The New Prostitution: Surrogate Pregnancy

The New Prostitution: Surrogate Pregnancy June 10, 2013

I’m going to be writing about the “new” prostitution a lot in the months ahead. One of these new ways to objectify and exploit women is commercial surrogate pregnancy.

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, is a stalwart battler for women’s human rights in the face of the new forms of dehumanization and exploitation that medical technology has placed in the hands of doctors. She has fought a hard and often futile battle against a money-hungry medical establishment which supports doctors in exploiting and harming their patients for monetary gain.

This technology is marketed as a solution for desperate families who can’t have children. In truth, what we have is the buying and selling of women and babies over the internet in what can only be described as a mass market for a new and virulent form of prostitution. The purchasers are wealthy people, including many powerful celebrities, who don’t want to be bothered with having children themselves, and homosexuals, especially gay men.

In  my opinion, one reason this misogynist abuse of women has been allowed to flourish is that the churches are, even now, tone deaf about women’s human rights. They focus on the lives of the embryos that are mass produced by harvested eggs without considering that the women whose bodies are being farmed, and whose health and dignity as human being is being comprised, are also human beings whose human rights as well as their health and well-being are compromised by this practice.

In truth, egg harvesting and surrogacy is a one-two punch of human rights violations. It reduces both the babies and the women to the level of commodities to be bought and sold with no regard for their well-being.

It comes as no surprise to me that a lawmaker in Washington DC wants to swing the doors wide open on the abuse of women and children with this egregious practice. The lawmaker is Councilman David Catania and he says he does not expect any serious opposition since all he’s doing is “remedying … an imperfection in the law.”


Oklahoma City Ads for Buying Women’s Bodies to Use as Surrogates. 

I just love the casual way people who are tone deaf to human rights, especially as they apply to women, decide that buying and selling women, using their bodies like appliances, and farming them like they were animals is not only an A-OK thing to do, it’s all for the greater good. Misogyny is truly a wonderment, isn’t it?

From National Catholic Register:

Surrogate Pregnancy Bill in D.C. Draws Criticism (725)

Women and children are exploited through this popular ‘rent-a-womb’ practice, Jennifer Lahl charges.

WASHINGTON — A lack of information about the dangers of surrogate pregnancy could soon allow the

practice to become legal in Washington, D.C., warned the founder of one bioethics organization.

“These issues aren’t on anyone’s radar,” said Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture. “By and large, people have accepted third-party reproduction. It’s not seen as controversial … because people are woefully misinformed.”

Lahl told Catholic News Agency that the average person sees nothing wrong with surrogacy, which is the practice of a woman carrying and delivering a baby for someone else. This could explain the lack of opposition to a new bill in the nation’s capital, she said.

Legislation introduced June 3 by D.C. Councilman David Catania would legalize surrogacy in the District. If passed, it would wipe away current local legislation prohibiting surrogacy contracts, which carry penalties of up to $10,000 in fines or a year in jail.

“I don’t expect there to be any significant opposition,” Catania told the Washington Examiner. “This is about remedying what I believe to be an imperfection in our law.”

Lahl, who worked as a pediatric nurse for 20 years, said most people are unaware of the negative repercussions of surrogacy. She noted that concerns with legalized surrogacy include a lack of research in the field and a failure to consider the impact on the child and the woman whose womb is being “rented.”

One of the biggest concerns, she warned, is that the relationship between a mother and a child in her womb is ignored.

“So much is going on in that womb,” Lahl explained. “The surrogate mom and child will be linked genetically, and there’s so much we’re learning about genetic diseases and how much the womb plays into that child’s health.”

The connection is more than simply physical, she continued.

“Newborns know one thing — they know who their mother is,” she said. “I’ve known of mothers who sing to their children in the womb or read them books. What happens when you tell a mother to intentionally not bond with a child in their womb?”

California lawyer Stephanie Caballero handles surrogacy cases and says 30% of her clients are homosexual. She told the Washington Examiner that, with proper screening, money is not the only reason women decide to become surrogates.

“The first reason is because they want to help someone,” she said. “They do it [in part] because they love being pregnant.”

However, as part of a new documentary for the Center for Bioethics and Culture, Lahl has interviewed numerous women who were surrogate mothers. By and large, she said, surrogate women “are women who have financial need — wealthy women are going to be buying the surrogacy contract.”

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14 responses to “The New Prostitution: Surrogate Pregnancy”

  1. I didn’t read everything above, but in some way is this any different than men donating sperm? Some men have helped pay their way thru college selling their sperm. My son used to give blood to make some money, but he said he could never sell his sperm, because he didn’t want to father any children until he was married to the mother. Guess women get their eggs harvested for the same reason, money. Women do not have to be surrogates—or allow their eggs to be harvested, any more than men have to sell their sperm. No laws that I know of (in this country, USA, forces women to do anything with their body they choose not to do. Would I have my eggs harvested or surrogate for someone? No, but that is my choice. (My eggs are all dead by now anyhow!)

