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No one has the ‘right’ to have a baby The movement for fertility equality is pushing against the limits our bodies place on us

You can't manufacture babies. Credit: Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images

You can't manufacture babies. Credit: Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images


August 17, 2020   5 mins

Stelarc — a performance artist currently inhabiting the body of a 74-year-old Cypriot-Australian man — believes that the “human body, as we now know it, is obsolete.”

His work plays with the boundary between man and machine. In one piece, he gave members of the public control over his limbs via electronic muscle stimulators. In another, he designed a system that enables a physical body to animate a virtual body as it moves through cyberspace. In 2007, Stelarc had a cell-cultivated ear surgically attached to his left arm, with the hope of one day attaching a wireless listening device and allowing others to listen in, hearing as Stelarc hears. He dreams of a world in which we are no longer limited by our animal forms: “life would no longer commence with birth and end with death! Life would become a digital experience.”

Reading a recent piece in The New York Times titled ‘The Fight for Fertility Equality’, it seems that a new movement of pro-surrogacy campaigners are thinking along distinctly Stelarcian lines:

Still in its infancy, this movement envisions a future when the ability to create a family is no longer determined by one’s wealth, sexuality, gender or biology… They argue that people — gay, straight, single, married, male, female — are not infertile because their bodies refuse to cooperate with baby making.

Ron Poole-Dayan, the founder and executive director of an organisation called Men Having Babies, sees his movement’s objectives as simply the next logical step in the fight for equality, following on from the successful campaign to legalise gay marriage in America. He argues that the barriers gay men face in having children are social, rather than physical, and that assumptions to the contrary are bitterly “hetero-centric.”

Poole-Dayan and other fertility equality campaigners insist not only that commercial surrogacy should be fully legalised, but also that medical insurance companies should cover the costs. Some employers already offer so-called ‘fertility benefits’, paying for egg freezing, IVF, and surrogacy — a perk that is increasingly common in the tech sector. Fertility equality campaigners would like to see this extended, thereby allowing anyone, no matter their income, sex, sexual orientation, or relationship status, to have a child that is genetically related to them.

The word ‘woman’ does not appear once in The New York Times piece. Nor does the word ‘mother’. There is a brief mention of feminists pushing back against the expansion of the surrogacy industry, including famous figures like Gloria Steinem and Phyllis Chesler, the latter protesting against the anti-materialism of it: “Some people want to do away with reality, but biology is real, biology exists — and biology is what will get you pregnant.”

When I interviewed Chesler last year, she spoke about her efforts to resist the campaign to legalise commercial surrogacy in New York State, a campaign that Governor Andrew Cuomo later titled ‘Love Makes a Family’. Since then, Cuomo has succeeded in pushing through his proposed reforms, meaning that commercial surrogacy will become legal in New York State in February 2021. The feminist resistance has, for now, failed.

It’s often forgotten that most people who seek out surrogacy services are not gay men, but rather heterosexual couples. A minority are infertile as a result of illness or disability, but a much larger proportion are unable to conceive as a result of the woman’s age. As delayed childbearing has become more common in the modern world, so has age-related infertility. The proportion of 20-year-old women who will not have a live birth when trying to conceive is about 2-3%; for 40-year-old women, the figure is more like a third; for 45-year-olds, almost 90%. Gay men are not the only people whose “bodies refuse to cooperate with baby making” — older women are in the same situation, albeit as a result of the passage of time, rather than their biological sex.

It feels almost unkind to point out that age is so closely related to fertility, given that finger wagging comments about the ‘biological clock’ can feel so pointed and so personal for women entering their mid-thirties. But, as the journal Gynecological Endocrinology bluntly puts it, women “are falsely reassured by popular beliefs that advances in new reproductive technologies can compensate for the age-related decline in fertility, but science cannot beat the biological clock.” Phyllis Chesler has it right here: “biology is real, biology exists.”

Perhaps we’d rather it didn’t. There are trans-humanists like Stelarc determined to leave behind these meaty, restrictive bodies of ours and step into a new cyborg future. Maybe one day they’ll achieve their ambitions and it will be possible to grow babies outside of the human body, halt the ageing process, or even conquer death by uploading our minds to the internet.

But we’re not there yet. Stelarc’s most stunning achievement to date is transplanting an ear onto his arm. But the ear doesn’t actually work: it can’t hear a thing, since it does not have the necessary connection to the brain. It’s a flashy, attention-grabbing piece of art, not a true transformation of the human form.

The truth is that, in the here and now, babies still need mothers, whether or not we refer to them by that word. And those mothers are startlingly absent from the discourse on surrogacy. In the early days of the industry, all surrogacy arrangements were of the so-called ‘traditional’ variety – the woman was paid to be inseminated by the commissioning father’s sperm. She gave birth to a child who had not only grown inside her body, but was also genetically related to her. She was, in every possible way, that child’s mother. The payment she received was in compensation for relinquishing all custody rights.

That system resulted in a lot of lawsuits. As Julie Bindel has written recently for UnHerd, surrogate mothers often suffer terribly when parted from the babies, and a woman who has taken part in ‘traditional’ surrogacy can more easily make a legal appeal on the basis of her genetic connection to the child. Nowadays, ‘gestational’ surrogacy arrangements bypass that problem by using an egg extracted from a different woman. Hence the surrogate mother becomes, supposedly, nothing more than a vessel.

In this way, the surrogacy industry has attempted to gradually erode the link between the two people at the centre of the drama: the mother and child. The industry’s vocabulary has been part of that effort, as over the decades the word ‘mother’ has gradually been dropped from the end of the term ‘surrogate mother’, removing this woman and her precious body from sight.

The people who seek out surrogacy services are desperately straining at the natural limits placed on us as human beings. The vast majority want to defy their age or their sex, and they want that act of defiance to be enabled by others: by the state, medical insurers, and – above all – the women who act as surrogate mothers.

The surrogacy industry — an ever-growing network of lawyers, doctors, and other middlemen — sells to them the idea that anything is possible, as long as you’re prepared to pay. And the political ideology of liberal individualism tells them that their freedom is to be prioritised above everything else. Given this, why on earth wouldn’t they demand the ‘right’ to have a child? It is, as Ron Poole-Dayan, high priest of the church of liberalism, so succinctly puts it “about society extending equality to its final and logical conclusion.”

But the existence of the fertility equality movement highlights the problems inherent to a liberal doctrine that promises self-fulfilment while neglecting the ways in which we are interdependent: bound to one another as members of society, rather than free-floating individuals. These campaigners are determined to pursue a form of freedom that shrugs off the constraints imposed by material reality. But there is no way (yet) of growing babies in bottles. Their project is an individualist one, but it is not something that they as individuals can accomplish on their own. So, to get what they want, they have to demand that other people give it to them.

