Womb rental likened to prostitution

Founder of California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture says surrogacy is glamorized in the media but in reality is another form of exploiting women

(Photo: Unsplash/Michalina)

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.

Comments

  1. What is the Church”s official position on surrogacy? Or is it a matter of neither black or white, but frequently shades of grey?

    • Anonymous says

      We are not permitted to do IVF which is how surrogacy is done.

    • Anonymous says

      It is immoral. “Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families.”
      Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day
      Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Cardinal Ratzinger prefect

  2. bohemond says

    Signs of dead culture

  3. Anonymous says

    I have read some very sad cases, of surrogate mothers being exploited cruelly, if the “baby buyer” does not want the child after birth, due to illnesses or deformities–or an unwanted sex— and refuses to pay the woman, and won’t come to get the baby. Surrogate motherhood should be outlawed! Our Church forbids IVF and forbids surrogacy.

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