Debate Rounds (3)
The intended parents are in a position where they are asking someone to obligate themselves to put themselves though considerable pain and discomfort, at significant risk to their health and wellbeing, and subsequently could pose negative effects on the children/family of the surrogate.
Thought should be given as to how the intended parents would feel if the surrogate ended up suffering post partum depression, needing to have a hysterectomy due to complications, or suffering permeant health issues such as incontinence or adhesions. These are just a few real possibilities. Another possibility is maternal death. It is less common in first-world countries with modern medicine, but it still happens. Ignoring the risks in hopes that nothing bad will happen is irresponsible, and not characteristic of good candidates for parents. It may be tempting for an infertile couple to think of it as someone else's choice they are making to take the risk, but they are just as big a part of this arrangement as the surrogate, and share responsibility for the outcome.
I think in most cases surrogacy is ethically deplorable, but especially when it's done for profit.
In the case of traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is literally selling her own baby. Like merchandise. I don't know how anyone could not see a moral issue there.
In most cases of gestational surrogacy the surrogate mother has to first undergo a course of daily Lupron injections to shut down the bodies normal hormone production. And then also take progesterone vaginal suppositories. This type of artificial tampering with a bodies normal hormone balance comes with a whole host of negative side effects. Including but not limited to:
- bone pain, loss of movement in any part of your body;
- swelling, rapid weight gain;
- pain, burning, stinging, bruising, or redness where the medication was injected;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- painful or difficult urination;
- high blood sugar
- sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), - problems with speech or balance;
- sudden headache with vision problems, vomiting, confusion, slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, or slow breathing; or
chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling.
And that's just the effects of the hormone "therapy". what surrogates tend to forget, when they are negotiating a price for the rental of their uterus, is that having a baby is no small thing. It is risky, and complicated, and can end badly.
We all like to think of the beauty and perfection of a new born baby. But the process is not perfect. A pregnant woman will experience pain, discomfort and permanent body changes ranging from minor (nausea, vomiting, back pain, hemroids, constipation, exhaustion, dizziness, swelling, loss of sleep, etc etc) to major (extreme pain from labor and delivery, permanent stretch mark scarring, vaginal lacerations, permanent disfigurement of genitals, permanent urinary and fecal incontinence, anal fissures etc etc.
There is a fairly high change that a surrogate could need a C section which is major surgery, and comes with all the risks and potential side effects of such. It is a real possibility that a surrogate could suffer complications that lead to problems sustaining another pregnancy, they could end up sterile, or even die from complications in surgery or childbirth.
Even in the best case scenario a C section is a lengthy and painful healing process, that carries a risk of infection, adhesions, endometriosis, uterine rupture in a subsequent pregnancy.
These are just some of the risks of bearing a child, of course there are greater risks with multiples.
There is also the very real issue of the surrogate mother's mental health, and it's effect on her family. Postpartum depression, anxiety, postpartum psychosis and PTSD from a traumatic birth experience, are very real, and can be devastating to the mother and her family. In some tragic cases it can even end in suicide. There is no screening process to ensure someone won't suffer these mental illness', and there is no guarantee that just because a mother didn't experience these things in a previous birth, that they won't from a surrogate pregnancy.
Is there a price tag that should be put on a women's health and well being, and the effects on her family? How much is the risk of her dying, or living with permanent health issues? Is it worth it just so someone can have a biological child instead of an adopted one?
So adoption is hard, complicated, expensive and you don't always get exactly what you hoped for, and sometimes you get your heart broken. Welcome to parenthood. That is the test to see just how much you can handle, and sacrifice and give of yourself to be a parent. That's earning your stripes.
It's not easy, and it's not supposed to be. I believe having a baby naturally is hard and risky to make you realize just how special and priceless the gift of a child is. That gift can't be replaced by money, no matter how much.
Some paid surrogates claim to also be doing it for altruistic reasons, but if that's truly their motivations then I ask myself would they still do it if there was no pay cheque? If money wasn't a factor? For strangers? Probably not.
If you are thinking about hiring a surrogate to carry your child, I suggest thinking about how you would feel if your daughter grew up and decided to rent out her womb to the highest bidder, at the risk of her own health. Would you question her opinion of self-worth?
