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Gestational Carriersnet - doesn't quite have the same ring to it

(42 Posts)
Bittermints Tue 15-Jan-19 20:35:38

Don't know which US state this is but clearly the legislature had a bulk delivery of KoolAid.

NothingOnTellyAgain Thu 17-Jan-19 13:46:02

Yes

This is kind of a big deal for me bit of a revelation

The whole conversation and words around this are incomplete for females. For how it works with the baby and the woman growing it and so on.

Instinctively we know that a woman who grows and births a baby is not entirely unconnected to it, but the language is not there. I don't know about research into this stuff. The parts that make the press are all about bad women doing it wrong ie stress alcohol smoking etc

MagicMix Thu 17-Jan-19 13:15:12

misogyny says the woman who is pregnant is a vessel. Disconnected from what grows inside her.

Yes, it's absurd. Anyone who thinks a baby is born without having already formed a deep bond with the mother is in denial (even in cases where the woman herself does not immediately feel bonded). Newborn babies know their mothers and do not actually have any sense of themselves as separate to their mothers. A newborn baby actually doesn't care about DNA (though I definitely agree that it is important for children to know their genetic origins as they get older) and if you could ask them 'Who is your mother?' we all know what the answer would be.

NothingOnTellyAgain Thu 17-Jan-19 13:03:12

I mean to say

The language and view is very male, dna is all, misogyny says the woman who is pregnant is a vessel. Disconnected from what grows inside her. Unless of course she is Bad and smokes or something. But other than BAD there is no consideration of the interconnection, the exchange and sharing, what it might mean.

I've only just started thinking about this but it feels important in this conversation. Where a woman who grows and births a baby is being pushed as nothing to do with it.

NothingOnTellyAgain Thu 17-Jan-19 12:59:42

The other point here about dna being be all and end all

When you're pregnant the baby shares your blood, what you eat. It hears your voice and is attuned to the cadence of your heartbeat which to its undeveloped mind will be a constant. The woman's moods, what she does has an effect. Stress we know about. What about endorphins from exercise, joy?

EJennings Wed 16-Jan-19 19:39:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 16-Jan-19 19:04:44

The issue here is the language (or lack of it) and the fairly complicated context with women's reproductive rights being constantly under attack by people who see us as vessels, and the constant devaluation of pregnancy.labour , bf, childbirth, child rearing.

So all of this is probably an issue due to the patriarchal context of societies all over the world.

If our reproductive labour was not seen as a threat to men, or a service to be utilised, or a thing to be minimised, all of that sort of stuff, we would be able to describe and deal with these newish situations a lot more easily.

There is a drive to minimise what women are doing when they grow and birth babies and then hand them over, in most of the animal world removing a baby from its mother is recognised as being awful, unnatural, a no-no. Humans know this too. That giving birth to a baby and then handing it over is a pretty fuckign massive deal. In order to sanitise and deflect from this, words need to be found that obfuscate teh situation. Made me think of "friendly fire" and "collateral damage" then, also both from our USA friends.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 17:40:16

Er.. sorry, forgot what I was going to say there.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 17:38:23

Neither am I, in reality... just something

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 17:22:16

Not keen on that either tbh. Nature requires male and female for a reason - I'm not massively keen on cutting either out of the process.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 17:12:45

* I wouldn't want to tell a woman raising a child that she's a surrogate mother. In all meaningful ways to the child, the person who is there everyday* is* mum.*
It's just that when kids get older, they need to know where they came from and genetic history becomes important

Yes, of course.
A child can have one or several mothers, all completely deserving of that title in their particular vital role.

Whereas 'father' might quite feasibly become optional...grin
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/10/11/needs-men-first-mammal-born-same-sex-female-parents-gene-editing/

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 16:51:20

I wouldn't want to tell a woman raising a child that she's a surrogate mother. In all meaningful ways to the child, the person who is there everyday is mum.
It's just that when kids get older, they need to know where they came from and genetic history becomes important.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 16:48:46

* For women it is twofold, the DNA thing is one and the carrying birthing is another.*

Threefold, I'd have said; the post-birth 'mothering' too.

* If we need a term for a surrogate mother what’s wrong with ‘surrogate mother’?*

Not a lot; 'gestational' might be a bit clearer. 'Surrogate' (with its usual meaning of 'a substitute, especially a person deputizing for another in a specific role or office.') could refer to someone parenting the child post-birth.

AspieAndProud Wed 16-Jan-19 16:42:25

If we need a term for a surrogate mother what’s wrong with ‘surrogate mother’?