And those other people are then made invisible. Fertility equality campaigners ask us to forget the existence of the woman who — despite all the sophisticated technology used for conception and implantation — does the same thing that any mother does, and has done for a billion years. A low tech, still mysterious task that no one else can perform, however much they might want to. Because, as the women used by the surrogacy industry know only too well, “biology is real, biology exists.” However much we insist otherwise.


Louise Perry is a freelance writer and campaigner against sexual violence.

Louise_m_perry

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Rob Jones
RJ
Rob Jones
3 years ago

“He argues that the barriers gay men face in having children are social…”, well that’s demonstrably not true. If you put two men on a desert island, separate from society, they do not make babies. That is not society, that’s biology.

Brian Dorsley
0
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

Unfortunately, that type of talk lumps you in with the far-right these days.

wikingerNBG
NV
wikingerNBG
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

No, your talk lumps him in with the far-right these days. Its your negative reinforcement of “at least i said something smug” that ostracizes the basic logic of biology over the makebelieve of equality.

Brian Dorsley
0
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  wikingerNBG

You misunderstood me. I’m in complete agreement with him, and not those who would label him far-right. I was merely highlighting the Illogical conventions of post-liberal values.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Well, I got it.

wikingerNBG
NV
wikingerNBG
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Yes i know and i do not misunderstand your “so much for the tolerant left” bit. Its more annoying than actual critique from an ideological opposite.

authorjf
JF
authorjf
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

But isn’t the idea that someone without a womb is physically incapable of having a baby intolerant and exclusionary? Just like the theory of gravity, or germ theory, or any other relic of ethnocentric, cultural supremacist, discursive hegemony.

Caz
C
Caz
3 years ago

One voice is never heard in all of this – that of the child. We now have a world where hundreds of thousands of children are born who, as they grow up, will have no idea of their ancestry because the origins of the donated egg or sperm, or both, are not known to them. Hence, they will not have any ‘backstory’ and no knowledge of possible medical conditions they might have inherited. Adopted children, no matter how loving their adoptive parents, invariably want to know about their past and this is generally available for them to find out but what help will be given to the product of donated genes? Are we opening the floodgates of mental illness for these disenfranchised children?

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Caz

The voice of the “unborn child” is also never heard when abortions are being considered.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Although, it’s not a child in the sense under discussion.
Once aborted, it can never suffer the lack of it’s genetic parents, history etc.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

From the down ticks, Subtlety or even plain language is missed by some. I have a problem with abortion on demand. The article is clearly not about abortion.
Quite the opposite.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

Interesting number of down ticking. Is comprehension lacking? Did I vote for abortion in my writing.
I actually have reservations regarding abortion.
P’raps people should read the articles.
This was about children on demand and the using of (too often) socially lower birth mothers to carry the children of those that perhaps waited too long in the chasing of money and career.
Abortion is not what the article was about.
Now argue with me.

sntonysam5
SN
sntonysam5
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

It isn’t a “child.” To declare it is is to render women as subhumans, just as the people in favor of reproductive prostitution do. A woman is not a thing to pop kids out, understand?

Claire D
CD
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

No, “a woman is not a thing to pop kids out”. However, when a woman is pregnant she does indeed have an “unborn child” developing inside her, whether you like it or not.

I think what you are trying to say is that you are offended by the implication, as you see it, that women are nothing but wombs. But neither surrogacy or the ‘right to life’ viewpoint reduces women to this state.

Surrogacy requires agency on the woman’s part, she makes a bargain with the buyers, a dangerous bargain I grant you, but she still has some agency, and once the deal is done, providing she is still alive, she can take the money and run.

Being pregnant with a developing child inside you, rather than an inconvenient zygote (which term I’m guessing you would prefer) does not render any woman “subhuman”, it does the opposite. It is the developing child that defines us as human rather than just another mammal. By denying it’s “child”ness it is you that makes women “subhuman”.

lizzzygoode
LG
lizzzygoode
3 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

It is a child. Attempts at de-humanising a baby doesn’t stop it being a baby. Why on earth would a woman who is pregnant be considered ‘subhuman’ or a’thing to pop kids out’? Why must some women lessen what only a woman can do to justify abortion?

David Bell
DB
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Caz

It is the ongoing issue with our current human rights regime. It gives all the rights to one party and completely ignores the rights of others.

aelf
A
aelf
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

It goes a bit farther than that.

Note the ‘rights’ being awarded compel others to provide and/or fulfill.

The general understanding was that a right imposed no obligation beyond forbearance on others.

authorjf
JF
authorjf
3 years ago
Reply to  aelf

Isaiah Berlin, positive liberty v negative liberty.

Andrew Harvey
AH
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Caz

Yes, I fully agree. Children should only be allowed to be born in the best possible families. Children born out of wedlock have much higher rates of mental illness and criminality. In the best interest of the child, only married people should be allowed to have children. Children in poor families are more likely to be low income when they grow up. In the best interest of the child, only rich families should be allowed to have children. East Asians have higher educational attainment than other ethnicities. In the interest of the child, only East Asians should be allowed to have children.

Esmon Dinucci
ED
Esmon Dinucci
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

A very “modest proposal” I’m sure.

aelf
A
aelf
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Your attempt at satire – assuming of course it is intended as satire – needs work.

kyria kalokairi
KK
kyria kalokairi
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Adjust for income and the disparity between 2-parent and single parent households disappears. It’s almost as if men are superfluous except for the size if their bank accounts.

Liz Davison
LD
Liz Davison
3 years ago
Reply to  Caz

Yes to your last question. This idea that children are mere possessions to be awarded to those with the money to indulge their whims is revolting. We were lucky and became parents with great ease and immediacy when aged 37 and 40 and now have two lovely daughters of 30 and 33. They are fascinated by old photos of parents, grandparents and great grandparents. This interest started at about age 14 once maturity began. To imagine how they’d cope without this information is bewildering and this must leave a gaping hole in the lives of those afflicted. Why do people chafe against nature? I bet these are the same people who preach ecological solutions to everything else. Only reproduction is to be tampered with. Such a warped view of humanity is unsuited to parenthood.

Dan Poynton
DP
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

I’m moved hearing a woman’s paean to the beauty of her biology – her defiance against impending, unfeeling transhumanism. I have the chilling feeling that this will soon be a heresy akin to defying the present supremacist sect of transgenderism.

