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Surrogacy: Hollywood vs. Reality

*subhead*"The New Normal" ain't normal.*subhead*
In everything there is the Hollywood version, and then there is the reality. Unfortunately these days no one seems to be able to tell the difference. Which is why I find NBC's "The New Normal" so disturbing.

"The New Normal" depicts a gay couple hiring a surrogate to carry a child for them. With lines sugar-coating the business transaction like, "A family is a family and love is love," and "[The surrogate's] just like an easy bake oven, except with no legal rights to the cupcake," the whole of America will be getting the warm-fuzzies just thinking about how great surrogacy is for everyone involved. The sweet, doe-eyed, single mother will get money to make her bio daughter's life better and the loving gay couple will get to shop for baby clothes. (I think I feel a tear coming on...never mind...something my kid threw just hit me in the eye.)

But in the Hollywood version there will be one voice missing. "The New Normal" will likely ignore the one voice that should be heard above all the others. The one voice that will tell you that "The New Normal" is far from normal and should never be considered normal.

I will let that voice speak to you now. Here is Brian. Brian is a son of a surrogate impregnated by his bio father's sperm. These are Brian's words (typos and all) about his reality:
How do you think we feel about being created specifically to be given away? You should all know that kids form their own opinions. I don’t care why my parents or my mother did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want. You can wrap it up in a silk freaking scarf. You can pretend these are not your children. You can say it is a gift or you donated your egg to the IM. But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. I dont care if you think I am not your child, what about what I think! Maybe I know I am your child.When you exchange somehing for oney it is called a commodity. Babies are not commodities. Babies are human beings. How do you think this makes us feel to know that there was money exchanged for us?

Lets look at this from our point of view. Here is our biological mother our flesh and blood the woman who would naturally be raising and loving us totally denying that we are her child. I’m sorry but you just cant do that. We are your kids. We’re your kids just as much as your own kids, but yet you only think of us as some sloughed off egg that you are giving to a substitute mother who no matter how much love she has just can’t be the same as you? For 25 thousand dollars or whatever? You don’t bond with us when you are carrying us and you deny that we are yours because you have deluded yourselves and deny who and what we really are. That is so totally not right that I can’t believe anyone would think this is normal!And why are you doing this? For the most part its money from what I understand. Some of you have already admitted that in other posts. Would any of you do it if you did not get compensated for it? Or maybe if you didn’t get that feeling of belonging or acceptance that you never had as a kid? How do you think that makes us kids feel? You may be able to deny us but we don’t want to deny who you are. That makes us feel very rejected. That leaves a hole in our hearts whether we admit to it or it manifests some other way like in depression or a fear of getting close to someone else.

Sometimes it doesnt show up until we are in our teens or young adults and like me sometimes it shows up as a baby when I scream my head off for 6 weeks and they call it colic. They call it stomach gas or an immature neurological system. Nothing can console us. Bull. The truth is that nobody is able to explain it because babies can’t talk. It’s the only way a baby knows how to express itself and its rage and grief and morning is to scream. I wanted my mother and she wasn’t there. I just had to accept it after a few weeks so I quit crying. Just wait. The evidence of babies having stress and knowing who their mothers are at birth is just beginning to come out. You can’t just substitute mothers and expect us to be okay with it. You can have all the love and good intentions in the world but that doesn’t make it okay with us.

Also with the kids ive interviewed, Ive found that they were either sick - more sick than their peers-as babies or colicky. The immune system has a lot to do with stress and babies that are stressed get sick. Only 2 out of the ten seemed like they didn';t have any problems when they were babies but had a lot of problems once they hit 12 or 13.Emotional problems.
Now after reading about Brian's pain and anguish, don't the lines "A family is a family and love is love," and "She’s just like an easy bake oven, except with no legal rights to the cupcake," just make you want to vomit?

See, learning and bonding start well before birth. In adoption, a baby is wrenched away from everything he or she has ever known as an attempt to make a bad situation better. In surrogacy, wrenching a baby away from everything he or she has ever known is the express intent. I am sure that Brian is right that babies born through surrogacy suffer terrible anxiety and stress. The worst part is that for the child of a surrogate, this is done to them on purpose and for money. Watch this TED video about how much babies learn in the womb and then tell Brian he is wrong:



I am afraid that "The New Normal" is going to make surrogacy seem fun and harmless when in reality, for the child that has been purchased in a business transaction, it may become a total nightmare.

Hat tip: Chelsea Zimmerman, Catholic Lane, and Jennifer Lahl, Center for Bioethics and Culture

Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly

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7 comments:

federoff11 said...

I don't see how a baby placed for adoption cannot go through the same stress that Brian claims. Babies have no idea WHY they are not with the woman who gestated them, missing her rhythms and smells, so this would seems to apply to adoption as well..... which severely undercuts our (meager) pro-life efforts to encourage women to place babies in a loving stable home when they can't provide one.

Foxfier said...

Federoff11-
there's a difference between doing something that is hard on the kid because the alternative is death or a very rough life, and creating a new life specifically to put them through a rough situation because you demand a child that fits your specs.

Jeff Miller said...

Even stranger Tagg Romney recently had twins via a surrogate and IVF and their youngest son was also via the same women via IVF.

Gail Finke said...

federoff: They do. There are lots of support groups for people who have been adopted and feel that they suffer all their lives from it, even though they are grateful for an adoptive family and (these days) grateful they were allowed to be born. I used to work with a man who was in one of these groups and who told me that many adopted people feel a "hole in their heart" because the family they should have had is missing. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be born!

The difference here is that people are creating a similar situation on purpose for many, many children -- and adding to it that their conception and gestation was a paid-for transaction as well. There are support groups for children of sperm donors, many of whom are now trying to find their "fathers." It is a bad, bad thing to do for many reasons, and no one seems to be concerned about the most important reason of all: the lives of these children.

DanD said...

As an adoptive parent and a former foster parent, I've seen both sides of the adoption event. No question in my mind that, in an ideal world, there would be no need for foster/adopt parents. But the world is far from ideal, and some of the situations from which we've received kids were scary for an adult, terrifying for a minor child. I agree with Gail: Adoption is one way we try to make the best situation for a child with few or no alternatives, who may be in a potentially dangerous or even fatal situation. Ideal no; necessary, yes. But to voluntarily propagate the situation via surrogacy, for cash on the barrel . . .

Paul said...

It's official: Children are a commodity. No more, no less. Sad.

Mary De Voe said...

The genes in the child belong to the real mother and father. The genes, as body parts may not be bought or sold.

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