The renting of wombs, known as surrogacy, is akin to prostitution and the exploitation done to women often go unrecognized by the public, campaigners opposed to the practice say.
“A surrogate pregnancy is, naturally, a high-risk pregnancy,” as a result of all of the medical technologies and drugs needed to make one happen, said Jennifer Lahl in her remarks at the Heritage Foundation Monday during a panel on the casualties of surrogacy.
Yet surrogacy is almost always heralded as a beautiful, wonderful thing, she said, glamorized in the media by Hollywood celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Kim Kardashian. The reality of surrogacy, however, is a multitude of health risks and psychological and medical harms.
Lahl is the founder of the California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture and an advocate for women who have been exploited in commercially contracted pregnancies, which are often transnational.
Exploitation and abuse of women who agree to be surrogates receive no critical attention in media outlets or by government bodies, she said, even when horrors such as death happen.
Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and the founder of the San Francisco-based Prostitution Research & Education, noted that several parallels exist between prostitution and surrogacy.
“In surrogacy, a woman’s self-definition as altruistic and nurturing is exploited for the benefit of others. This is codified in the notion of the contented breeder.”
Likewise, in prostitution, she continued, a woman’s self-definition is similarly exploited and is codified in the idea of a “happy hooker.”
But both prostitution and surrogacy are sexist institutions where women are bought for either sexual pleasure or reproduction, she stressed.
“Women are seen as objects in the marketplace while at the same time that reality is denied and she is said to have made ‘a choice’ to sell her ‘services,’ not her body.”
What is also normalized in prostitution and surrogacy is dissociation and disconnection from the body, Farley pointed out, drawing upon her background in psychology.
“A split between mind and body is really a necessary part of survival in both situations. An intimate part of a woman’s self, her autonomous sexuality, or her intimate connection with a child in a womb are separated from the rest of her being.”
Such is the message women who are paid to rent out their uteruses internalize, and the grief symptoms the birth mothers experience when they give up the child to the intended parents are immense, she noted.
Full story at Christian Post.