Penny Gallagher
PG
Penny Gallagher
3 years ago

Shocking that this article even needs to be written. What mad world have I brought my kids into ?

rlastrategy2
BL
rlastrategy2
3 years ago

Absolutely agree with Ms. Gallagher. The ‘people’ driving this kind of plastic, money driven ‘rights/freedom’ pantomime, like those described above, belong in insane asylums. ar at best, a freaks’ circus. The planet is already being destroyed by those so arrogant and money-saturated,they think they can mess around with nature as a personal ‘right’.
‘Wombs for rent’ also command little respect for me. When there are millions of abandoned babies and young children in this appalling world, I have much more respect for people who choose adoption – which is actually for the sake of civilization as a whole, and which also opens the possibilities for all varieties of transgender couples to contribute. However, they, along with barren conventional gender couples would have to forgo the somewhat dubious satisfaction of the alien womb, ‘our own fetus’ delusion. It would be worth it, surely?

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago

Same thought too.

Marion Fallon
MF
Marion Fallon
3 years ago

It may only be me & a handful of others, but since the age of the internet in everyday use, wonder why most people still choose to bring children into this crazy world? In the long ago days Of 1982-1983 I mostly only knew from Mother & Baby magazine what to expect. Though not perfect then, world certainly wasn’t perfect, far from being as crazy as now. Think it says a lot, I did not go on to have more than one child. There were other personal reasons & don’t bother to lecture on “having only children”. I know having children is selfish, but still fail to see why so many intelligent people keep having them, regardless.

jonathan carter-meggs
JC
jonathan carter-meggs
3 years ago

How about improving the adoption rates first before adding more humans.

Chauncey Gardiner
CG
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago

What is your point? Do you have one?

People “add humans”, because they value projecting their genes into the future. Like it or not, some folks put high value on that. Evidently.

I have no children nor any interest in having children. I make the observation neutrally.

sntonysam5
SN
sntonysam5
3 years ago

What an effed up argument. Having kids is not a “human right.”

Fiona McMurray
FM
Fiona McMurray
2 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

Of course it’s not a right but if you do have kids it’s a responsibility. I had my son at 36, I had written off having children but am so happy he is in my/our lives. So much focus of surrogacy seems to be on having a baby rather than the responsibilities of bringing up children to be empathetic, caring, and critical thinkers when they are teenagers and bombarded with narcissistic nonsense on the internet/social media.

David Bell
DB
David Bell
3 years ago

People who demand “equality”, usually throwing in something about their “human rights” as well, all want an outcome that they see as equal. The fact that in achieving their desired equal outcome someone else has to disadvantaged does not even enter the equation. In this case (as with many LGBT issues) it is a woman who has to accept a sub optimal solution.

The LGBT desire to cancel biology is deep routed because it:

1. Tells us equality and “being the same” are two different things. When conceiving a child one party brings an egg, one party brings sperm. Equality of input is achieved, they each provide 50% of the DNA. Very different to “being the same”
2. Biology gives different roles to each parent with one party having the ability to carry the child. Again that is equality, not the same

The drive for surrogacy is not equality, it is about trying to be the same and it damages the human rights of woman by disconnecting them from the produce of their biological functions.

This may be a crude analogy but the demand for equality of output is a crude business!

Esmon Dinucci
ED
Esmon Dinucci
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

You’re right – the rich are using the poor as means to fulfil their selfish ends – is that the sort of property based environment that a child will flourish in?

Chauncey Gardiner
CG
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Esmon Dinucci

It’s called free exchange. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. People make their private choices, and that is that.

What might be a problem is the deviation from the “liberal, individuallistic” ethos in that demanding insurance cover these ultimate vanity projects amounts to demanding other people pay for these uber-individualistic vanity projects.

The liberal view might be: If there’s demand for this kind of thing, and there is willing, private supply, then let people cut deals and leave it at that. all the Puritans who object are free to object, but if they’ve got a problem with free exchange, then that is just that: their problem.

ednajanjacobs
JJ
ednajanjacobs
3 years ago

This may come across as a comment that lacks empathy and compassion but there is a reason why some are born with the inability to create life. Currently we are dancing our way toward 8 billion people on a planet that lacks the resources to take care of those of us that are already here. children starve, our water supply is dwindling and we seem to be an extremely aggressive species. Just because a woman can have a baby doesn’t mean that she should. As far as equal fertility rights……aren’t we taking things a bit too far?

Liz Davison
LD
Liz Davison
3 years ago
Reply to  ednajanjacobs

Children usually starve because the resources of their country are very unevenly divided. Africa is mainly ruled by corrupt leaders who don’t give a damn and squander international aid meant to feed those children. It was ever thus. This has nothing to do with Malthusian ideas.

Cheryl Jones
CJ
Cheryl Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Liz Davison

Your reply is nonsensical

Marion Fallon
MF
Marion Fallon
3 years ago
Reply to  ednajanjacobs

Don’t believe your comment lacks empathy at all, it’s very wise. As I’ve alluded to in my own comments, I think generally most people are selfish in wanting children & don’t seem to put much thought into it. Some put more thought into buying a car/pet. Sadly, too many people are indeed “very fertile” & keep churning out kids, without partners living with them & or the means to look after them (not just money) I can only think it’s some cruel twisted fate, that lets this happen, I don’t believe in God or organised religion.

Claire D
CD
Claire D
3 years ago

Being a surrogate mother will be like ‘going on the streets’, if it is’nt already. Desperate women will do it to survive, so the “choice” argument is fallacious.
It’s a great article, but I think the warning is too late.
The only way to avoid making surrogate pregnancy and childbirth less morally obnoxious would be to have a ban on any money changing hands, which is not gonna happen, not in America anyway.
This is how progressive liberalism kills itself.

wikingerNBG
NV
wikingerNBG
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

you now there is always the choice of getting a job. If a woman can’t even do that she probably is so low ranking on the biological ladder that i doubt anyone wants her as a surrogate, given the assumption she makes other stupid life choices and then the baby you get out of here has fetal alcohol syndrom.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I agree, it’s doubtful that high earning ladies of high reputation ensured in part by delaying their own conceptions will need or want to be incubators for another’s child. Those people are the drivers and political drivers of others less well off, into such a risky profession.

sntonysam5
SN
sntonysam5
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

It is reproductive prostitution. It seems men, and some female handmaidens, think women are put on this earth solely to “service” men. They aren’t human at all.

Val Cox
VC
Val Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

Yes, why don’t people get that?

Claire D
CD
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Val Cox

I agree with the “reproductive prostitution” part, but not the rest of the comment, it’s just rude and combative, no one in their right minds could expect “people” to “get that”.

perrywidhalm
PW
perrywidhalm
3 years ago

Can’t help but wonder if the illusion of “human progress” is simply a euphemism for collective insanity?

authorjf
JF
authorjf
3 years ago
Reply to  perrywidhalm

If something is right or wrong, it doesn’t need to be ‘progressive’ or ‘regressive.’ The word ‘progress’ is a kind of emotional blackmail from people who can’t justify their ideas on authentically moral universalist grounds. Progress is a gateway drug to moral relativism.

