SURROGACY -- Who is the natural mother? Surrogate, egg donor, 
gestational carrier, biological mother, adoptive parents, or someone else? Reconsidering family law policy and politics

This webpage is http://www.thelizlibrary.org/surrogacy/index.html

GESTATIONAL SURROGACY
AND OTHER LOGICAL FALLACIES
AND LEGAL FICTIONS:
Who is a mother.
Who is the only "natural parent" of a child.


bengal tiger mother with cubs The "mother" of any given child -- and in fact the only natural parent of any mammalian offspring -- is the female who gives birth to that offspring.

For millennia, laws governing women and families have burdened and oppressed and sought to control this natural relationship and control women's reproduction by applying various political, social, cultural, religious, philosophical and legal assumptions, presumptions, beliefs, concepts and ideas about parentage and "paternity" and family that all hold at the core one common theme: they are wrong; they deny reality. They deny who is the instrument of creation of a child, who is the body that invested flesh and blood and time and pain and effort and risk. And they seek artificially to boost the connections of not just husbands (traditionally, the men who own the reproducing women), or "biological fathers" (a more recent vintage), but also relatives, tribes and communities, the state and sovereign, gamete donors, adoptive parents, same-sex spouses, couples contracting for child breeders, and assorted others as having a relationship with and claim to the offspring of a woman that is equal or equivalent to, or in some cases, of higher legal entitlement than that of the child's mother.

Perception is an odd sort of thing. We can get inculcated from childhood in ways of perceiving the world and organizing what we think we know such that we are not perceiving reality correctly. Our cultural traditions and language all can fool us regarding what we assume to be reality or normality. For example, consider the term "gestational surrogate". It's an absurd idea, a phrase that would be nonsensical without reality of parentage first being obscured by vague, strange and artificial notions that parentage has something to do with... DNA? Sexual intercourse? Legal contract? Marriage? The arbitrary statutes put into place from time to time in a given jurisdiction?

All of our marriage and family laws, which for decades have been in illogical and confused flux -- and perhaps no more so than recently, with the advent of assisted reproductive techniques, not to mention the reams of articles in legal journals agonizing over problematic concepts such as who is a "father" -- instantly would fall into simple, logical and clear order, if our false beliefs and precepts were just eliminated.

Consider the entire non-human mammalian world. Consider how offensive and absurd it is that we pathologize women for not wanting to "share parenting" of their own babies and small children -- and how we even irrationally can sometimes call mothers "kidnappers" of their own children. And think about this new research in light of the notion of "gestational surrogacy":

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Oct;158(2):148-52. Epub 2011 Jun 12.
Fetal microchimerism: benevolence or malevolence for the mother?

"For a long time, the conventional view was that the fetus and maternal vascular system are kept separate. In fact there is a two way traffic of cells through the placenta and the transplacental passage of cells is in fact the norm. The fetal cells can persist in a wide range of woman's tissues following a pregnancy or an abortion..." PDF

Research: Cell Migration from Baby to Mother Dawe et al. (2007) PDF

Research: Pregnancy, Microchimerism and the Maternal Grandmother Gammill et al. (2011) PDF

Research: Microchimerism. A gestational surrogate IS a "biological" parent by J. L. Nelson (2008) PDF

Swapping DNA in the Womb by Beth Marie Mole, 09/12 TheScientist PDF

Beyond Birth: Fetal Cells Remain in the Mother by Nancy Shute, 04/10 ScientificAmerican PDF

Made to Order Embryos for Sale by Wesley J. Smith, J.D., 04/29/13 Center for Bioethics and Culture Network PDF (referenced research at New England Journal of Medicine) PDF (Embryos specifically to be created from eggs harvested like a crop -- at considerable risk to women, and then killed for research, product manufacture, and profit.)


The Effects of Pregnancy
http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/004.htm

The Risks of Egg Donation
http://www.thelizlibrary.org/surrogacy/risks-of-egg-donation.html

anonymousus.org The New Sexual Predators by Alana S. Newman, 09/12 Witherspoon Institute PDF
"Value depends on scarcity. In the world of human reproduction, the most valuable entity is the fertile female -- specifically, her eggs and her womb. The fierce politics surrounding female fecundity and women's reproductive rights rests not only on a woman's ability to create new life, but also on the incredible amount of commitment and risk involved when her eggs and her womb are accessed for procreation. Since women are fertile for a shorter period than men, since gestation takes forty long weeks, and since labor and delivery pose life-threatening risks, young women always will face disproportionately high demands for access to their bodies. But those demands are rising in unexpected ways, and from unexpected people..."

Atwood: 
The Handmaid's Tale Don't -- Eggsploitation interview with Jennifer Lahl PDF
"I grew up in foster care and aged out at 18 without ever having a family. I was a good kid, talented in the arts and academics. I worked hard with the hope that a family would want me. I was never adopted so needless to say I've been desperate to be a part of a family my entire life. ...A few years ago, I gave my eggs to good friends with the naive belief that this was a way for me to be part of a family -- and I would even have a genetic connection! I was promised that I would always be part of the family and the child's life. I was told that I was 'always meant to be part of their family and that their family never felt complete until I came along.'... I thought, 'When would I ever have a chance to make such a huge difference in someone's life again?' And I would be part of a family too. How could I not do it? I was so eager for love and had no one looking out for my best interests which made me easily exploited, even if unintentionally..."

