The debate over the issue of gestational surrogacy (an euphemistic term that attempts to disguise the reality of a woman who offers to carry a pregnancy in exchange for money) is on in the political and social arena (see HERE).
The strongest supporters of the legalisation of “wombs for rent” are LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) groups, against certain feminist movements that openly oppose it because they consider it a violation of the dignity of women, and family advocacy groups, who classify it as an attack on the family, the unity of marriage, motherhood, women and the child itself.
It seems, however, that the determination of the LGBTI groups, and the gender ideology that sustains them, is winning everyone over in the attempt to legalise this practice, with the acquiescence of some political parties. Incidentally, the proposed legalisation of this form of pregnancy, only in the case that there is no financial payment, is naive and unrealistic. In countries where this option has been proposed, the virtual absence of women who agree to altruistically carry a pregnancy continues to push those who seek this option towards countries in which its legalisation does entail a payment for the “service”.
Scientific evidence has clearly established the importance of the maternal-foetal relationship in the evolution and development of the foetus (see HERE), and in the establishment of attachment bonds between mother and child that will be vital in its post-natal development.
Biological “incubation” dehumanises the woman and her child
The concept of pregnancy as if it were a mere biological “incubation”, an aseptic nutrition process, with no more links between mother and child than biological development, is a serious scientific and anthropological error that dehumanises the woman and her child, devaluing the dignity that both possess as human beings.
Child has the right to a father and a mother
To become pregnant, knowingly renouncing subsequent motherhood, is unnatural. It is also damaging for the surrogate, who in many cases changes her mind after the pregnancy, claiming motherhood of the child. Furthermore, it is an attack on the dignity of the child, who has the right to a father and a mother, who he wishes to know, and who should love and care for him.
The European Union condemns the practice of surrogacy
It is not just us who say so, though. On 30 November 2015, the Plenary Session of the European Parliament, in their Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World and the European Union’s policy on the matter, stated that it: “Condemns the practice of surrogacy, which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and reproductive functions are used as a commodity. It also “considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or another gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments.”
If it seems to harm so many as to withstand so much pressure towards legalisation, who actually benefits? Well, basically, those who consider parenthood as a right, for personal benefit, oppressing all other rights of those affected in the fulfilment of their desires. These include, men and women who, although single, demand parenthood;
- heterosexual couples with sterility problems or simply hedonism, which makes them avoid the “inconveniences” of a pregnancy; and
- gay couples or
- couples in which one of the members is transsexual, whose sexual relationships are by their very nature sterile.
However, it is the latter (represented by LGBTI collectives) who seem to be the protagonists of the ideological and media pressure in pursuit of its legalisation, very sensitive to the desire for parenthood, and very belligerent in its defence, although not so much so as regards the consequences of their decision for the mother and her child. First, because it commodifies the surrogate mother’s body, and fractures her person due to the split involved in carrying a child that she has decided to abandon, having to go against the impulse of giving and intimacy that is naturally established between a mother and her child. Second, because the child is defenceless against a decision that deprives him of the right to know and be loved and cared for by the mother who gave birth to him, and to be carried by a loved one.
Pregnant mother “sold” her son to another person
Not everyone who argues the right to freedom in their demands truly defends it. Paying a woman to carry a child and then renounce it after its birth, for money, hardly seems to represents a major advance in the achievement of women’s rights. Nor do we contribute to respect for the rights of the child, whose pregnant mother “sold” him to another person. This, though, is the most serious, because it is about the right to be loved for oneself, by the person who conceived, carried, birthed and nurtured him, who should have done it because they loved him, because he is worthy and deserves to be treated as a person, and not as an object of satisfaction of so-called parenting rights that must be achieved at all costs, unfortunately at the expense of poor women and defenceless children.
Julio Tudela Pharm. PhD
Catholic University of Valencia