Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dear Caroline - Our surrogates are not prostitutes, our children not products

Female journalists on the "wrong side" of 30 give me the shits.

Caroline Markus. What a twit. No parents with children born through  surrogacy think we have a right to have a child. How many parents through surrogacy did you poll to arrive at your conclusion? Do you have the right to assume we think we do? No-one has a right to have a child, regardless of how that child comes to be born. 

If you pay for the services of IVF and surrogacy and all parties are happy about the agreement, then why not? A Current Affair  story during the week promoted in bold headlines as "Surrogacy Scandal" was meant to be "The revelation to shock the international surrogacy industry". 

I, for one, was not shocked. I had no parents through surrogacy call me to express their shock, nor surrogates, nor doctors, practising surrogacy, nor even ACA's competitor Today Tonight wanting to chase up this stunning revelation - a dirty father sexually abused his kids, children who happened to be born through surrogacy overseas. I think we would all agree this is revolting to the core and we would all love to take this man's head off, but I wonder when the shock stories about the hundreds of other Australian children, who perhaps were not born through surrogacy, abused by their father or others are featured on ACA.

This the typical tripe many have come to expect of crappy tabloid shows like ACA. While they may be applauding themselves over at ACA for breaking an exclusive (Yay we beat TT to the story narny narny nar nar) - what a ground breaking, earth shattering *ball-tearer of a story it was not".

It was not even  a surrogacy story! It was a story about a father abusing his children. This happens day in day out around the world, including Australia. It had nothing to do with surrogacy, it has to do with sexual exploitation of minors, how the children came to come into the world is irrelevant. 

But the ever-so-sensitive producers over at ACA just had to draw a link between surrogacy and pedophilia. Heaven help us if the father was single and/or gay, they would have thrown all single dads and gay parents under the bus as well. 

Back to The Courier-Mail article, Dear Caroline, and you can tell her what you think via twitter Caroline Marcus Twitter or send her a friend request via her Facebook page Caroline Marcus Facebook page


Caroline Markus, above, rocking henna henna hands and an Indian sari she has no right to sniff let alone wear after likening Indian surrogates to prostitutes.

Caroline .... when you so loftily declare from the gilt seat of the fertile upon your moral high horse that "surrogacy comes at the expense of a poorer woman's welfare", do some research before opening your big trap. Perhaps speak to some of a few thousand surrogate mothers worldwide who have been extremely happy with their decision to carry babies for others, not just for the financial gain but also the emotional - benefits including a sense of contributing something so wonderful to the world, a human being, who will be loved and cherished as 99.9% of children born through surrogacy are. 

As for Katja the *feminist* from Sweden linking surrogacy to prostitution, it is her dirty mind that draws such a ridiculous comparison. Last time I checked the dictionary the term prostitute refers to "the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment".  I don't see any sex going on in surrogacy. Following on from the high and mighty Katja's determination that surrogacy is "reproductive prostitution", then those of us who have our children through surrogacy and pay for such services must be the clients of reproductive prostitutes (ie the surrogates we all love and admire). It is only the little minds of people like Katja and her ilk that would call any woman a prostitute. OUR SURROGATES ARE NOT PROSTITUTES! And what is so bad about a woman being a prostitute anyway, it serves a purpose to society, provides income and when handled with regulation, safety and with the woman's full consent, so what if she makes a bit of cash using her body in the way she chooses. That is real feminism, allowing women to decide what they will do with their own bodies. No wonder Insight gave this backward bimbo hardly any airtime other than to cut to close-ups of her prune face looking down on all those involved with commercial surrogacy. She kinda reminded me of the wonderful Magda Szubanski ...

The glamour of surrogacy 
I quote Ms *Journalist's* admonishment to we parents through surrogacy, "Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker have helped glamorise surrogacy ..."

Oh yes, surrogacy is such a glamorous process.  That's why opted for surrogacy, how about you? I personally found travelling to a foreign country and handing over large wads of cash to doctors I didn't know, for a pregnancy that may or may not eventuate, in the hope of having a child a very glamorous process. My husband certainly regarded his times having fun with a cup as glamorous. Women who use their own eggs tart up to the nines in their stilettos and slinky black dresses while injecting themselves with countless needles and medications to encourage those glamorous eggs to pop from their glamorous ovaries. Many a photo of a self-cycling mum wearing oh so glamorous hospital greens propped up with a glamorous paper vomit bowl has been posted to facebook and forums worldwide.

Adding a further layer of stupidity to her missive she goes on to declare:
" .... but let there be no doubt: this is about peddling babies to the highest bidder."

Let there be no doubt!  Strong rhetoric from such an authority on all things surrogacy. What a wanker.

You may have a point if we families through surrogacy went overseas to mull-over a selection of pre-produced newborns displayed on a baby vendor's cart, our numbered auction paddles waiting in hand for the Auctioneer to start the bids. "Today on auction is lot number 101, a fine example of a healthy half-Indian half-caucasian male newborn made with the finest quality materials. This newborn comes with two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes, green eyes and a head.  Sperm used in the creation of this male child was carefully selected from an Australian male of Swedish/English heritage, with the eggs provided by a local Indian woman of Brahmin caste with excellent bloodlines and social pedigree. I open the bid at $20,000. $20,000, thank you madam, $25,000, do I hear $25,000? On the left, $25,000 back to you madam on the right, do I hear $30,000?"

