Trivializing surrogacy and infertility

Last night, I watched Q&A in ABC TV hosting the panel discussion "100% Women 100% Dangerous". There were few interesting topics discussed, but I was appalled by the thoughts of Swedish writer, journalist and activist Kajsa Ekis Ekman as she believed surrogacy is the same as child trafficking and prostitution (see a review of her book here). Having read so many personal stories of people affected by the kind heartedness of people who agree to be surrogates, I was infuriated by the generalization of this matter. I always thought surrogacy was an ultimate sacrifice, and a ultimate gift of love. Having gone through infertility, I could only imagine how much it would mean to the receiving parents. I understand that, like with everything else, commercialization has hit surrogacy as well, and people in poor economic conditions are exploited for this noble (in my viewpoint) cause, but I thought people saw the greater good in all of this.

Because I was left thinking on this topic (and being angry at the journalist) for a long time after the program, I decided to read a little bit on it this morning, and came across an article by Amrita Pande where, as a part of her thesis, she interviews some surrogates in a 'surrogacy clinic' in India (note, Kajsa's a lot of views were based on Amrita's research). Again, I was disappointed by the simplification of the whole giving process of surrogacy at the clinic. The sacrifice plus empowerment felt by the surrogate women were only because of their ability to improve the financial conditions of their families. Nothing about the happiness of fulfilling the dreams of the receiving couple. Still, I get that. Although I haven't faced poverty myself, I have seen it first hand in my own home country. I understand the simplicity of the minds of these people who struggle to make their ends meet. And I respect that.

What I don't understand is the way media treats the parents who are looking for surrogates. It is turned into an inhuman process where people pay for someone else to provide a womb for a baby because they just can't give up having a child with their genetics or worse still, because they don't want to ruin their figure (tsk! tsk! tantrums of rich white people!). They say that if someone can't have their own children, they should either just give up (which is simply too rude!) or go for adoption. I can't be amazed at how people simply suggest that infertile people should just adopt. As if adoption is a simple process that completes in a few months after you choose which baby you want. As if adoption hasn't created issues like kidnapping and child trafficking. As if a lot of those who has chosen adoption or surrogacy hasn't had to take second or third mortgage.

Worst of all, when surrogacy is mentioned, no one EVER first sings praises of a lot of surrogates who do it for free, just because of their greatness of heart, and I really think it SHOULD be.

Again, I don't have personal experience in surrogacy, but I am always raged by people expressing views on matters that they have no experience. Only thing that helps me calm my anger a bit is the fact that I myself was highly opinionated about a few matters until I was humbled by the stories of what infertile women go through.

My update

I didn't expect my first post after the news of miscarriage to be in such an emotional topic. Guess it reflects that I have been extremely moody since I got the news two weeks ago. Physically, I am healing well after the D&C last week. Emotionally too, the healing was lot better than I expected to, as the beginning was quite bad. But I get moments of weakness and extreme sadness from time to time, without warning. Bad news about my uncle's unexpected death and my grandma's heart attack is testing my faith even more. Another unsuccessful job interview added to the frustration with life.  Life is back to how it had been few months before, and I am struggling to stay positive. So for now, I'm living one day at a time.  

3 comments :

  1. One day at a time is all you can do.

    I can't even go into the surrogacy thing. It makes me SO ANGRY when people suggest 'just adopting' - it's just a completely arrogant and unhelpful thing to say. Sometimes I'm jealous of the USA since they seem to have an adoption system that's a heck of a lot more organised than ours.

    But anyway.... one battle at a time. Sending healing thoughts your way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, such rage-making and ignorant reporting!! Like you said, there probably is a lot of exploitation taking place in the surrogacy sector world-wide and especially poorer countries, but why is the reporting always so one-sided and why are the heroic stories never indeed reported on to balance the viewpoint?!

    I'm so sorry to hear about the sad news in your family. One day at a time sounds like a good mantra for the moment. Just hang in there. I'll pray for better things to come Thinking of you.xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. So sorry to hear that your family is going through a rough time. Thoughts and prayers to all of you.

    And big hugs to you. It is totally understandable that you are feeling very emotional right now, and I think it sounds like you're doing very well. Like you said, one day at a time. This is a process and each day is a little different.

    ReplyDelete