Vaguely Inappropriate (megathy) wrote,
Vaguely Inappropriate

Ramblings on Surrogacy

So we've talked in a couple classes now about surrogacy and "selling babies" and all that. And a couple of things kind of strike me.

One: I don't have a gut instinct, "THAT IS BAD" reaction to the idea of hiring someone else to carry you're baby just because you don't particularly want to. Despite attempts at correction, taking time off due to maternity does set you back at work. You won't be on partner track anymore. I've been struggling some with the idea of when the hell I'm going to have time to get married or have kids, because once you graduate law school, it's all about the passing the bar, and then you're an associate working towards partner, and you can't take time off for a honeymoon or pregnancy because you have to be working all the time. And the latter is a problem men don't face. I almost see this as a possible stop-gap to the problem of maternity leave. You still get to have a child, it still has your genes, but you haven't taken time off. At the same time, this obviously isn't a long term solution-- eventually we will need to find a way to prevent taking time off to have a baby from automatically signaling that a woman now has to focus on her baby over her career.

It does, however, clearly exacerbate the rich-poor gap. Poorer women will be carrying babies for rich women to enable them to make themselves richer. At the same time, surrogacy is almost exclusively a working class opportunity, not a lower class one. Rich women won't trust truly poor women to carry their child, because of the idea that poor women are poor for a reason: they might have mental disabilities that would prevent them from properly caring for an unborn child, they might have drug addiction, they might have health problems. So the truly poor wouldn't actually benefit from this.

Or be exploited by it? Although I don't really see it as exploitation, I could see how others might. Like I said, rich women wouldn't do this. At the same time, if this is an opportunity for women to make money, why should we deny them that right, when no one is hurt by their actions. (Insert comparison to prostitution here.) But it's not really a preferred job, is it? Then again, since when do the poor ever get preferred jobs? There are a lot of economic issues at play here.

Further, most states require you to show that you are unable to conceive before they will allow you to hire a surrogate. And that seems wrong to me somehow? The state of my body is none of your business. I have made a choice, this other woman has made a choice, how is it your concern? Maybe I just feel that way though because of all the stuff in the first paragraph. I can see the logic in requiring that a surrogate have had children previously; that will effect her ability to determine if she can give up a child she's carried. But some of the other stuff seems silly.

Also, the courts tend to run with this idea that a woman can't really know if she's able to give up a child she's birthed until she's birthed it. Because birthing is special and it makes women emotional. And I don't know what to do with this idea. I think it does women a disservice almost by saying that they're too emotional to make rational decisions. But at the same time, birthing is a huge deal. There are chemical and hormonal changes in your body, that yes, make you emotional. To pretend that isn't true also does a disservice. But to say that a women is completely unable to make that decision beforehand?

That's most of the junk in my head right now about this. I might add more later. But seriously. It's complicated.
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