Yeah, that's how we "bought" Toby.

Let there be no doubt: this is not how it works.

To say surrogacy is peddling to the highest bidder is just so wrong and so demeaning to all involved in the process of bringing our beautiful children into the world. It took a team of doctors, nurses, embryologists, administrators, intended parents, sometimes egg or sperm donors, surrogate mothers, their coordinators, caretakers, psychologists, social workers ... it was never an easy process and our babies were never products for sale to the highest bidder. 

Dear Caroline, before you make a dick of yourself writing about a topic on which you have done zero research and with which you have zero experience, other than than to latch onto the ludicrous opinion of some ditzy loud-mouthed Swedish *feminist*, think about why you feel you have the right to tell those of us who have our children through surrogacy whether we have the right to create our babies in this way. We are the experts at this, not you.

I hope for your sake you don't leave it too long and that your fertility is intact, or you may well be spending a lot of time in the future in grief and eating today's ill-thought out words when you too go for surrogacy. Better still, if you do find yourself unable to breed, go and foster or adopt. As for your journalistic prowess, go back to the shonky rip-off tradie chasing stories ACA is so good at, and leave stories about complex social issues to real journalists.

AS A woman on the wrong side of 30, I’m all too conscious of the ticking time bomb that is my reproductive system. How could I not be?
My childless peers and I must endure endless nagging about the need to get moving if we want to have babies, lest we leave it too late and become disposed to acquiring a house full of cats.
I’m delaying children for at least another few years, not just because my career comes first right now, but I don’t feel ready to dedicate myself to sleepless nights and pooey nappies just yet.
I make that decision with the full knowledge I could find it challenging to become pregnant when I am ready, and so be it.
Whether it’s because they’ve made similar choices, or there are medical reasons they can’t conceive naturally or they’re gay men, more and more couples are turning to overseas surrogates to deliver them the child a stork could not. But a series of recent scandals have raised significant ethical questions about the rent-a-womb trade.
The latest of these concerns the arrest of a NSW man charged with the sexual abuse of his own twin children born via a Thai surrogate.
Our program broke the story on Monday night, just one month after hearts across the globe collectively exploded for baby Gammy, the little boy with Down syndrome abandoned with a poverty-stricken Thai surrogate while his West Australian parents returned home with his healthy twin sister.
Then there’s the Japanese billionaire’s son who fathered 16 babies through 10 Thai surrogates and is currently under investigation for human trafficking and child exploitation.

Admittedly, such stories are rare, particularly when you consider Australians are the biggest per capita users of international surrogacy, with Thailand and India proving to be the destinations of choice when it comes to incubating a baby.
Surrogacy advocates say this is because paying someone to carry your fetus is illegal in Australia; although surrogates can be compensated for medical expenses here, most women wouldn’t put their bodies through the ordeal of labour and childbirth without a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on the side.
Overseas, couples can pay upwards of $30,000 for sperm and eggs – sometimes donated by another woman – to be implanted in an impoverished stranger.
The surrogates themselves are paid anywhere from $3000 to $9000, depending on the agency, for the use of their bodies over nine months.
That amount can represent a decade’s salary to a woman living in the third world, meaning she may face significant pressure from her husband or family to accept the job.
Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker have helped glamorise surrogacy, but let there be no doubt: this is about peddling babies to the highest bidder.

Swedish author and founder of Feminists Against Surrogacy, Kajsa Ekis Ekman, who’s been touring Australia, goes so far as to refer to the baby trade as “reproductive prostitution”.
“It’s a growing industry that if we don’t stop it, I think it’s going to become as big as the prostitution industry and we’re going to have the same side effects like trafficking for surrogacy, which is already starting to come up in parts of the world like China, for example, or Thailand,” Ekman told ABC’s Q&A this week.
Queensland, NSW and the ACT have long acknowledged the moral implications of commodifying pregnancy, making it criminal for residents to travel overseas to engage in commercial surrogacy.
Yet not one person has been prosecuted under the laws, despite many parents knowingly flouting them, according to leading surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page.
Even altruistic surrogacy is fraught with risk.
One Australian surrogate told SBS’s Insight on Tuesday that at her 12-week scan, doctors found out the baby would likely have Edward syndrome, a chromosomal disorder in the same family as Down syndrome.
The parents wanted to terminate and even though the surrogate objected, she went along with their wishes, describing it as “the hardest thing” she’s ever done.
I have deep sympathy for those yearning to start a family – hell, I may even experience their pain myself one day – but at the heart of this issue is whether it is a human “right” to have biological children.
Ekman argues not and I’m inclined to agree, particularly when it comes at the expense of a poorer woman’s welfare.
Caroline Marcus is a journalist with A Current Affair.
Twitter: @carolinemarcus

In the words of Judge Judy: Beauty fades, stupid is forever.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Perhaps she should go out in the world and meet some surrogates. I was one. Four times. I also happen to have a degree in Chemistry and a great job. I make more money at my job than I did as a surrogate. The stereotypes get really old on both sides of this. I pray she is never infertile and never has to "resort" to surrogacy because I fear that no one willingly chooses surrogacy. What a sad article by a uneducated woman.