Stolen Motherhood: Surrogacy and Made-to-Order Children

Neither marginal nor secret, contracting surrogate mothers is growing rapidly and is regarded as socially progressive. Yet the “process” is vitiated from the get go, i.e., commissioning a woman to bear, birth, and surrender a baby.

Surrogacy undermines a woman’s human dignity. It makes her an instrument in other people’s project and attacks her equal gender rights. It also objectivizes and denies the rights of the child to be born.

Countries that have adopted a fait accompli approach (simply regulating) have seen people, coached by shrewd international brokers, go “international.” That only means the surrogate mother is from a poor country with lax legislation while the commissioning parents are from a rich one.

By examining the “surrogacy process” and all its implications, Maria De Koninck reaches the conclusion that the best way forward is an international ban on surrogacy.

Maria De Koninck (PhD) was Université Laval’s first Chair of Women’s Studies. Her research has focused on women’s health, including childbirth and reproductive technologies. Her 20 years of international experience include work on HIV-AIDS in West Africa and maternal mortality (notably for WHO). She lives in Quebec City.

Arielle Aaronson is a Montreal translator with degrees from Concordia and McGill. She has translated both fiction and nonfiction for all audiences.

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