Commercial surrogacy refers to a process in which a couple or individual pays a fee to a woman, a surrogate mother, who agrees to carry and give birth to a baby on their behalf. It is an option for couples and individuals who wish to have a child, but due to circumstances, cannot have one. Surrogacy may be commercial, where the surrogate mother is paid for her services; or altruistic, where there is no payment and usually the surrogate mother is related with the commissioning couple or individual. Commercial surrogacy must be brought to an end and made illegal worldwide! Why you ask? Firstly, do those who support commercial surrogacy really take into account how dangerous it can be for the baby?
Or the possible issues that may occur if something goes wrong? No, they definitely don’t! Surely if they did they wouldn’t pay a surrogate mother to do so! In addition to that, the surrogate mother are usually women who choose to be a surrogate mother living in harsh conditions within developing countries, where I will specifically be talking about women in India who are being exploited due to their unfortunate lifestyles. Finally to drive the point home, I will highlight the gruelling reality of commercial surrogacy caused by corrupt organisations that control poor women going through all the hardship in developing countries.
A controversial issue in the news within the past year concerning commercial surrogacy involved this adorable little boy – which you can see in this photo – of baby Gammy, a Thai boy who is one of two twins born in India by a surrogate mother. His biological parents were Australians who claimed that they didn’t abandon him when finding out he had down-syndrome. Although, Mr and Mrs Farnell (Baby Gammy’s biological parents) claim that “they didn’t know about the other baby” which is false because, in truth there is concrete evidence that when the surrogate mother discovered she was carrying twins, the biological parents offered an additional $2,000 Australian dollars for the twin, however, when it was discovered that one of the babies had down-syndrome, the Australians told her to abort the affected twin. Just because he had a healthy twin sister, Baby Gammy was abandoned by his heartless and cruel biological parents as they refused to take him back to Australia.
Now, when we hear about terrible things like this happening to a child, our natural reaction is usually to demand better protection with the hope that we can prevent situations such as this from occurring again. Because Baby Gammy was diagnosed with down-syndrome, it gives no excuse or right justification for his parents to abandon him! He may be born through surrogacy but these heartless Australians are still his biological parents, who yearned for a child and once they had their wish fulfilled, they cruelly left him. Parents who are capable of giving birth to their own children would most definitely never abandon their child after finding out they have down-syndrome. So what gives this couple the right to abandon Baby Gammy? This situation really comes to show how largely unregulated commercial surrogacy is and this is why commercial surrogacy should be made illegal in all countries. We all must bring an end to awful situations such as this from ever occurring again.
Not to mention, in the future when baby Gammy grows up he would also be affected mentally, emotionally and most likely be very unstable as well due to his down-syndrome, as well as having to hear and accept that he was abandoned by his biologicals parents. Not only did this issue cause a racket as to awareness for this poor child but this issue is also seen as child “I think that is going down the wrong path as a society if children become a commodity that you can buy.” Another concerning issue involves the surrogate mothers, who are often living in developing countries with circumstances that are extremely harsh and very much unethical. The poor, illiterate women of rural backgrounds are often persuaded in such deals by their spouse or middlemen for earning easy money. These women often have no right nor better options with regards to their own body and life. In India, there is no provision of psychological screening or legal counselling and often after recruitment by commercial agencies, these women are shifted into hostels for the whole duration of pregnancy on the excuse of taking antenatal care.
The real motive is to guard them and to avoid any social stigma of being outcast by their community. These women spend the whole tenure of pregnancy worrying about their household and children. Only being able to see their family once a week on Sundays. The worst part is that in cases of unfavourable outcome of pregnancy, they are unlikely to be paid, and there is no provision of insurance or post-pregnancy medical and psychiatric support for them. Rich career women who do not want to take the trouble of carrying their own pregnancy are resorting to hiring surrogate mothers. There are a number of moral and ethical issues regarding surrogacy, which has become more of a commercial racket, and there is an urgent need for framing and implementation of laws for the parents and the surrogate mother.
Lastly, as a poor surrogate mother gets very much needed money, an infertile couple gets their long-desired biologically related baby and the country earns foreign currency, but the real picture reveals the bitter truth. Due to lack of proper legislation, both surrogate mothers and intended parents are somehow exploited and the profit is earned by middlemen and commercial agencies. There is no transparency in the whole system, and the chance of getting involved in legal problems is there due to unpredictable regulations governing surrogacy in India. Some people may argue that surrogacy benefits a number of individuals such as parents, surrogates and the agencies who organise such arrangements.
This is NOT the case. As previously stated, not all the third word women benefit adequately and furthermore commercial surrogacy involves the marketing of babies as commodities, to be bought and sold in a commercial transaction. This may have negative psychological consequences for the child in later life. The consequences of being treated as a commodity are still not known so it is unreasonable to take such a risk. Having everyone believe that women in India and other developing countries are being paid by carrying and delivering the baby is purely untruthful and deceiving towards society, deep down it’s the organisations that get all the benefit and profit.
There are incidences where the child given to couple after surrogacy is not genetically related to them and in turn, is disowned by the intended parent and has to spend his life in an orphanage.