Eggsploitation, Surrogacy and the Business of Making Babies

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Celebrities and wealthy columnists paint a smiling, rosy picture normalizing, even championing, egg “donation” and surrogacy, meanwhile the fertility industry has a dirty little secret:

Eggsploitation is a documentary from the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Regarding surrogacy, the BioPolitical Times blogger Marcy Darnovsky, commenting on last week’s NYT “Twiblingscover story by Melanie Thernstrom and relating it to a similar first-hand cover story about surrogacy by another wealthy writer, notes:

Both women go to some lengths to find surrogates who are middle class and college educated, because this makes them so much more comfortable about the whole process.

But while these two women use their own substantial financial resources to circumvent the typical dynamics of the baby business, most people do not or cannot. That’s why surrogacy is booming in India and other countries where poor women who rent out their wombs routinely sign away their rights – including to decisions about whether to terminate a pregnancy, when they can see their children and have sex with their husbands, and whether to deliver by C-section. In the US, surrogates and egg donors are seldom desperately poor – as Kuczynski writes, this would make them unreliable – but they are invariably poorer than the people who hire them. It’s hard to get around the fact: Surrogacy and egg selling are matters of class and unequal opportunity.

See: Outsourcing Birth

The baby-making industry is a global market that makes many people rich at the exploitation of others. Yet, because of feel-good narratives offered by Thernstrom, John and others, it has been widely accepted with little to no criticism. In fact, it has become so mainstream that it’s even being used to help people without any major fertility problems reproduce. This is not how children should come into the world and this is certainly not how women should be viewed or treated, whether they allow it themselves or not. A woman’s body is a sacred, life-giving vessel, not a baby factory.

The rich are different from you and me: Yes, they hire surrogates
“They are just the wombs”
Pregnancy without Borders: Reproductive Tourism’s Global Reach
Fertility’s Mega-Mall
The Eggsploited: When Two Markets Collide

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