New feminist campaign "Stop Surrogacy Now"

(377 Posts)
RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 10:56:47

A new feminist campaign has been set up against the commodification of babies and women's wombs for rent - Stop Surrogacy Now. Looks like an important cause to get behind. From Stop Surrogacy Now's home page:

Surrogacy is the social practice where a woman is ‘used’ for her body, her fertility and reproductive capacity to grow and birth a baby without the intention of being a mother to that child and giving that baby away, or ‘gifting’ that child to ‘Intended Parents’.
We see Surrogacy is the sale of a child where any profit is made. No amount of pretending its ‘gestational service’ changes the reality. Commissioning parents want a baby not a service, the baby is the ‘end product’.
Surrogacy as a practice developed from the demand of wealthy, infertile people to have exclusive parenthood of a biological child.
1) exploiting women as baby making machines does not advance women’s rights
2) The child’s right to have a relationship with all its parents are disregarded
3) It perpetuates that same old structural injustice where poor/ vulnerable women are used for the benefit of the wealthy – the power imbalance in surrogacy is a key argument
‘Using a surrogate’ means replacing the only mother a child has ever known.
“People who seek a surrogate have a very specific desire…it is not only a desire to raise a child, but also a demand that the mother be absent.” ~ Kajsa Ekis Ekman “Being and Being Bought”

This is the website:

https://stopsurrogacynowuk.org/2021/04/22/welcome-to-stop-surrogacy-now-uk/

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Helleofabore Thu 22-Apr-21 11:08:52

Great to see more awareness about the issues surrounding surrogacy being raised. It is such an important topic and Covid has really highlighted some of the very real and significant issues of any type of surrogacy. Commercial particularly, but also altruistic.

Neither are without potential significant negative impacts which are often minimised or ignored.

And also ignored is the impact on the child itself upon discovering their conception and birth.

RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 11:12:43

I have real concerns that the media narrative on making things easier for parents "like the US" is a fast track route to a much rougher deal for women and babies. Any process that doesn't put the welfare of the birth mother and child front and centre isn't humane. The woman isn't merely a vessel and the child isn't an off the shelf product.

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Helleofabore Thu 22-Apr-21 11:16:02

The woman isn't merely a vessel and the child isn't an off the shelf product.

Yes. This needs to be shouted loudly for the people in the back!!

Sophoclesthefox Thu 22-Apr-21 11:16:42

I was talking about this with a friend the other day, and there was just so much about it that hadn’t even occurred to her. I asked “I wonder what the surrogate babies think when they grow up, how do they feel about how they arrived in the world”, and she’d never thought of that.

I think people do just see the headlines of “wonderful altruism” and don’t think about when it goes wrong, or the inherent power imbalance, never mind getting into the philosophical weeds of the exploitation of female reproductive labour, or whether babies can be commodities sad

The law commission doesn’t even seem to have engaged at all with the issues. And all the opposition is being characterised as “oh, you can’t ban it, so what can you do?”. More conversation definitely needed.

OhHolyJesus Thu 22-Apr-21 11:26:46

This is great news, how amazing to see another women-led org form. I'm losing count now...

I make no secret of my strong interest in surrogacy, I have noticed a very pro-surrogacy agenda from mainstream media and only a small handful of critical articles, mainly from the Daily Mail.

"Julie Loving served as a surrogate for her Chicago-based daughter Breanna Lockwood, 30, who struggled with infertility. Last March, they announced that Julie was carrying Breanna and her husband Aaron's biological child, and on November 2, she gave birth to Briar.

Juliette, with a mix of hormones and the trauma of an unexpected delivery, Julie was left feeling 'sad' and would spend nights afterward crying and full of fear. Breanna noted that it wasn't about not getting to keep the baby, but things got 'rough' and *Julie had to stop pumping breast milk*"

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9496597/Surrogate-52-gave-birth-granddaughter-reveals-suffered-postpartum-anxiety.html

I'm thrilled to see someone take this on from the Uk perspective, all the threads here about the law commission's plans do need challenging. I read a lot about commercial surrogacy from around the world and it's really depressing to think we could replicate those stories here.

