Third party reproduction is when someone (married, single, straight, gay lesbian, intersex) has a “gestational carrier” (legal term) as a “third party”carrier to deliver a lovely baby. Commonly this is referred to as surrogacy. What are the effects of using third party reproduction and when sometimes laws fall short? What is the impact on the innocent child? Also, one has to differentiate between “intent” Vs. “state of laws and its effects”. The scenarios below can be any fertile person who wants to help an infertile person, this could have been you. That doesn’t mean infertile people are bad OR infertility is wrong, it just means just like everything else in life, there are a few bad apples and we need laws to both protect and ensure rights of innocent and provide a “check and balance” system so it can serve as a deterrent for a few bad apples to even contemplate something so heinous. How much enough is enough? Rosa Parks stood up against prevailing laws because it was enough. Seeing our innocent children get punished and hurt is enough for an intersex, immigrant, IVF family to speak up.
Legally, IVF children born through donor and surrogate who are not your spouse are deemed as children “born out of wedlock”. As offensive as it is (insenuates affairs, infidelity, etc) and deserves its own separate discussion, then how does an infertile couple have a child “born in marriage” legally? What are the legal implications on innocent children born this way? What rights do children have when born during a divorce? Are they legally non-existent and invisible? Why double standards in dealing with two IVF/Surrogacy children who are born exactly the same way? One was lied about while other was being truthful. Is the message that lies which happens to break laws should be rewarded? And how does this status quo help change unequal laws? The real threat is the unequal laws and so more unsuspecting, innocent fertile people (men or women) will be targeted and so will their IVF children “born out of wedlock”. Sadly our lives are ruled by laws (equal or unequal) and not ruled by compassion. Its ironic that compassion is lost in some cases because at the very core of surrogacy, its the compassion to help a fellow human being.
1) First, “surrogacy” or “third party reproduction” itself is controversial. You may find people who are strictly opposed to it Vs. those who find it necessary to have a child. Neither came to this decision overnight. What is right or wrong, who is to decide? What is unacceptable today may be acceptable 10-20-30-40 years from now. Regardless of which side of the discussion one finds themselves, rights of all involved including the child and surrogate should be respected and protected by laws. Lack of laws leads to denial of rights and denial of justice to the innocent like the IVF/Surrogacy child.
2) If a woman uses donor egg and donor sperm and using IVF gets pregnant and carries the children to term and gives birth, is she a “surrogate” or a “gestational carrier” or a “mother”? Her every intent was to have children and raise them lovingly. Lack of laws leads to denial of rights and denial of justice to innocent like the IVF/Surrogacy child.
3) If a woman uses donor sperm and surrogate and using her own egg has IVF/Surrogacy children, are the children “siblings” as intended and is she the “primary care provider” by actions and is she the “mother”? Her every intent was to have children and raise them lovingly together. Lack of laws leads to denial of rights and denial of justice to innocent like the IVF/Surrogacy child.
4) If a man uses donor egg and surrogate and using his own sperm has IVF/Surrogacy children, are the children “siblings” as intended and is he the “primary care provider” by actions and is he the “father”? His every intent was to have children and raise them lovingly together. Lack of laws leads to denial of rights and denial of justice to innocent like the IVF/Surrogacy child.
Rarely are siblings split. Even rarely, IVF siblings are split up. In fact, loving IVF parents go through great lengths to keep IVF siblings united despite the archaic laws. Then why are IVF children of an IVF father being split? Can we spare the innocent children?
Like any other technology, it can be used for good or bad. While a few bad apples may ruin it for all, it is the responsibility of government to provide laws which ensure and protect the rights of all and provide appropriate checks and balance in the system. If Commercial Surrogacy is banned within countries like US (some states), UK, Australia (some states), Canada, France, Germany, etc., one can imagine what havoc it can create when surrogacy is involved internationally especially with some areas operating either with no laws or laws are being broken, how does one get justice? It is a fact there are NO international laws for IVF/Surrogacy while we do have international laws for child abduction and child adoption in the best interest of the child. So who PROTECTS and ENSURES the rights of an international IVF/Surrogacy child? Or should people who manipulate the inconsistencies at the cost of innocent children denying their rights and surrogates be let off?
1) While rare, it may occur that a woman is raped and gets pregnant. Instead of making sense of the trauma of being raped, its a very sensitive time for her as she decides what to do with the child? Worse, she may be subjected to “blame the victim” approach during this horrendous time including name calling, false allegations, defamation, etc.
2) Sometimes a woman may have got pregnant with deceit where a male partner promises support for the child to be but only to abandon the child when born and the left-behind parent is left to pick up the pieces. If there was NO consent, there would be NO child.
In both these cases, there are laws to protect the victims and especially the innocent child. Is the same true for innocent children born through international IVF/surrogacy? Child is a child, right?
3) Sometimes, what if a male who is part of an infertile marriage and in order to help infertility, jointly with the infertile spouse consents to have an IVF/Surrogacy child. Using his own sperm and with help of compassionate egg donor and surrogate decides to have a child with joint consent alongwith the infertile spouse. Later, the infertile spouse decides to not take custody of the child and abandons them. Its rare for a male to be deceited in pregnancy, but that’s what new technology like IVF/Surrogacy presents in some cases. What are the protections and forms of relief that laws provide? If there was NO consent, there would be NO child.
4) What if both intended parents abandon the child, is the surrogate left in a very sensitive situation as she decides what to do for the child she wasn’t planning to raise? What are the rights of an abandoned surrogate? Who pays her? Who raises the child?
Its rare to get pregnant when raped, its rare to have an abandoned IVF child as a surrogate, question is what do you do when it happens? What are the protections and forms of relief through justice that laws provide?
What if a male partner who used his sperm and had a child with compassion of egg donor and surrogate but did NOT abandon the child, should he (rather his innocent child) be getting help from the laws or should there be a “blame the victim” approach against the left-behind IVF parent during this horrendous time including name calling, false allegations, defamation, etc. Is his fault NOT wanting to abandon the child or is his fault for daring to state the truth and for seeking justice for his innocent children? In the bigger sense, he helped infertility where laws itself fall short, what have others and the laws done to help infertility? It is one thing to want to solve world hunger and another to actually take specific actions to ensure no one sleeps hungry.
For any person, discrimination is hard to digest. We all would like to live in a discrimination-free world but reality is different. For a parent, as an adult, they learn to accept facts on discrimination of various kinds but to have their children be discriminated, its the straw that breaks the camel’s back and one has to speak up. Life is unfair, life is unequal but why should innocent children have to be the ones to learn it, shouldn’t it be something an infertile adult understands meaning shouldn’t they be petitioning for equal fertility rights rather than splitting innocent siblings?