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 16:24:27

I'm not sure quite how I feel about a child having no actual mother. On the one hand I think 2 dad's can raise a child just as well as a woman and the most important thing is that the child has a loving home with parents who want them. OTOH, I am uncomfortable about children not knowing where they come from, with a donor egg and another woman carrying the baby, there is no woman who actually feels that she is that child's mother. And I think that may have implications for the child. Imo everyone is entitled to their genetic information, to know who their mother and father are. Some gay men are denying their children this knowledge, even about which of them is the genetic father.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 16-Jan-19 16:17:40

The DNA being the be all and end all is a very masculine view I think, as that is their only input, and of course throughout history this has been um a tad of an issue as far as they are concerned.

For women it is twofold, the DNA thing is one and the carrying birthing is another.

Our language seems to struggle with this, probably as it's very male centric.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 16:16:27

With surrogacy, it's not uncommon to have a gestational mother (the surrogate), a genetic mother(an egg donor) and then the - what shall we say? - parental mother, the one who will nurture the child. Note however that in quite a lot of surrocacy cases the latter is not present - gay dads.

I can't think of a single compelling reason not to use the word 'mother', with appropriate qualifiers as required, for all of the women involved.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 16:09:38

Wet adoption, the adoptive mother has chosen to legally, emotionally and financially to become a child's parent. They do still have a genetic/biological/birth mother.
Motherhood via donor eggs is a tricky one for me. That child still has a genetic mother who isn't the one who gave birth. But I would not tell a woman who had donor eggs that she wasn't her child's mother, since the child exists because of her as much as the genetic parent and she is the one loving and raising that child.
But DNA is important. It influences our lives in ways which may be more important than anything else (predisposition to certain health conditions etc).

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 16:08:21

'Mother' is a capacious word, there's no reason at all to exclude any of the women involved in creating and nurturing a child. Where necessary for clarity (in particular for legal reasons) it's not that hard to come up with modifiers. Genetic/gestational ; biological or birth/adoptive/foster.

https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/mother

EJennings Wed 16-Jan-19 16:06:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 16:00:39

Yes, I do agree that 'genetically' is probably a better term than 'biologically' - I have been using them as interchangeable terms.

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 16-Jan-19 15:59:14

"I've thought about it since then and I do still think that the person whose DNA made the baby, is the mother"

Ah - reread.

If its about DNA where does that leave adoptive mum s and mums through donor eggs

NothingOnTellyAgain Wed 16-Jan-19 15:58:20

" I've thought about it since then and I do still think that the person whose DNA made the baby, is the mother. If you are carrying a baby which isn't biologically yours and that you intend to hand over at birth, you are a gestational carrier and not a mother."

Is it the handing over the baby or the DNA which makes this differential for you?

I'm interested becasue a woman who has a baby through donor egg is a mother and a woman who has a baby using her own eggs that she then gives up is also a mother, or isn't she?

Gestational carrier is a fucking awful term, agreed. It utterly invisibilises the facts / risks / everything about what these women are doing.

Is the baby still called a baby or is it a gestational product?
It's always women who get their words taken / changed / distanced.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Wed 16-Jan-19 15:58:02

I would happily use genetic or gestational mother instead, despite believing that a surrogate isn't really the mother unless using her own eggs. I wouldn't deliberately cause offensive to a woman who had done this amazing thing for another person and who found the term dehumanising. But I do think that 'carrier' might not have originated as a term to reduce womens role or be dehumanising, more that we talk about carrying babies and it evolved from there.
But I can see how, in these times where it seems celebrities are choosing not to carry their own babies and surrogacy has become commercialised more than it being an act of altruism, that the term could minimise the essential role of the woman physically having the baby. There is a lot of exploitation out there and that is the real issue for me.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Jan-19 15:31:47

* I've had my arse handed to me before, for using the term gestational carrier on MN. I've thought about it since then and I do still think that the person whose DNA made the baby, is the mother.*

Why not use the terms 'genetic mother' and 'gestational mother', then, to make the distinction without being dehumanising?

A newborn baby isn't purely the result of its genes, there are developmental factors as well - even 'identical' twins can have differences. The baby is, in part, 'biologically' the gestational mother's.

Bluestitch Wed 16-Jan-19 15:07:41

Gestational carrier is an awful term, designed to commodify women and their bodies and reduce the role of women in reproduction to the same as men, gamete supply. The woman who grew and birthed the child is the biological mother, if a different egg is used they are the genetic mother. Pretending a woman is not the mother of the baby she grew with her body, created a symbiotic relationship with, is absurd. The push to reduce women to 'carriers' is so that the exploitation and risk potentially involved with surrogacy can be ignored. After all, they are just 'carriers', not mothers, not even women.

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