Now for all the pain and suffering its 'her choice' . On top of all that she makes money off of it. It helps homosexual and transsexual couples both which can't have a baby (Lesbian not included) . All is I am saying is that if she wants to be pregnant with someone else's baby than that is her choice no one else's. Also some people don't care about morality.
Surrogacy is an irresponsible choice for both surrogates, and intended parents. It can endanger the life of the surrogate, and negatively impact her family members. When surrogacy is treated as services rendered for payment, it is unethical; as it puts a price on human life, and the right to "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health" defined as "one of the fundamental rights of every human being" (1) by the World Health Organization.
Yes it is her choice, but the choice has the potential to negatively impact her children and/or other family members. The risk associated with a typical pregnancy, and a typical surrogacy pregnancy are the virtually same, the main difference is the reward. In the case of a mother that chooses to have another child of her own, taking the risks involved is a reasonable choice considering the benefit of bringing a new child into her family is priceless.
On the other hand, a surrogate mother choosing to have another pregnancy purely for the benefit of extra income is acting irresponsibly, as she is knowingly endangering herself and her own children for financial gain.
It may seem extreme to suggest that a pregnancy could endanger a women's current children, however there have been many documented cases of women suffering postpartum psychosis (PPP) with tragic outcomes.
This excerpt from "BBC today" paints a picture of the reality of PPP:
"Women are more at risk of severe mental illness after giving birth than at any other time in their lives.
In the worst cases it can lead to postpartum psychosis, also known as puerperal psychosis, a mental illness which affects one in 500 new mothers and can result in suicide or them killing their baby." (2)
The same article follows the story of how one woman's struggle with PPP lead her to planning how to kill herself, and her two young sons.
The argument that surrogacy is helping gay couples is flawed in that the exorbitant cost associated with hiring a surrogate, and funding her health care, are deducting from funds that could help a child, otherwise adopted from the foster care system.
As pointed out by Jason Tseng in his article entitled "The Ethics of Surrogacy" (3), gay parents who hire a surrogate are looking at increasing their child care costs by approximately 40% before the child is even born. In the case that Jason details, the gay couple spent $110,000 on surrogacy costs. He acknowledges the opportunity costs of this choice by explaining how that money would benefit a child in the form of investing it in a college fund, or saving it for use in the event of unforeseen medical expenses.
Of course trying to adopt a child from foster care, while far less expense, can come with the risk of getting a child with behavioral, mental, or physical challenges. There is still the risk of having a child through surrogacy that also has these issues. The benefit of adopting from foster-care, or an adoption agency, over surrogacy, is that the adoptive parents can be made aware ahead of time that the child has these challenges.
When talking about surrogacy, it should be noted that the largest number of surrogates are in India, and most live in poverty.
In an article entitled: Babies, Poverty and Women"s Rights (4) from populationgrowth.org, they expose the nature of the "reproductive tourism" industry in India
"India is home to a large number of surrogate mothers, most of whom are poor. Commercial surrogacy was legalized in 2002. There is no official number, but the UN estimated in 2012 that there are over 3,000 fertility clinics in the country." (4)
Many Indian women may want to become surrogates as a means to escape impoverishment, but with little education most don't fully understand the obligations and risks, for which there are many, in the developing world.
"The risks of pregnancy are not minor, especially in the developing world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that in 2008 more than 358,000 women died from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Furthermore, an alarming 10 million women suffer from injury, infection or disease as a result of a pregnancy." (4)
Ethically, a woman feeling compelled to engage in surrogacy for pay due to financial hardship, is similar to someone resorting to prostitution to escape poverty. Both prioritize unnecessary wants over the women/person's health, and both use money to lure persons into endangering themselves.
I acknowledge that though not everyone cares about morality, being able to differentiate between right and wrong, and pass on a sense of morality to your children is a fundamental element to responsible parenting. To be able to fulfill this responsibility you need to care, and have some sense of values. As the majority of surrogates are parents, and all intended parents are hoping to be, morality should matter to the persons involved in a surrogacy transaction.
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