“It’s generally believed that the transaction is purely commercial”

…by the purchasers, of course. Because I’m sure I don’t know who else could believe this nonsense. Carrying, nay constructing, a future human being in one’s own body for nine months doesn’t involve anything other than money…just ask people who’ve never done it! (Shit, I’VE never done it, and I know better than this!)

Now, assuming any of you fine, fine parents-by-surrogacy out there really want to know, which you nigh universally do not, this purely commercial transaction bullshit is bullshit. I mean, was it “purely commercial” for you to finally get the baby you dreamed of all these years? No emotions involved at all? Oh, that’s right, you’re not “birth mothers” or “rental wombs”–you’re real live humans! How DO I keep forgetting such an obvious and vital distinction?

Anyway, this article tells the stories of three rental wombs who had the brazen (and fertile!) ovaries to Feel Things about their vending machine status and the products it produced. Who would have thought? And isn’t the progressive and compassionate BBC just swell to give these vessels a voice? I mean, otherwise, how would anyone who matters know that poor and/or Indian womanshapedthings have emotions?

These women’s stories sound eerily familiar to me, and there’s a reason for that. S. Sumati says

I was still under sedation when they removed the baby. I never set eyes on it. […]

When I gained consciousness, my first words to my husband were, ‘Did you see the baby? Is it a boy or a girl?’

He said he hadn’t seen it. I asked my doctor, but she didn’t answer my question.

‘You are a surrogate mother, you shouldn’t ask these questions,’ she said.

But I want to know about the baby. I want to know where he or she is and what it is studying.

The second interviewee, Anandi Chelappaun, describes being sent away:

While I was in the hostel, my family was allowed to visit only once a month and that was very hard for me.

I was warned that whatever happened, I couldn’t go home, but then thankfully nothing untoward happened which required me to visit [my family].

Jothi Lakshmi says

My mother and mother-in-law [..] didn’t speak to me during my pregnancy.

I never laid eyes on the baby and I think maybe it was for the best because if I had seen it, I would have felt very guilty giving it up.

But it was hard, I had felt the baby move in my belly, I had become attached to it, and I couldn’t see it. It just disappeared.

For about two-three years, I felt very bad and I lost a lot of weight.

But now I don’t want to see it. At home, we don’t talk about it. I even discourage my husband from talking about it because I know it belongs to someone else.

I have made peace with myself.

Tell me you can distinguish these three stories from the accounts of many BSE-era relinquishing mothers, because I can’t. Isn’t it wonderful how adoption has changed? Now you can purchase your child outright, without the least wisp of worry that you’re doing anything wrong (just like before, when you could tell yourself you were doing that slut a favor in helping her get on with her life). And you get to leave that incubator on the other side of the planet where she belongs and never worry think about  her again (just like the good ol’ days when you could be sure that shame would keep your baby’s adoption delivery system-thingummy from ever looking for your child).

This is what parents-by-surrogacy want and what they pay for. The Baby Scoop Era, with its thousands of suffering women and confused children, remains the gold standard in *adoption. All these decades later, it is what almost anyone who hears the word “adoption” believes the word means. The average PAP will pay any amount of money to attain this experience, or one as close to it as they can get. (Some, of course, will do worse.)

Surrogacy is actually superior to gold standard adoption in that you may very well receive a baby who’s genetically your own. So here’s another BSE question for you parents: Are you going to tell him/her? Don’t you think it might confuse him/her to know s/he was purchased out of a brown womb on the other side of the planet?

Adoption will never change unless and until those who pump money into it and benefit from it want it to change, and they don’t seem to want that at all. Why aren’t more people ashamed of themselves?

* (or “reproductive choices,” or whatever we’re supposed to call the buffet of child-procuring methods rich white westerners get to choose from)




Filed under Colonialism ROCKS!, General Ignoramitude, Misognyny, Sad and beautiful

15 responses to ““It’s generally believed that the transaction is purely commercial”

  1. I recently read a book written by a white woman who used a surrogate from India. When she and her husband first started talking about surrogacy, they mentioned it to their friends, and most of their friends’ reactions were somewhere in between “huh?” and “cool.” But they had one friend who said “Noooo how can you even THINK of doing something so horribly unethical” and the woman said this particular friend’s reaction made her decide for certain that she was definitely going to pursue surrogacy. I had to stop and read that paragraph several times to let it sink in. Her friend outright telling her “This is wrong” tripped a switch in her to make her decide she was definitely going to do this.

  2. Reblogged this on elle cuardaigh and commented:
    When I grow up, I want to be a snark-urchin.

  3. Lara/Trace

    This whole scenario is like a nightmare, science fiction, yet it is really happening. I feel very very very sick now.

    • I know. How is this real? How is it justified by so many people?

      Unfortunately, I’ll have another post on the subject up pretty soon (next week, probably). It will address what a doctor to surrogate mothers in India has to say, and it is gods-awful.

      • Lara/Trace

        I am grateful you can write about this. I get comments occasionally on surrogates and will send them to your blog.

  4. Right on the nail as always SnarkUrch!! Good stuff. If I wasn’t so old I’d want to be a Snarkurchin when I grew up too! x

  5. And while we’re at it, there was another book, that in some ways wasn’t as bad because the surrogate willingly volunteered, but these parents would have exploited someone if they’d been able to raise enough money, which they were asking for right and left. They were infertile because the wife had a very, very serious physical handicap. This was a punch in the stomach for me because both of my parents were disabled, and while I’m glad I’m alive, NOBODY seemed to show ANY concern for this potential kid. I mean, at the time I was born, one of my parents was not yet disabled and the other one’s disability was not that bad–things dropped off a precipice when I was about seven–but asking for money to START a baby when you’re already seriously disabled? Yeah, there’s a thing about disability rights, but NO ONE seems to be thinking about the baby. That baby is going to grow up feeling he has to defend his parents and avoid any and all honesty or self-care regarding his childhood. Makes me want to turn into a snarkurchin myself!

  6. Genie

    Fascinating to come upon your blog via Lara / Trace, it’s got me wondering about people who are married and one of them is infertile, the man, and the woman says she has to have a child at any cost, so they get a sperm donor (genetic shopping) and have children that way, the “father” who is not the biological father adopts the children and they clam that everything is hunky dory okay, but it doesn’t appear that way to me and others who ware watching the children grow up.
    Do you have any opinions on this issue that has become rather large in these days of “designer babies”?

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