Athena Jones
AJ
Athena Jones
3 years ago

No-one has a given right to become a parent and never did. More importantly, no-one has a right to artificially create a life, a baby, to meet their own needs, but ignoring utterly the mental and physical needs of the resulting human. A society which turns babies into commodities, sold and purchased like ice-cream is debased.

The commercialisation of IVF is a crime because, good science knows that a treatment, particularly one so artificial, cannot reveal negative effects until two generations have grown up to live normal lives, the first giving birth to the second. On that count we have about a century to go before ANYONE can possibly know what creating life in a petri-dish might do.

As the oldest of these artificially created humans reaches their Thirties we are finding outcomes which would not have been difficult to guess – infertility and mental illness and for those who result from purchased wombs, egg, sperm in particularly, psychological trauma from a lack of biological connection and often, being actively denied a mother or a father.

Quite how anyone thinks you can create a healthy human from a process where:

1. a woman’s body is drowned in synthetic hormones to force it to produce eggs in numbers impossible in nature
2. eggs harvested and transferred to a synthetic material in a petri dish for selection
3. a sperm, too weak to do the job is forcibly inserted into an egg – in nature the egg selects which sperm it will allow to break through its wall
4. if conception takes place the fertilised egg is frozen, after being meddled with for countless more tests. Such a process is impossible in nature even for Eskimos
5. the egg is thawed and forcibly inserted into the lining of someone’s womb, with probably no DNA connection, and after the uterus has been prepared with yet more synthetic hormones

If that is not enough to create problems then bringing a child into the world from a womb mother it will never know, an egg and sperm parent it will never know, to be raised as often as not by two males or two females, an unnatural construct when they masquerade as real parents, is going to mess with anyone’s head.

Quite how such a brutal, cruel, insensitive, mechanical process can be inflicted on human life in the name of some adult’s need is the real question for our society.

Andrew Crisp
AI
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Absolutely agree. The parent’s “wants” are all consuming, neglecting the quality of life of the being they are bringing into the world.

Ian McGregor
IM
Ian McGregor
3 years ago

I don’t like getting old. Can someone spend a lot of billions on rejuvenation processes? Just to be clear, I don’t just want to get older and more crumbly, I want the whole wind the clock back bit. Nature will have its way in the end, anyway. The so called ‘successful’ outcomes of IVF often come with lifelong problems which explain in themselves why procreation may have been difficult.

Andrew D
AD
Andrew D
3 years ago

It’s simple really. Every child should have, and know, a biological mother and father

Cindy Jarvis
CJ
Cindy Jarvis
3 years ago

This isn’t about equality, this is about supremacy of individuals who believe their wants override everything else. By removing the word ‘mother’ and ‘woman’, they dehumanise the female who is generally forced by circumstance to weaken her body and put it at risk due to economic circumstances. If all references to the women are erased to instead use the word vessel, any instinct to empathise with the women are stifled. We don’t agree with buying people’s organs so why on earth should we agree with buying a woman for 9 months to carry and sell a child? I attended a consultation at Aberdeen University regarding the change in law for UK and was appalled by a male snr lecturer demanding that female students should be allowed to rent themselves out like this so they can fund themselves at university. Interestingly one of the two lawyers presenting the changes to us was a very personally invested gay lawyer who got extremely upset with the few of us who spoke up against the proposals.

Sheryl Rhodes
SR
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago

Yes, where is the essential concept of “mother” in all of this brave new world? I’m pro-gay marriage etc. and in fact our best friends are a lesbian couple who adopted two toddlers who were each in difficult family circumstances prior to being adopted. Those young women now consider us to be part of their extended family. They were raised in a “real” family, no question. So I know that gay and straight people can be good, bad, or indifferent parents.
And yet….and yet. I used to watch the wedding reality show done by designer/event-planner David Tutera, and so was aware that he and his partner had used surrogacy that resulted in a pregnancy with twins. Testing revealed one baby was a girl fathered by Tutera and one baby was a boy fathered by his partner. The couple split during the course of the pregnancy and agreed that each father would take custody of their genetic offspring. As I watched Tutera exit an airplane with his newborn daughter in his arms, I had the sickening thought: This man has deliberately created a child who will never have a mother in her life.
There’s something deeply wrong with that, at its core. It’s stepped over the line of the common human desire to be a parent and into the realm of ego-gratification regardless of the consequences to the child. He could have adopted a child who was in need of a parent, any parent. Instead, he made a motherless child.

Andrew Harvey
AH
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

The feminist argument that children don’t need fathers has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by society with only the slightest of protest. If you’re going to argue for equality, why should women be treated any differently?

Sheryl Rhodes
SR
Sheryl Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

The idea that children don’t need fathers certainly does lead to the possible conclusion that they don’t need mothers either. Research continues to stubbornly show that children overall do best when they are raised by both mother and father in an intact home. Personally, I have the sense that if you HAD to chose that a child would only have one parent in their lives, it would be better for it to be the mother, if for no other reason than the fact that a baby and its mother are almost still connected by an invisible umbilical cord during infancy.

I grew up raised by a single mother who did a good job, but I missed having a father and intentionally waited until I found a solid man before marrying and having children. I see a confidence in our daughter that I never had as a young woman, and believe that is based on the fact that she has always had a father to affirm her worth as something other than just as a lovely object. I see that our son, who was a very sweet and sensitive child, has become a young man who is responsible, confident, and well-rounded, and I believe that is due in large measure to his father showing him that being a man can include being both strong in traditional terms and also being thoughtful, caring, and creative.

I think my husband hung the moon, and the fact that he would lay down his life for his children–that he HAS laid down his life in a real sense by making his family his number one priority–is one of the reasons for that.

carolstaines8
CS
carolstaines8
3 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl Rhodes

Beautifully put! Nowhere in this article, or others of a similar ilk, are the rights of the yet to be created child explored. Surely that should be the starting point, not the rights of individual adults to “have a child”.

Nigel Clarke
NC
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

Man 1: I want to have a baby
Man 2: You can’t have a baby, you’re a man. Where’s the foetus going to gestate?
Man 1: You’re a sexist male oppressor, it’s my right to have a baby…

or

Woman 1: I want to have a baby
Woman 2: You need a man to do that
Woman 1: I hate men, they are sexist oppressors
Woman 2: You can’t have IVF if you are not in a relationship
Woman 1: You’re a feminist oppressor, it’s my right to have a baby

Ian Cooper
IC
Ian Cooper
3 years ago

No child asks to be born but since most children clearly prefer a mother and a father and to be born normally, might it not be a good idea for the surrogacy people to assume that to be the case and lay off. Louise Perry says there is little mention of mothers and it seems little consideration for the children. Is radical individualism becoming trash liberalism, something very uncool, at the minimum? Good article.

