Monday, April 21, 2014

What Reasons are "Good Enough" For Using a Surrogate?

Elle Magazine posted this article regarding women who choose to use surrogates to carry their children not because of a medical need, but as they put it, as "social" need.  They are worried pregnancy will hurt their career, their body, etc.

This is one of those articles that was put out there specifically to create more controversy about surrogacy, but I do think it brought up some good points and made me stop and think about whether I'd be willing to carry for someone like "Mari."  For me, the answer is a resounding no.

I understand that some people are very career driven, and that their absence from their field can be dangerous because they may be irrelevant by the time they return.  That's fine.  But in my opinion, those people shouldn't be having kids.  It seems that so many people have forgotten that kids are not a commodity that you simply acquire as a next step after getting married.  Children require your time, your love, and your presence throughout life.  You make sacrifices for them from the day they are conceived until the day you die.  If someone is worried that a 9 month pregnancy will hurt their job too much, how are they going to react when their kid has the stomach flu on the day of a big meeting, or they have to be up three times a night for a week soothing a teething infant?  Will they just hire someone to deal with those issues too?  Are they going to be willing and able to take maternity leave from their jobs?  Will they have enough time for their children to be there to celebrate their successes, soothe them in their sorrows, and just let them know they are loved?  Pregnancy is one of the smallest sacrifices you make in parenthood.  The hard part comes after they your baby is born.

Another thing about this rubs me the wrong way, and that is how she thinks she will just "hire someone" to carry her child in the same way she would hire someone to clean her house.  By saying she doesn't have enough time for pregnancy, it implies that she thinks surrogates are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to do.  Surrogates make many sacrifices - both personal and professional - to carry a baby for another.  To equate that to someone who provides any other service, even for compensation, ignores the fact that we are sacrificing time with our children, taking time off from our jobs, and putting our health and our LIVES on the line so that they can become parents.  And more importantly, the reason most surrogates do what they do is because they want to feel like they helped create or complete a family that wouldn't have come to be otherwise.

Now I realize that many of the IMs out there are this woman, fast forwarded 5 or 10 years.  In their 30s they were too busy with their careers to be ready to have children, now that they are finally ready they are in their 40s and it's too late.  Are these women really any more deserving of having children than the woman in this article?  After all, it's their fault they waited so long.

I'm sure this answer is different for each person, but for me, I do think they are more deserving. Why?  Because they are ready to have kids.  They are to the point where they want children more than anything else, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get them here.  And I think that woman, even though she may be considered "too old" by some to be a parent, is going to be a much better mother than she would have been if she had had children 10 years ago, when she wasn't ready to make them her first priority.

That said, this is America, and people are free to do whatever they want.  If this woman wants to hire a surrogate, I'm sure she'll find a match who doesn't have any problem with her chosen path to parenthood.  That's what's so great about this surrogacy thing, there is a match for everyone, and it helps all types of people achieve parenthood!

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