The Other Side of Surrogacy: What does it take... to carry another's baby? by Sarah Block
"...but we're talking about gestational surrogacy, I said. 'That is so beside the point,' she retorted. But the surrogate has no genetic connection; the surrogate is not the mother. Wrong, she said. 'If you are pregnant with a baby, you are the mother of the baby that you're carrying. End of discussion. The nutrients, the blood supply, the sounds, the sweep of the body. That's not somebody standing in for somebody else to that baby. That's the only mother that baby has.' My own grandmother seconded this with a stark visual. She carried my twin aunts and somehow only gained four pounds. 'They were eating me, basically. You're going to tell a woman that her body is feeding these babies and they're not hers?'..."

Mothers for Hire by Amrit Dhillon PDF

Egg Donation and Exploitation of Young Women: Death and Infertility



        Gene Watch         Witherspoon Institute        

Surrogacy in America by the Council for Responsible Genetics

Oh Baby Baby: The Problem of Surrogacy by Matthew Tieu PDF

Surrogacy: Pregnancy and Babies in the Modern World by Matthew Tieu PDF

Abuses of Women's Human Rights in Third Party Reproduction by Kathleen Sloan PDF

Breeders: How Gay Men Destroyed the Left by Robert Oscar Lopez, 03/11/14 PDF

Reproductive Predators PDF

Wombs for Rent? Gestational Surrogacy and... the Global Market" by Rachel Blatt PDF

Pregnant surrogates "left in the lurch", RCMP raids fertility business 02/12 National Post PDF

Illegal Surrogacy Operation the "Tip of the Iceberg" 03/12 Psychology Today PDF

Surrogate mother dies of complications 05/12 India Times PDF

17-year-old egg donor dead; fertility center questioned 07/12 Indian Express PDF

Surrogate mum dies after giving birth 01/05 Daily Mail UK PDF

IVF now a leading cause of maternal mortality in Britain 08/12 Aljazeera UK PDF

Egg donor Louise now can't have her own child 09/12 MailOnline PDF
"On September 9, 2000, Louise received a phone call from a nurse at St. Barts telling her that a baby boy had just been born, conceived from an egg Louise had donated. The nurse wasn't able to give her any further details, and it was only when Louise put the phone down that the full implications of what she had done sunk in..."
Christie's veto of NJ gestational surrogacy law was right call by Kathleen Sloan PDF

Statement of the American Congress of Gynecologists and Obstetricians by ACOG PDF

Babies in Limbo: Laws Outpaced by Fertility Advances WaPo (1998) Science on the Ethical Frontier PDF

Surrogates and Their Discontents by Christopher White PDF

Popular IVF treatment found to double birth defects by Jo McFarlane PDF

Surrogate stuck with twins when couple backs out by Heloise Archambault PDF

Sperm donor of 43 passed on genetic defect by Hilary White, 09/12 LifeSiteNews PDF

Research: Congenital Malformations Associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology: A California Statewide Analysis by Lorraine I. Kelley-Quon, M.D., et al., American Academny of Pediatrics, paper presented 10/12. PDF
"IVF independently contributes a significant risk of congenital malformation in addition to known maternal factors. In particular, defects of the eye, heart and genitourinary system are more likely in infants born after IVF..."
IVF Linked to More Birth Defects by Alexandra Sifferlin, 10/12 Time PDF

Ethics Debate: Assembly Line Embryos by Alan Zarembo, 11/12 LATimes PDF

What about embryonic stem cell research? It also requires the harvesting of astronomical numbers of eggs from young women. Watch the video clips at http://www.linesthatdivide.com/.

Going too far? Making and Selling Designer Human Beings Outright (For sale: Donor embryos newest addition to world of artificial procreation) by Sharon Kirkey, 12/12 Postmedia News PDF

Research: Children born through reproductive donation: a longitudinal study of psychological adjustment. Golombok, S., Blake, L., Casey, P., Roman, G. and Jadva, V. (2012), Children born through reproductive donation: a longitudinal study of psychological adjustment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Parenting and children's adjustment were examined in 30 surrogacy families, 31 egg donation families, 35 donor insemination families, and 53 natural conception families... Although children born through reproductive donation obtained SDQ scores within the normal range, surrogacy children showed higher levels of adjustment difficulties at age 7 than children conceived by gamete donation. Mothers who had kept their child's origins secret showed elevated levels of distress. However, maternal distress had a more negative impact on children who were aware of their origins. The absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be more problematic for children than the absence of a genetic link.
Surrogacy exposed by Kathleen Parker, 05/24/13. Washington Post PDF
"...While no one wishes to cause pain to people who, for whatever reason, can't have a child on their own, there are more compelling principles and consequences in play. Human babies are not things; their mothers are not ovens. But bartering and selling babies-to-order sure make them seem that way. By turning the miracle of life into a profit-driven, state-regulated industry, the stork begins to resemble a vulture."

