Buoyed by an extra hour of sleep — oh, how I love to “fall back” — I sat down with the only real paper paper I still read: the Sunday Times. Almost immediately, I raced to the Sunday Review, masochistically craving yet more opinion on the looming election.1 But when I got to page 5, I found this piece, in which the friend of a woman who does serial surrogacy describes the surrogate’s life: not just the surrogacy part, but the whole of her life. Read it! There’s a lot to chew over here, so I thought I’d get the baby bouncing by setting up a comment thread here. A few of my own observations, which you can safely ignore in offering your take:
- The piece made me think more broadly about the sense of entitlement to a baby that the piece seems to be criticizing through description. The most arresting example was a couple in their late 50s who, with four teenage boys, decided they wanted a girl. So three embryos were implanted into this surrogate. As I read, I found myself relieved to learn that two of them had been absorbed back into her body. You know there’s something screwed up with a procedure when you’re glad about something like this happening!
- The woman’s life is complex, and rendered sympathetically. But it’s hard to ignore the economic divide between the haves (those ordering up the surrogacy) and the have-nots (the surrogates). Is there a broader discussion about income inequality lurking here? Or does that way lie madness?
- While I don’t have any answers to the issue of what to do about surrogacy, can we at least start by limiting the number of embryos implanted? I’d favor one, but could live with two. Even twins create a greatly elevated risk to the viability of the fetuses and, of course, to the mother’s health.
Whatever you think, articles like this are vital to uncovering the real facts behind what we’re doing — or allowing to happen. Once a topic makes the Review section of the Times, it’s squarely part of the public discourse. But whither, now?
- Why? What more can anyone possibly have to say that I haven’t already read, thought through, and so on? ↩