The Wrong of Surrogacy


There are no good reasons to engage in surrogacy. To deliberately bring a child into the world with the intention of depriving it of its biological mother and/or father is to wrong the child. This is true whether or not surrogacy involves a commercial transaction or is, euphemistically called, altruistic. However, where the transaction is commercial, another wrong involved in the practice of surrogacy is brought into sharp relief and that is the wrong of commodifying the child, as we generally find when the parties to the ‘transaction’ cease to be of one mind and the dispute moves to court. The most recent example of this occurrs in California:

a Georgia sperm donor known in court papers only as “C.M.” is attempting to force a California woman to abort one of three triplets she is carrying because he paid for only one of them. According to the article, “C.M.” paid a 47-year-old mother of four, Melissa Cook (photo), US$33,000 to bear for him a child conceived from his sperm and eggs donated by a 20-year-old woman.

Given the abortion dispensation, the life of the child here is legally immaterial, what will be at issue is whether the contract between the surrogate and the prospective parent allows the latter to forcible terminate the child the surrogate is carrying –  an interesting development given that one of the arguments of pro-abortionists is the bodily integrity of women even to the point of refusing to carry her child.  Nevertheless, that is where we have come to, in treating the child in utero as a commodity, to be bought and sold, or destroyed, at the whims of the mother and prospective parent, and the relevant society that is prepared to approve the desires and norms that are intrinsic to the practice of surrogacy. The child in utero has become in our time an object; an object whose value does not arise from what it is, a human being, but from the value it is accorded by its mother or father or any other legal party to the transactions of conception and gestation. And the law stands mute as protector of its interests as a human being in its earliest stage of development.

Picture: ‘The Judgement of Solomon’ (1625) by Valentin de Boulogne.

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