ArabellaScott Thu 22-Apr-21 11:27:03

Excellent, thanks for sharing, OP. It's a huge subject, and one that seems to have arrived with our suggested responses to it ready-formed.

I fully agree that more discussion, research and consideration is urgently needed.

So many horrifying stories lately - from the babies stuck in hospitals during Covid, to the women in China forced to carry babies against their will, to the disabled girl that was disowned by her erstwhile parents, to the post yesterday about the man with a history of sex abuse claiming a surrogate baby. I am aghast that this is all apparently brushed aside in favour of the 'awwww so selfless' narrative we see so often in the press.

Unicornish Thu 22-Apr-21 11:34:24

I'm very glad to see this. I really liked the point that commissioning parents want a baby, not a service. That really makes it plain that surrogacy is primarily about the buying and selling of human babies.

Ereshkigalangcleg Thu 22-Apr-21 11:36:08

Glad to see this, I've been concerned by the media agenda around surrogacy.

Maggiesfarm Thu 22-Apr-21 11:40:23

Surrogacy as a practice developed from the demand of wealthy, infertile people to have exclusive parenthood of a biological child

That's not always the case. There are people who are close relatives or friends of a couple who are prepared to carry a child for them, if the mother cannot do it herself.

I don't like the idea of surrogacy (or artificial insemination by donor come to that), but I do feel there are some exceptions with surrogacy, as I outlined above.

Helleofabore Thu 22-Apr-21 11:40:37

The complete lack of regulation around who can 'use ' a surrogate is extraordinary. That a couple, where the man who was convicted of sex crimes against children, can use a surrogate service in another country and then leave a baby who has a learning disability and take just its twin is outrageous.

But to know that it happens still is heart breaking.

Helleofabore Thu 22-Apr-21 11:43:22

I don't like the idea of surrogacy (or artificial insemination by donor come to that), but I do feel there are some exceptions with surrogacy, as I outlined above.

Sadly, when things go wrong within the pregnancy they will still go wrong and may cause death in the very worst cases, but still may be life limiting or shortening. It is very hard to know what degree of coercion there is or even if it is done in love, the ramifications of it going wrong are horrendous and need to be planned for.

I am not sure it can ever be clear cut.

OhHolyJesus Thu 22-Apr-21 11:50:11

I agree @Maggiesfarm, I think there are many women who are, or who say they are, happy with their decision to have a baby for a family member. We hear a lot about them, though so much of it is just at surface level if you ask me.

The mother in the DM article appears to have her post natal depression blamed on hormones and breastfeeding, she might be suffering from some kind of grief for all we know, or 'surrogacy regret' is the term used in this new blog.

You might be interested to read this story of 'altruistic' surrogacy in a family.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4223469-Altruistic-Surrogacy-in-a-family-and-Medical-Negligence-in-Belgium

Helleofabore Thu 22-Apr-21 12:00:48

Those webinars that are linked are great!

Thanks for posting the link Rabbit, I hope to see them pop up elsewhere on social media soon.

Maggiesfarm Thu 22-Apr-21 12:06:01

OhHolyJesus

I agree *@Maggiesfarm*, I think there are many women who are, or who say they are, happy with their decision to have a baby for a family member. We hear a lot about them, though so much of it is just at surface level if you ask me.

The mother in the DM article appears to have her post natal depression blamed on hormones and breastfeeding, she might be suffering from some kind of grief for all we know, or 'surrogacy regret' is the term used in this new blog.

You might be interested to read this story of 'altruistic' surrogacy in a family.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/4223469-Altruistic-Surrogacy-in-a-family-and-Medical-Negligence-in-Belgium

I will read it, Ohholy.

Honestly, I cannot imagine doing something like that or wanting someone else to carry my child but of course it happens. I think if it is someone close rather than a 'rent a womb' person, it's not so bad but who am I to know?

Elton and David's first child had two 'mothers', one who donated the ova and one who carried the child. I assume they did the same with their second.

OhHolyJesus Thu 22-Apr-21 12:15:37

Elton and David's first child had two 'mothers'

Yes they did but Furnish is listed as the 'mother' on their son's birth certificates.

They were one of the early celebrity couples normalising surrogacy.

