A surrogate mother is a woman who carries a baby to full term on behalf of someone else. The surrogate mother’s own eggs can be used, fertilized by a sperm from a male donor (intended father), or a couple’s own egg and sperm can be implanted artificially into a woman who will carry the baby to term.
Economically, there are two types of surrogacy, Commercial Surrogacy whereby the woman is paid a fee for the service of carrying the child, or Altruistic Surrogacy where a woman volunteers to be a surrogate mother with no financial compensation, except for medical expenses arising during the pregnancy. Canada, the UK and Australia prohibit commercial surrogacy, but Canada permits altruistic surrogacy.
There is a growing global demand for commercial surrogacy, an industry which has grown to an estimated $14 billion in 2022 and, by 2032, this figure is forecast to rise to $129 billion. This growth in the industry is due to a growing number of same-sex couples and single individuals looking for ways to have babies.
Until last year, Ukraine was the world’s second largest surrogacy market, behind the US. Couples were attracted to Ukraine’s lower fees and favourable regulations. This all changed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022. The conflict pushed the industry into nearby countries such as Georgia, as well as into Mexico and Latin America, where the favourable regulations closely mirror that of Ukraine.
Commercial Surrogacy is Expensive
Commercial surrogacy is expensive, at around $40,000 – $50,000 in Georgia and about $60,000 – $70,000 in Mexico. This compares to an average of $120,000 or higher in the US. The demand for surrogacy is driven primarily by individuals residing in wealthy Western countries.
The main driving force for women to become surrogate mothers is financial. The procedure draws vulnerable women into the industry but there is a large disparity between the fees received by the clinics and its physicians and the earnings of the surrogate mother, who usually earns only $12,000 to $20,000. This is taking advantage of vulnerable women who struggle financially, renting their bodies for a process that is physically and psychologically demanding. These women are definitely victims of the procedure. Surrogacy also raises the issue of child trafficking (selling a baby) and human rights violations.
No International Standards
It is shocking that there are no international standards for surrogacy. Laws differ from country to country and, in the US, from state to state. For example, Idaho, formerly known for its potatoes and rugged landscape, is now also known as the unofficial capital for surrogacy in the US. This is due to its lack of regulations on surrogacy which creates a “wild west”, with no legal certainty about surrogate contracts. This may soon change as a bill is currently under consideration to regulate the practice.
Declaration to Ban Surrogacy
This astonishing and troubling lack of standards led to a hundred experts from 75 countries signing a declaration demanding the abolition of surrogacy because it offends human rights, including the exploitation of women, and the trafficking of children in a practice that commodifies them. This Declaration was signed on March 3, 2023 in Casablanca, Morocco, because Morocco bans surrogacy completely.
The banning of surrogacy cannot come soon enough because it not only exploits mothers and children, but also has given rise to horrendous abuses. For example:
- A celebrity gay couple in the US claims to have created a dozen embryos and barcoded them prior to deciding which embryo to implant in the womb of a surrogate mother. One of the celebrity partners is famous for obscenity and sexualising children. This raises the critical point that the adults who procure children in surrogacy undergo no screening or background checks.
- A homosexual, “married” couple in Atlanta, Georgia, acquired two sons by surrogacy. Friends and relatives were at a loss as to how this couple had so much money even though they had ordinary jobs. They had built a dream home in an exclusive area in Atlanta and lived the high life. The answer came when this couple was charged in August 2022 with heinous sexual crimes against the two boys. They sodomized their two adopted sons and then pimped them out to local men and also sold videos of the boys being raped.
- Celebrity Paris Hilton and her husband underwent seven fertility cycles from which they froze 20 embryos. All the embryos, however, were boys and Ms. Hilton wanted a girl. She has now undergone yet another fertility cycle, hoping that the embryos produced include a female. Meanwhile, the 20 male embryos remain frozen at the fertility clinic. If Ms. Hilton finds a suitable embryo, she plans to hire a surrogate to carry the child for her as she states that she is terrified of childbirth. In essence, if one is wealthy enough, why not avoid the discomfort of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth by paying someone else to undergo the process for you?
Parenthood under surrogacy has been reduced to picking and choosing the most “desirable” embryo and abandoning the rest. According to experts in the fertility industry, embryo abandonment is happening on a massive scale within the US. Couples “ghost” (withdraw) from the in vitro fertilization clinics leaving frozen children in their wake–hundreds of thousands in the US alone and more in other countries.