Lisa Macci's Justice Hour Radio Shows on these topics:

Aug 21, 2012
- SurrogateParenting.wma or SurrogateParenting.mp3 - Attorney Elizabeth Kates discusses the lesbian in-vitro custody case scheduled to go before the Florida Supreme Court in October 2012. This unique case involves two lesbian partners who used in-vitro fertilization to have a child and later separated. The fertilized egg of one woman was implanted in her then-partner, who gave birth. A legal battle over parental rights began when the woman who gave birth stopped allowing her girlfriend to have contact with the child. Pregnant? Considering Adoption? 
Adoption is NOT a loving option.  Be prepared to hurt for LIFE. Find out what adoption professionals will not tell you 
because your baby equals PROFITS. The 5th District Court of Appeal last year ruled that the woman who provided the fertilized egg should have parental rights, which led to the dispute going to the Supreme Court.

Nov 24, 2012 - ClaudiaCorriganDarcy.wma or ClaudiaCorriganDarcy.mp3 - Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy discusses her life as a "birthmother." 25 years ago, Claudia gave up her baby for adoption. She has spent years as an activist to educate young women against being duped into giving up their babies and to expose private adoption for what it is -- a money making business that treats female reproduction as a commodity. Claudia's website is at http://www.musingsofthelame.com.

Nov 27, 2012 - Lahl.wma or Lahl.mp3 - Jennifer Lahl, founder and President of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, discusses ova "donation" and the exploitation of women. http://www.eggsploitation.com.


READINGS ON THERAPEUTIC JURISPRUDENCE


RESEARCH RELEVANT TO FAMILY LAW ISSUES

Violence against motherhood: surrogacy, egg donation, international adoptions and child trafficking, exploitation of women's 
bodies
  • Myths and Facts about Fatherhood
  • Myths and Facts about Motherhood
  • Myths and Facts about Mother Absence
  • Research: Joint Custody Studies
  • Research: Joint Custody Just Does Not Work
  • Child Custody Research: What the Experts Say Scholarly Review

  • "RULE OF LAW" vs."RULE OF MAN"

    A common theme underlying nearly all the problems in the family courts is the sloppy float away from the "rule of law" to "rule of man". The "rule of man" describes such things as dictatorships, decision-making by whim, discretion without oversight, vague standards that cannot predictably be anticipated or applied, faux-expert recommendation-making and opining such as with mental health professional parenting evaluations, and the panoply of therapeutic jurisprudence interventions such as parenting coordination and special mastering. All of these abrogate due process, and the fundamental principles on which our system of jurisprudence was founded. The ideas have been pushed by the mental health lobbies and by individuals who either don't understand or don't care about some higher priorities.

    "Rule of man" is a concept that we ditched with the formation of this country in favor of "rule of law". Our founding fathers recognized that there is no way to regulate or oversee individuals given too much discretion or dictatorial authority. With regard to the family courts, I keep hearing and reading what are essentially inane pleas to fix the various misguided ADR programs via "guidelines" (aspirational only, and with immunity from sanction for misfeasance), and for "trainings", and for getting rid of those who are "incompetent" -- all of which suggestions exhibit an astonishing lack of appreciation for the stupidity inherent in these extra-judicial ideas -- ideas which Thomas Paine and our founding fathers would have abhorred (see, e.g. Common Sense). Dictatorship cannot be permitted not because there couldn't (theoretically) be some wise and beneficent dictators who would be better and more efficient than the messy system of due process and checks and balances we idealize, but because under that dictatorial system we inevitably and primarily will suffer the fools, the tyrants, and the corrupt. And that's without addressing the panoply of other constitutional defects. Besides, no scientifically sound research actually establishes "harm" from the adversarial system -- or benefit to families' well-being from applied therapeutic jurisprudence. These ideas were invented in mental health trade promotion groups as lobbying talking points. (If you doubt this, feel free to contact me for more information.) Yikes. What are we doing. To the extent we've been sold a bill of goods, swampland, snake oil and the voo doo of "expertise" by the mental health professions, at least until relatively recently, the stuff wasn't harming our legal system. Now it is. Wake up, and wise up.

    What we do need are some realistic changes in the substantive laws addressing divorce and child custody. What we don't need is a revolution in procedural rules and the overthrowing of individuals' constitutional rights. -- liz


      liz notes    Our favorite mottos:

      Civium in moribus rei publicae salus
      ...will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do

    SITE INDEX  |  LIZNOTES MAIN PAGE  |  COLLECTIONS  |  WOMENS HISTORY LIBRARY  |  RESEARCH ROOMS  |  THE READING ROOM
    FATHERLESS CHILDREN STORIES  |  THERAPEUTIC JURISPRUDENCE  |  WOMAN SUFFRAGE TIMELINE  |  THE LIZ LIBRARY ENTRANCE

    Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are copyright 1996-2014 the liz library. All rights reserved.
    This site is hosted and maintained by argate.net Send queries to: sarah-at-thelizlibrary.org