They traveled to California so to be sure to buy a baby (and then another) and not have to build a friendship and trust with someone in the U.K. based on the model applied here.

With their financial resources I imagine that was an easy choice to make.

RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 12:23:58

There are so many celebrity focused stories around surrogacy because for the most part it is only those couples with money that can afford to rent a womb. Altruistic surrogacy is a different matter, but all surrogacy puts a woman's health at risk, asking a woman to undertake a pregnancy for you is a big deal and not a hearts and flowers endeavour. That poor woman in the Belgian case who now can't care for her own family as she did before.

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YetAnotherSpartacus Thu 22-Apr-21 13:24:25

This is really important and something we should be working on more if only our energies were not of necessity directed elsewhere and thus dissipated.

Maggiesfarm Thu 22-Apr-21 13:34:12

OhHolyJesus

*Elton and David's first child had two 'mothers'*

Yes they did but Furnish is listed as the 'mother' on their son's birth certificates.

They were one of the early celebrity couples normalising surrogacy.

They traveled to California so to be sure to buy a baby (and then another) and not have to build a friendship and trust with someone in the U.K. based on the model applied here.

With their financial resources I imagine that was an easy choice to make.

I read that they have a good relationship with the 'mother' (one who carried the child I presume), and she is part of their lives.

You don't know what to believe.

It's all so weird.

There was a programme on TV about surrogates recently (it was discussed on Mumsnet); young women willing to carry a baby and give birth for somebody else, unpaid (though I expect they received good expenses, at least I hope so). One even said she wanted to do it again!

PotholeHellhole Thu 22-Apr-21 13:36:02

Really pleased to see this development. I've been thinking a lot about this as it becomes more and more obviously commercial.

RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 14:03:33

young women willing to carry a baby and give birth for somebody else, unpaid (though I expect they received good expenses, at least I hope so). One even said she wanted to do it again!

I think we need to be careful about overstating the benevolent side of this, some women end up giving birth multiple times as surrogates. Is this good for their mental and physical health? What burden are we asking them to carry? What protections are we putting in place for birth mother and baby? What protections against baby farms or unscrupulous operators if commercial surrogacy were brought in. That literally means organisations making money out of renting women's wombs.

"The more pregnancies one has, the greater the risk of a bad outcome that could leave the children that are already born without a mother," said Dr. Philip Darney, director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

https://www.livescience.com/16948-duggar-20th-pregnancy-risks.html

Many ivf births are multiple:

The health risks of multiple pregnancies

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/jan/27/multiple-pregnancy-health-dangers?CMP=ShareiOSAppp_Other

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MichelleofzeResistance Thu 22-Apr-21 14:17:06

young women willing to carry a baby and give birth for somebody else, unpaid (though I expect they received good expenses, at least I hope so). One even said she wanted to do it again!

Worth keeping in mind that Dianne Downs liked participating in surrogacy and to my memory had and surrendered one child, and tried to pass applications to do it again. She was imprisoned for shooting her three children resulting in one being paralysed for life, another suffering significant brain damage and the murdering the third, as her current boyfriend did not want to be a father.

The whole 'selfless' thing is not something to be sentimentally invested in to the point of blindness to its downsides and issues.

RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 14:21:45

Let's just be very cautious before we turn this into an industry.

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AaronStampler Thu 22-Apr-21 15:06:23

Gestational Surrogacy is where the mother is implanted with a pre-fertilised egg and it is placed in her womb as an embryo. Traditional surrogacy is where the woman has her own egg fertilised by the sperm from the man who is commissioning the pregnancy or by donated sperm. Either way, it is her egg, her genetic material and she, and any children she has or will have, are genetically related to the baby.

I don't think this is right, is it? If someone else's egg is used, the mother won't have a genetic link to the baby.

RabbitOfCaerbannog Thu 22-Apr-21 15:12:43

A study published in biology research journal Development: "has found evidence to show that mothers carrying donor embryos do indeed have an influence over how particular genes may be expressed in their offspring."

https://hopeaftermiscarriage.com/do-mothers-of-donor-egg-babies-pass-on-any-genetic-material/

Baby’s Cells Can Manipulate Mom’s Body for Decades

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/babys-cells-can-manipulate-moms-body-decades-180956493/

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