Surrogacy is a form of artificial reproduction with serious moral implications. Most of all, it strips children of their most basic rights.
In the U.S., surrogacy laws vary by state, with California being one of just a handful of states in which surrogacy is permitted for all parents, including same-sex couples. There are few, if any, legal hurdles.
In 2015, 2,807 children in the U.S. were born by a surrogate, a significant increase from 2004 when only 738 children were born via a surrogate.
In a surrogate pregnancy, an artificially formed child is inserted into the uterus of the surrogate mother, who will ultimately give birth to the child. In the process, the child is intentionally separated from one or both of their parents, causing tremendous pain and suffering for the child throughout their life, according to Katy Faust, founder and director of the children’s rights organization, Them Before Us.
Most of these children end up suffering from an identity crisis as they wonder who their real parents are, explained Faust in a presentation to South Dakota legislators. A child’s connection to his or her biological parents gives them something that they crave, which is their biological identity. A study conducted by Harvard’s Medical school confirmed this to be true.
Further, surrogacy enables same-sex couples to raise children. Every child has a natural right to their parents and to both a mother and father. Without a present father or mother, children are left with major deficiencies and wounds that impact all other aspects of their life, as Faust explained in an interview with author and conservative commentator Allie Stuckey.
Many adoptees argue that their “primal wound” of maternal separation manifested as depression, abandonment issues, and emotional problems throughout their lives. It hindered their attachment, bonding, psychological health, self-esteem, and future relationships.
Adoption expert Nancy Verrier claims that “the primal wound occurs when a postnatal separation from the biological mother imprints the infant with a sense of abandonment and loss. The nine month bond with the biological mother—her smell, feel, taste, and sound—are all gone. The loss of the child’s primordial loving, caring, and protective relationship can be indelibly imprinted on the unconscious mind as a traumatic injury.”
Studies show that maternal separation, an intrinsic part of surrogacy, can even permanently alter the structure of the infant brain.
Not only does the fertility industry entirely sideline the rights of children, but they also engage in practices that closely resemble eugenics. One same-sex couple in California sued an IVF clinic that mistakenly implanted a female embryo into the surrogate, who later birthed a healthy baby girl. In their lawsuit, the two men argued that they wanted a boy and had notified the fertility center that “they wanted only male embryos transferred.”
Further, only 7% of children created in a lab will be born alive. Most will perish in forgotten freezers, won’t survive “thawing,” fail to implant, be discarded if they’re non-viable or the wrong sex, be “selectively reduced,” or be donated to research. These are innocent lives that have been stripped of their rights simply because of how they were formed.
Proponents of surrogacy will argue that it is no different than adoption. However, adoption aims to heal a family wound while third-party reproduction inflicts a family wound. Like surrogate children, adoptive children also suffer from being separated from their biological parents, but this separation is born of necessity. The separation created during surrogacy is simply the result of adults placing their needs above a child’s.
Ultimately, children are not commodities to be bought and sold, yet this is what they are reduced to through surrogacy. Their rights and needs must always come before the desires of adults. Adults do not have the right to someone else’s children, but children do have the right to their mother and father.