  2. I agree about the gross human rights violations of women part but am not in total agreement for the reasons cited. We definitely need laws to protect all aspects of surrogacy including the women and the IVF children. Absence of laws inadvertently places innocent, voiceless IVF children in LEGAL LIMBO. What is referred to as “purchasers” in the article is not entirely accurate. The list is much longer than the one cited here. What we as a society as a whole are missing is that there should be LAWS requiring counseling and education of the donors and surrogates and the intended parents about IVF. Simply presenting a rosy picture of come with money, leave with baby is a disservice to ALL except the clinic.

  3. So … you think carrying a baby for nine months, going through labor, delivery where you will be ripped and sewn, then going through postpartum with swollen engorged breasts and hormone upheaval, not to mention bleeding and loss of mensus for two or three months is the same as masturbating in a cup?

  4. There should be laws requiring doctors not to do procedures that harm their patients and do them no medical good for money. Doctors who participate in this should lose their license.

    What you are talking about is regulating the buying and selling of human beings, which is the same as regulating the slave trade or prostitution. We need laws that penalize doctors who do this, just like we need to start enforcing laws that penalize pimps.

    We live a society that not only turns women and children in to commodities — things — to be bought and sold, but it honors and lionizes those who buy and sell them.

    Women are human beings. The deal with the devil that you suggest codifies the abrogation of their humanity.

  5. Having carried 2 babies for 9 months, delivering one as a breech (no C-section), I wouldn’t volunteer to carry for someone else. All in all, I had easy pregnancies but that still wouldn’t cause me to carry and then give the baby up. All I’m saying is that a woman has a CHOICE, as to whether she wishes to do that. Of course pregnancy is not the same as “masturbating in a cup” . That doesn’t take 9 months—sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂 However I think a woman makes more money than a man does and also, of course, has more chances for problems.

  6. Once we started farming Mother Earth, the practice of agricultural civilization resulted in the farming-out of Mother’s Children.

    Even we men are veritable prostitutes, farming out our bodies and minds to offices and factories.

    I do think you’ve identified a problem that needs addressed legally to prevent abuses. It’s always a struggle to make this 10,000 year old system to be least-abusive.

  7. I’ve been interested by the number of comments I’ve gotten (most of which didn’t make it on to this board) seeking to justify or find a way to preserve this evil abuse of women. Your interesting and rather poetic take on prostitution is nonsense. I’ll talk about the reasons why in further posts.

  8. I’m not seeking to preserve the practice.

    I’m putting the practice of farming-out—prostituting—anything into its proper context: The link between abusing the soil (agriculture) and abusing women is well-established, and reflected in the Genesis 3:16-19 narrative.

    My opinion is informed by such texts by the attorney Jim Mason in his An Unnatural Order: Roots of Our Destruction of Nature (Lantern, 2005) and anthropologist Spencer Wells in his Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization (Random House, 2010,) two readable books that aggregate a wealth of evidence.

    Like you, Rebecca, I’d like to see it stop; however, it is going to be as difficult to legislate away as destructive farming practices, many of which are still going on today.

    I hope you can find an effective legislative strategy to at least stem the worst of abuses, and again, I compliment you on identifying the problem.

  9. Next time you decide to write an article about surrogates, perhaps it would help if you had a conversation with one. My wife would be more than happy to talk with you about her experience. Let me know.

  10. Logan, I don’t know your circumstance, so I want to place a caveat before my response. There are women who chose to be a surrogate WITHOUT PAY for someone they love. Then, there is an industry run by medical exploiters who buy and sell women and children as if they were commodities. You did not make clear which category your wife falls into.

    I am not usually this blunt with people, but then I ordinarily would not allow someone who profits from selling another person to post on this blog. This is an evil practice.

    Here’s my point, plain and simple: If your wife is making money selling her body, do you know what that makes you?

    If you fall into the category of profiting from your wife being used as part of this industry of exploitation, destruction of the value of human beings, and medical prostituting of patients by exploitative doctors, you need to man up Logan.

  11. Empowered women make choices for their lives which may include helping others and helping their own families. I said “empowered” not “exploited”. When you start to understand the power of confident women in our society you can stop seeing them as weak and taken advantage of. Most couples seeking a surrogate or Gestational Carrier are not wealthy and most Surrogates and Gestational Carriers are not desperate for money. That is a misconception that the media has portrayed and makes others look ignorant for believing.