Anyone who is truly pro-life must oppose the baby-selling practice of gestational surrogacy arrangements
December 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – This month, two women from two different states contacted our office because the “intended parents” were now demanding that the women abort the “defective” children they were carrying as part of a surrogacy arrangement. One woman succumbed to the pressure, killing triplets. The other woman miscarried, undoubtedly, in part, because of the unrelenting stress being placed upon her. Her stillborn twin babies were hugging each other. This is the untold underside of the inherently immoral but deceptively alluring practice of “gestational surrogacy.”
Many staunchly pro-life people see only beautiful babies, innocent and precious. They want to celebrate the gift of life, and so they casually embrace surrogacy. Those treasured babies, however, should not be created through this abhorrent practice.
There are many reasons to oppose the practice of surrogacy – including its innate exploitation of women and purposeful destruction of the sanctity of the mother-child relationship – but it should be especially morally repugnant to those who are pro-life.
Here are three reasons why every pro-life person must be anti-surrogacy:
- surrogacy affirms that children are disposable;
- most of the embryos created are destroyed; and
- surrogacy contracts contain provisions making abortion mandatory.
First, and most obviously, surrogacy is the manufacture of children to be sold. Although the industry speaks in terms of “renting a womb” or “gestational services,” it is manifest that the purchaser is buying a child, because that is the very object of the contract. Clearly, the purchasing party would not pay a woman for the use of her womb if they were not given exclusive ownership of a baby at the end. When we reduce children into products, we cheapen their value and dehumanize the child. This is the very antithesis of the pro-life dogma of the intrinsic dignity and value of every person. Once created for sale, they can be destroyed at the purchaser’s whim. And that is exactly what is happening.
Second, most of the embryos created by surrogacy arrangements will not be allowed to live. In so-called “traditional surrogacy” the mother who carries the child is also genetically related to the child, because she provides the egg to be fertilized. In so-called “gestational surrogacy,” in contrast, the mother who carries the child has no genetic relationship with the child because the fertilized eggs transferred into her uterus are from an anonymous donor. To improve the chances of contract enforceability, the surrogacy industry favors the use of anonymous egg donors. Therefore, all “gestational surrogacy” arrangements require the use of IVF, where the egg and sperm are joined in a laboratory to create a living human being for transfer into another woman’s uterus.
Although IVF can be done so that all fertilized eggs will be used, most surrogacy participants create multiple embryos which will be destroyed or indefinitely frozen (cryopreserved). It is not uncommon for IVF arrangements to involve the creation of 10-20 embryos, where only 2-3 are used. Because of these practices, hundreds of thousands of embryos are in a state of suspended animation. Countless more have simply been killed.
Third, nearly all surrogacy contracts contain “selective reduction” provisions that allow the purchaser of the child to demand that the mother have an abortion. Here’s an example of how it works. The purchaser creates 15 embryos, which are then screened for genetic anomalies and selected by gender. To ensure that at least one embryo successfully implants (the fail rate can be as high as 50% in women under age 35), two or three of the desired embryos are transferred into the mother’s uterus. If all three embryos implant, triplets would be born, so a purchaser who wants only twins will demand that one child is aborted. These clauses, although not legally enforceable, are used to mislead and pressure vulnerable mothers to have abortions – whether they want one or not.
Surrogacy manufactures children for sale, creates human beings for intentional destruction, and permits children to live only at the expediency of their purchasers. It will, if left undeterred, irrevocably alter human civilization to the detriment of women, children, and the culture at large.
Surrogacy is not “giving the gift of life” – it is part of the culture of death.
Joseph R. Zakhary is an attorney at The Cassidy Law Firm in Shrewsbury, NJ which specializes in public interest litigation and is considered among the leading authorities on surrogacy and abortion law.