Perdu En France
PF
Perdu En France
3 years ago

Interesting concept “right to have a baby” For every “right” there has to be an obligation. So all us men have an obligation to give the woman one? Do we form a queue?

Bill Gaffney
BG
Bill Gaffney
3 years ago

From the led, I was ready to opine something entirely different. Having read ever word…the young, woman is correct…women are women. Men are men. All others can claim they are a rutabaga…but biology rules. Lastly, misuse of the word “gay” is not necessary. Homosexual is a perfectly good, descriptive word.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

This is, sadly, the inevitable result of decades of ethical drift, which treats babies as pets.
“I want a puppy – I’m going to buy a puppy!” Unfortunately, this approach gives no attention to the needs of the child, which in all other areas of the law are considered paramount. If the state is expected to facilitate new ways of creating babies then the state must have a role in deciding who would make suitable parents. It’s hard for campaigners to argue this scrutiny should not apply to those seeking to become parents the time-honoured way, as this would require them to acknowledge that natural conception was qualitatively different from their chosen route to parenthood.
And that puts us at the top of a very slippery slope, further down which we find eugenics. The eugenics movement was very popular with the Left at its height, a century ago, but is seen by the Left of today as very right-wing. Gets confusing, when we try to interfere with nature, doesn’t it?

naillik48
MK
naillik48
3 years ago

I suppose this societal moral decline could be summed up as
‘ Ear today , gomtomorrah ‘

naillik48
MK
naillik48
3 years ago

If you want to control the discussion you have first to control the language.
So the absurd Stelarc ear will work once ‘ hearing’ has been redefined .

Dennis Boylon
DB
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  naillik48

This is a great example of modern technology. The benefits are largely a mirage and greatly overstated. Recently they have become more about spying and exerting control over people rather than benefiting their lives.

naillik48
MK
naillik48
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Ear! Ear !

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  naillik48

It’ll probably start complaining that earrings only come in pairs.

Scott Carson
SC
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  titan0

I believe Van Gogh used to complain about just that.

Athena Jones
AJ
Athena Jones
3 years ago

This is a necessary and worthy article. Quite how human life became commercialised like fast-food is the question. We did not ask enough questions in the past and the profit-driven science-medical industry pushed on regardless, but we must ask questions now.

Modern science and medicine is its cult, is sourced in the delusion that all can be reduced to the material and mechanical. There is no soul, no spirit, no spiritual, no ethics, no morals, no compassion and no feeling in what it does. And we commit criminal acts with IVF all the time because of it.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

“the delusion that all can be reduced to the material and mechanical. There is no soul, no spirit, no spiritual, no ethics ….”

I get your point Athena, but I think you are quite wrong. This is the denial of the material and mechanical. In this brave new world the material loses its reality, it’s resistance, and becomes totally malleable to the human soul.

Where I agree with you is that it is materialist, or consumerist, in a deep sense. It is about the idea that humans should simply get what they want and that reality must be made to deliver that.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Looking at the title I thought is might be a eugenics article. LOL. Nice surprise. The “woke” generation won’t be happy with it.

X Y
X Y
3 years ago

I agree with the overall premise of this article. I take issue with the presentation as the issue as being about women’s bodies, however.

The psychological and sociological problems the author refers to first led to women without a sexual partner using a sperm donor to get the baby they wanted. I know someone who did exactly this. It is actually very common.

The legal position for the sperm donor (depending on the jurisdiction) is horrendous. No duty to provide counselling so that they make an informed decision, no rights whatsoever as regards the resulting child, obligations to provide financially for that child despite ha ING no rights towards it, very low, pitiful remuneration, with the sperm donor often being excessively young and impoverished to be considered as having made an informed choice.

With this legal situation on one side it is hard to make a case against legally enforceable commercial surrogacy.

The author would have done better to identify and expound upon the fact that women choosing to treat themselves as having a right to have a baby is what has led to this apparently irresistible drive to equality.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
3 years ago
Reply to  X Y

I know that in the UK there are almost no sperm donors – clinics here have to purchase it from Denmark. The reason is, in Britain, the donor lost his right to anonymity. Danish men still have it.

Once upon a time, the donors were often students – they have too much of the stuff anyway, they got a bit of beer money for it and felt they were helping some couples have the family they want but couldn’t, because of low sperm count or similar. The donor remained anonymous, the child had a mother and a daddy.

Times changed – the right to anonymity was legally removed whilst, more often, those wanting donated sperm are single women and lesbian couples. The children grow up without a father or father-figure, but wanting one in their life, and so are more motivated than in the past to trace the donor who now has no way to avoid it. In addition, single women, including seperated lesbians, are more likely to try and get some form of child support out of this stranger if they fall short of money.

So British men stopped donating to sperm banks. There have been complaints that it makes IVF by donor more expensive – apparently, selling sperm across Europe is quite an earner for Denmark.

Tough. It was the only reproductive right that men had in this country, but it was taken away.

Athena Jones
AJ
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

That was not a reproductive right, that was an irresponsible, profit-driven decision, just as is the IVF industry. None of it takes into accounts the biological rights of any resulting human.

Sharon Overy
SO
Sharon Overy
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

The law was changed giving the offspring the right to know, and trace, their parentage. What you would want, I suspect. Well, the result is next to no native donors and more expensive IVF in the UK.

I don’t care about that, but my point was that it was the obvious outcome that seemed unforeseen by those that campaigned for the change in law.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

> “biology is real, biology exists.”

Quite odd to find feminists now asserting the importance of biology. Are these developments not just the latest manifestation of the feminist mantra “biology is not destiny”.

Is it not that, along with the trans phenomena, this takes the rejection of the limits set by reality just a little bit further than some feminists are comfortable with?

Corinna S
CS
Corinna S
3 years ago

Every single change with gender/sex/biology/ same sex marriage, trans etc that our Western societies are undergoing is promoted as being or the benefit of others, to give them the same opportunities, equalities and rights.
That’s just a MEANS of achieving the ultimate aim.
The ultimate aim with every single change affecting society is to remove parental rights and giving other adults having sexual access to children.

robert scheetz
RS
robert scheetz
3 years ago

Stelarc, the “movement for fertility equality” is the immemorial stuff of tabloid boilerplate, but, treated as other than a hoot evidences the acute dementia of our liberal intelligentsia.

The consensus among those same trending exactly the opposite way, is to discourage fertility, gradually removing subsidies and shifting them to technics of abortion and sterility.

