it is illegal in Australia. It is very difficult to adopt in Australia, so if you are infertile, your options are extremely limited. I think surrogacy is a legitimiate option, and I think the woman should be compensated for putting her body through the pregnancy/birth. That takes a lot of toll on a woman’s body, but why shouldn’t she have the option of doing it? I would do it. I think its one of the greatest gifts you could give someone, next to an organ.
I don’t doubt that with surrogacy, comes several moral issues. I believe in the States, there is a lot of screening for women who intend to be surrogates. The story last night mentioned that these women never even SEE the babies, let alone touch them, etc. Apparently its been proven that it is easier for them, mentally, to do it this way.
At the end of the story, the couple had just found out that the husband didn’t want his wife to carry twins (“Two big western babies” is what he said, I believe) and they are considering termination of one of the babies. Which brings up another moral and ethical question, whose decision is it to do that?
Maybe if a “western woman” were allowed to be a surrogate, they wouldn’t have to deal with that.
I think if people can go to fertility clinics and CHOOSE what sex their baby is, then it should be legal for a woman to loan her body out, “rent-a-womb” as they said last night, and help another couple to become parents.