Perhaps you have seen one of the surrogacy puff-pieces already: a woman agrees to “give the gift of life to others” who are unable (or unwilling) to bear their own child, by carrying a child formed from a (sometimes very expensive) “donated” egg that has been fertilised in vitro by the sperm of one of the intended parents. This is gestational surrogacy – the most common form of the practice today. The surface picture presented is normally entirely positive and uncritical and it is either a contribution to mindless celebrity news, or else, in the case of gay parents, the trumpeting of another victory for “LGBT+ rights”. A glossy “happy families” portrait.
Or perhaps you have read one of the more recent LGBT+ media accounts about gay men having children via surrogacy, where the word “surrogacy” is banished from the page, together with any reference to the involvement of a woman in the process somewhere. The Ministry of Alphabetical Truth seems to like creating the illusion of men not needing women in order to produce children. Motherhood is erased, and perhaps we are to believe that it is replaced by obliging rainbow storks. Not a woman in sight.
Big Fertility, a multi-billion-dollar global industry, has been given a shot in the arm by the rainbow-washing of the LGBT+ lobby: a lobby that promotes “fertility equality” for gay men, (or perhaps the usual description these days is “LGBT+ men”, given the colonisation of the LGB identity by extreme gender ideology activists). However, so-called “fertility equality” comes at the cost of the rights and equality of women and children. Not only does surrogacy instrumentalise women and babies in a dehumanising way: it is also a physically dangerous process that can lead to serious illness, psychological trauma and death.
Apart from the potentially traumatic separation of a baby from her mother at birth, there is also the risk of “genealogical bewilderment”, where the child may feel a sense of abandonment and of not being properly anchored in the world as a result of not knowing the identity of one or both of her genetic parents, or of her birth mother. There is the challenge of coming to terms with having started life as a purchasable commodity, and of not knowing whether the mother who bore her is in need of help, or whether she had been compelled by financial circumstances or a coercive man to enter into the surrogacy arrangement that resulted in the child’s very existence. That can be a great deal for a child to process, and a great burden.
Gary Powell is a gay man and has been active in gay politics since 1980. He is the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.