In compensation we are encouraged to liberally indulge consequence and commitment free sentimental eroticism.

geevesnc
CT
geevesnc
3 years ago

Modern medicine has done everything to remove the sacred and ritual from the human birthing experience and leads directly to surrogacy for all. Thankfully so many of us understand the human body to be awe-inspiring and not just machines for spewing out products.

Keith Payne
Keith Payne
3 years ago
Reply to  geevesnc

Good to read the few female comments on this. I notice that most are from men!

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  geevesnc

I agree. Fetishized science is a dehumanizing force, wholly intolerant of the religious/transcendent dimension. However, tho now it can clearly be seen as another ‘god that failed’, indeed, taking us over a cliff with ecocide, nuclear war, pandemie, and Malthusian famine, it remains the cultural God.

billwald123
billwald123
3 years ago

Depends upon how one defines “right” and “have.”

aelf
A
aelf
3 years ago

[…] the barriers gay men face in having children are social, rather than physical […]

Isn’t this the same lot constantly exhorting everyone to ‘follow the science’?

Dominic Hendron
DH
Dominic Hendron
3 years ago

It’s the Star Trek phenomenon: “…to boldly go where no man has gone before”. Thank you Captain Kirk we owe it all to you.

Anna Clare Bryson
Anna Clare Bryson
3 years ago

This is a difficult question because while we can discuss the morality of various forms of surrogacy, or the abstract concept of ‘right to a child’, once the “technologies” of surrogacy are available, it is extremely hard in practice to prevent people using them. This is, let’s face it, not because of mere frivolity or consumerism about children, but because for people who want but for some reason can’t have children by the usual method the wanting is very very strong indeed – people can and do spend years of their life, and pretty well bankrupt themselves to get their own child.
I hate the visions of transhumanism…but it is also possible to be rather absolutist about the “natural”, “correct” of reproduction and upbringing. It was not so long ago in history that high deathrates among young and middle-aged adults meant not only that the average marriage was relatively short-lived but that infants and children often had frequent changes of carer. Marriage was hard to avoid for respectability reasons – so gay people were more likely to become parents in the natural course of things, and of course there was a very large supply of infants for adoption. People with more children than they could feed sometimes gave them away to the childless, private adoptions were rife…
I don’t like the prospect of babies in bottles, but there are other prospects…For example, “ordinary” fertility medicine keeps on advancing. In my case, for example, an emergency during surgery and resulting unexpected hysterectomy deprived me of any chance of child-bearing. If I were back at that young age now and it happened, I could certainly consider surrogacy. But another generation from now and it might not be necessary – for transplants and other possibilities are already being researched.

I am not saying there are no problems, but the invocation of the “natural limits” of the body is always a tricky argument to deploy, for just how strictly do we want to interpret it? I don’t think there is any “right to have a child”…but obviously, we already deploy that sort of concept in a limited way by e.g. determining which fertility treatments will be available to which categories of patient on the NHS. or insurance. And – just pointing out that something is not a right gets us almost nowhere with dealing with a strong motivating want.

sntonysam5
sntonysam5
3 years ago

It ISN’T a right. What part of this don’t you understand? I don’t care if people can’t have kids. It doesn’t give them the right to use other people to prostitute themselves for their selfish ends. This isn’t a “difficult question” your longwinded screed claims. It is simple. There is no right to having children, there is no right to using women to facilitate it. Get it? Anybody who thinks they have the right to use another person to get a baby is an unfit parent by definition. They have NO business having children.

NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO BUY A CHILD OR USE ANOTHER PERSON TO OBTAIN ONE. Your post is offensive on so many levels. You are a libertarian who thinks women should be things to buy and sell. You are disgusting.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

Right or no right and offensive or not offensive, it all doesn’t matter. People will do (almost) anything to get what they want, legal or illegal. Wanting children is a very strong emotion I have been told by many mothers, maybe one the strongest emotions known to our species, as strong as fear. Even if the child has high risk of being born with serious defects many mothers will refuse to abort. For me that makes it cristal clear that science will do (and already does) whatever is in its power to make people fertile as long as they pay for it. It’s the economy stupid. In the end it will all be transferred to a bottle because our species that wants children so badly at the same time also wants maximum control and maximum security. What will it be? The handmaids Tale or a Brave New World? I put my money on Aldous

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  sntonysam5

Agreed. So many cultures have pushed women to increase the race as a moral duty. Even very recently. Given what can be done now, and a NAZI styled mentality in a modern state, they could ensure the survival of just the genes of those they admired.
I don’t suppose the birth mothers would have had much say in matters either.

sntonysam5
SN
sntonysam5
3 years ago

This transhumanism nonsense, peddled by crossdressing billionaires who have read too many science fiction books and not enough history, is just another form of eugenics. Haven’t people learned a THING from the horrors of the twentieth century?

Again, women need to refuse to prostitute themselves even with financial pressures. Nowhere should prostitution of any kind, including reproductive prostitution, should be legal.

gsiettas
SS
gsiettas
3 years ago

To believe that the want/desire to have a child can be achieved by using another persons body or an artificial womb is myopic thinking and contrary to the increasing science that would warn us against it. Our first and most important environment is in utero. Our experience in utero and the successful continuity in bonding after birth , contributes to healthy brain development , and a healthy relationship to our internal and external world.
If we chose to ignore science and engage in myopic thinking for the purpose of satisfying self centered wants and desires that fuel the Bio Tech Companies, we are setting future generations up to live amongst other humans who struggle with attachment to their external world we must all live in .

chrisjwmartin
chrisjwmartin
3 years ago

biology is real

In a time of universal deceit about sex and gender, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Alan Thorpe
AT
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

The words “woman” and “mother” may be missing from the NY Times article, but so is “father” and “parents”. My experience of life is that children need stability and that means with their biological parents. It isn’t always possible, because of events, but that should be the aim when starting families.

Thomas Sowell has this to say, some years ago:

“What the radical feminists have in fact accomplished is projecting a vision and an agenda of sexual ‘liberation’ that have had the net effect of making it easier for husbands to dump their wives and children. They have also made it harder for new families to form, by creating a contentious atmosphere between the sexes. Women and men have both lost out, in different ways, in all this. Children have of course lost out worst of all from the decline of families. Yet the feminazis have made ‘childhood poverty’ one of their political cries. They are shameless.
“Marriage laws have evolved through centuries of experience with couples of opposite sexes – and the children that result from such unions. Society asserts its stake in the decisions made by restricting the couples’ options. Society has no such stake in the outcome of a union between two people of the same sex. Marriage is not a right extended to individuals by the government. It is a restriction on the rights they already have. People who are simply living together can make whatever arrangements they want, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.”

Travis Wade Zinn
Travis Wade Zinn
3 years ago

Good article. It’s natural for us to resist biological determinism, but perhaps this is an important part of our soul’s journey in this life. Gene editing to cure mental illness presents similar complexities. What we lack can be the unique signature of our life’s challenge.

Andrew Harvey
AH
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Should your soul enjoy it’s journey through life without medical care?

wikingerNBG
wikingerNBG
3 years ago

The problem is already solvable by growing humans in vats, or biobags.

Andrew Harvey
AH
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Privileged middle-class female tut-tuting to her moral and social inferiors about why enforced sterility is in their own best interest. This is about the best arguement I’ve ever seen for why liberalism will always win out.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Did you read the article?

Hilary Arundale
HA
Hilary Arundale
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

I think not

Alexander Allan
AA
Alexander Allan
3 years ago

This is a natural extension of the evolutionary myth propagated by secularist. For if, as evolutionists claim we were created by a random process of chance and there is no objective purpose to our existence, then it naturally follows that we can seek to evolve beyond the confines of our biological nature. Therefore if technology can enable us to bypassing the constraints of our biology to produce equity between the sexes then this is for the common good of mankind.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

I don’t see how the last sentence of your post follows from the previous argument. Nor is it obvious to me that the Bible in itself gives very obvious answers on this question. I agree with the author of the article, but bringing in secularism does not strike me as relevant. It’s an unrestricted individualism that is the problem, and I don’t see that secularism necessarily leads to the outcome.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

It doesn’t follow. The evolutionary view is just as likely to lead to an acceptance of human limitation (we are just apes). This isn’t about the acceptance of nature, and of man’s naturalness – it is the assertion of the human will against the whole idea of naturalness. And it is the idea that the human body should be made to deliver what the human soul wants. The whole thing is profoundly dualistic.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

As evolution is merely multiple random changes leading to selection of the fittest then there is not logic to limit these changes to the confines of biology which has till now been just a blind random process. Surely if make sense to use our age of reason to perfect on nature through technology so we can evolve beyond the brutality of our biological nature. For an evolutionist to state that we cannot evolve further would Be contradictory.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Dawson

For it is a secular mantra that both sexes should be equal as there are no inherent differences between sexes. The differences one perceives are down to biases created by an oppressive patriarch are therefore are social and not biological. Thus using technology to overcome institutional biases is for the greater good.

Unrestricted individualism is a creation of secularism for, if this world is all we have, then the pursuit of pleasure is a right that must not be infringed.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Louise Perry rightly nails many of the presuppositions on which the “right” to have a child is founded. However, like so many who attempt to forge such arguments, she avoids the deeper issues involved; though at least she does mention the word “father” ” once! And she attempts an appeal to social realities ”

the existence of the fertility equality movement highlights the problems inherent to a liberal doctrine that promises self-fulfilment while neglecting the ways in which we are interdependent: bound to one another as members of society, rather than free-floating individuals

What is notably lacking from this article’s mode of argument is any kind of wisdom, any serious consideration of principles ” largely because principles are hardly ever identified. Come to think of it, I wonder if Louise Perry know what principles, as distinct from rights, are? What we get is just another form of argument via sloganeering ” like those who argue over trans-rights but never raise the much more fundamental issues that led to those tensions in the first place.

It is ironic that this failure exemplifies another failure that Louse Perry rightly identifies in the ideologies of individualism:

the political ideology of liberal individualism tells them that their freedom is to be prioritised above everything else.

Historic wisdom teaches us that this kind of individualism always leads to trouble. Because I am a Christian, I search the scriptures for examples of wisdom; though I also recognise wisdom in many other religious and ethical traditions. The stories of the children of the patriarch Abraham ” the non-identical twin brothers Jacob and Esau, and their older half-brother Ishmael ” are profoundly relevant to this subject in that they demonstrate what happens when human beings decide to act in their own strength, independently of godly principles known and understood by the people involved. In those cases the consequences were not only severe personally; they also had long-term consequences. We cannot tell what long-term consequences will come out of the commodification of human fertility. But wisdom tells us that they will not be good.

Frederick Foster
Frederick Foster
3 years ago

Perhaps it is also about time that we all became acquainted with what Joseph Chilton Pearce called the “monstrous misunderstanding” re the all important question of having babies. Or how we treat the hoped for baby in the womb from the moment of conception onward, and the ultra-violence involved in our modern birthing procedures. And I might add for the necessity to fully prepare ones self both biologically and spiritually before attempting to conceive – this applies to both the mother and the father.

Elsewhere I have read that the psycho-physical state of both the father and the mother at the moment of conception has an almost indelible all-the-way-down-the-line effect on the future well-being of the baby/child/adult. The same author also pointed out that THIS is our we really do transmit or pass on the “sins of the fathers (and mothers) on to each and every new born human being

Joseph spent a life time researching this all important topic, beginning with his 1977 book Magical Child which was followed by numerous books on the topic of conscious child-rearing including Evolution’s End, The Biology of Transcendence (A Blueprint of the Human Spirit) and The Heart-Mind Matrix How the Heart Can Teach the Mind New Ways to Think.

In Appendix B of The Heart-Mind Matrix gives a brief over-view of the work of James Prescott and Michael Odent Heart-Breaking stuff!

Along with other researchers in this all important topic Joseph’s work is featured on this more-than-wonderful site
http://ttfuture.org
As is the work of James Prescott http://www.violence.de/inde… and Michael Odent http://www.wombecology.com

Frederick Foster
FF
Frederick Foster
3 years ago

Re the book Evolution’s End by Joseph Chilton Pearce this reference gives an over view of the book: http://ratical.org/ratville
Also http://ratical.org/many_wor

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

Perhaps the real lesson from Stelarc is not that the biology of some human bodies might be made available to all human bodies, but that what makes humanity qualitatively different, ‘constructive’ intelligence, will not, in the future, need a biological ‘body’ to inhabit, or in which to evolve. Rather than having biological babies, intelligence will procreate other intelligences, and ‘what makes us human’, other biological stimuli such as chemically induced emotions, will be regarded as sources of amusement or instability.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

In all of nature, living organisms have one mandate and that is to procreate. It is not complicated. That is the purpose of all living things, to sustain their species or go extinct. It is not a matter of having the right to have a baby, it is a moral obligation to your tribe to have the baby that will sustain your kind. The alternative is where we are at now. The White race of humans is on track for an extinction event.

Beth Adelman
Beth Adelman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

We are humans are all actually the same species of organism. If you’re going to use biology as an argument, please understand it correctly.

sheldonnorberg
SN
sheldonnorberg
3 years ago

In Cory MacAbee’s amazing space musical films, The American Astronaut and Stingray Sam, the planetary divisions of men and women require scientific breeding schemes… this is how they turn out…
https://youtu.be/PNhXYmJ0G8c

Meg Petley
Meg Petley
3 years ago

Thanks for this! 😂
I never played D and D but I’m a big bang theory fan who’s interested in political strategy, history and philosophy.

authorjf
authorjf
3 years ago

Surrogacy, another new frontier of ‘my body, my choice.’ If one believes bodies are property, one is bound to accept surrogacy, just as one is bound to accept prostitution and pimping. But if one believes bodies are not mere property, then (and only then) does one have the right to challenge surrogacy. Interesting to see how the Guardian will react to this new fashionable trend in the wonderful, whimsical world of ‘bodily autonomy.’

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

This is the second article in a few months that UnHerd has published by “feminists” complaining about surrogacy, specifically about gay men having children through surrogacy. Lesbians having children via sperm donors (often paid sperm donors) is far, far more common, though that hasn’t elicited the same response. It would seem that, yet again, feminists are campaigning for equality as long as it suits women, but suddenly develop all sorts of qualms about equal treatment when men might have something to gain.

The author has written this piece and mentioned the word “father” exactly once ( well done you for mentioning them at all). A father is equally required as a mother for producing a baby. Men should have just as much of a right to family life as women. About half of all births in the UK are now happening to couples outside of marriage. 75% of African-American children in the US are born out of wedlock and subsequently have very little involvement with their fathers. That is a huge problem (in no small part created by the feminist movement over the past 50 years). A very small number of children being born into families where they are desperately wanted and who have the resources to support them is not a real issue.

On a further note, whipping up antipathy to a minority, as the author has done in this piece, is pretty low. Are you surprised by the comments down below? Did the author think that throwing people under the bus is a price worth paying to get her ideas (and name) out there? Or are you just so unaware that you didn’t realize what you’re doing? If you’re concerned about the treatment of surrogates, then by all means advocate for laws to protect them. There are, however, a certain number of women out there who choose to use their own personal agency to act as surrogates and create more joy in this world. If you actually support equality, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Your comment seems a bit confused; I agree with much of what you say in your middle paragraph, but the other two are muddled I think. I am not a feminist and have zero sympathy for the feminist’s quest for equality. I did not read the essay from a feminist point of view. Surely the argument against surrogacy as a deal between buyer and seller is a moral issue.

If two gay men can find a female relative or friend to carry and give up a baby out of love and generosity, that is all well and good, maybe such an arrangement can be made to work when everyone involved understands their responsibilities fully. But when money enters the equation it is a different matter, money = power, the person with money can buy what they want in the way of consumer products and services, providing someone else needs or wants the money on offer.

Should pregnancy, childbirth and a human life be a consumer product ?
Personally I don’t think it should.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

By that logic, commercial IVF should be banned. If you carve out an exception for commercial IVF, you would then be saying that it’s ok to profit from helping people with fertility (people who are often quite desperate) if you’re an educated middle class professional with the wealth and resources to open a private clinic, but not ok if you’re just a normal person who could be a surrogate.

Claire D
CD
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

That does’nt sound like logic to me.
The two situations are different, IVF is a medical treatment, surrogacy is using another person’s body for gain.

titan0
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

In some part I agree with both of you. The part about money disturbs me.
In recent years where I live, it is apparent that what look like granddad’s and often grandmothers too, who walk around with tiny tots are in fact their parents.
The very wealthy of the area seem to have obtained the big house, the twin Range Rovers. The big pension pot, had the three foreign Holliday’s a year for three decades and only now have time for a family.
The money is there if they cannot do it naturally of course.

markmusoke
markmusoke
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Is the author really “throwing people under the bus” as you say or was she just pointing out the absurdity of modern humans ‘wanting’ children as some sort of commodity or pet..? I totally agree that there is no real difference between lesbians and gay men asking for insurance companies or “the State” to fund their fertility. Surrogacy is a minor issue which affects a small proportion of the population. It is predominantly a First World problem which is being farmed out to less developed nations or underprivileged women in our societies. I don’t agree with the uber-feminist line of hating men for having the temerity to ask for equality. But I scoff at the snowflake notion that any “antipathy” has been whipped up by the freelance writer.
What is the obsession with having one’s own designer children? Why are people so frightened by biology? N.B. There are quite normal families that do not include children who are genetically related to their parents. However, attacking the author of the piece so hysterically helps nobody understand the complexities of the issues surrounding infertility, surrogacy and adoption but turns the matter into yet another battle of the ‘culture war’.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  markmusoke

Let me guess, you think of yourself as someone who “cares deeply” about children? … though you have no problem referring to them as “pets”. I don’t think I’m being a snowflake when I say that your choice of language is offensive.

titan0
CG
titan0
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

He didn’t refer to children as pets. He implied his belief that it is what others involved in the impracticalities might think.
Buying something makes it a commodity, type of thing.
And expressing thoughts in text without a battery of editors at a publishing house will almost ensure poor choices of words, which depends of course on who is reading and how they choose to interpret them.
That is the ” joy” of social media.

pwgallo
pwgallo
3 years ago

Maybe you should meet a few of the amazing women who have chosen to be surrogates (after all, it is a choice, one you seem to want to take away from them I guess because you know better) and the positive experience they have by being able to impart the gift of life to others who can’t have a baby. Maybe life isn’t a zero sum gain or all about oppression or victim hood. Just maybe life is about what you can do for others…

alisonwren3
AW
alisonwren3
3 years ago
Reply to  pwgallo

I would ask you to think about who is doing this “work” of growing a baby inside their body, knowing it, feeling it, and then having to give it away as soon as it’s born ( often by a compulsory C-section). It will not be the wealthy will it? The effects on the baby of being taken away and having no way of knowing their genetic and gestational heritage are probably very negative, and if being a surrogate is not a career you would advise your daughter or wife to aspire to, is this fair??? Poor women exploited (some have died!!) as ever.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  pwgallo

My mother gave me the gift of life and it started in the womb by her having a healthy lifestyle. She cared about me to her dying day and everyday I appreciate what she gave up for me. I would not feel the same about a woman who gave me up to somebody else.

naillik48
naillik48
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

So better to have not been born then , mate ?
At least you would have been spared the lockdown .

naillik48
naillik48
3 years ago
Reply to  pwgallo

Very well said Philip , I couldn’t agree more. A generous and open hearted comment.
The trouble is the left/liberals (because they only talk to each other ) are always sure that theirs is the only acceptible viewpoint.

gsiettas
SS
gsiettas
3 years ago
Reply to  pwgallo

The bond the child developed in utero has been severed at a cost to their development. You can not dismiss this to