The Daily Mail recently featured an article titled “Wombs for Rent” that praises the surrogacy enterprise as a means of “transforming the lives of poverty-stricken women” in India.
India has been a hotspot for commercial surrogacy since the early 2000s, particularly for couples from the UK, Australia, and the United States looking to avoid the costly fees associated with surrogates in their home country (like the U.S.) or the complex legal regulations (as found in the UK and Australia).
As is standard fare with many of these stories, anecdotal evidence is offered to show how the money these Indian women receive for serving as surrogates allow their families to start their own businesses, build homes, educate their children, etc. — all thanks to the baby farms (yes, their words, not mine) that produce children for wealthy westerns.
Unfortunately in these articles, there’s no mention of the health and well being of the future child in question. Instead, the emphasis is either on the couple seeking the child or the surrogate women whose live are being improved via the financial compensation (which in India is generally around $5,000 USD). Indeed, an entire industry has been born — now thriving — based on the production of children.
Phrases like “baby farms” are not uncommon in the world of surrogacy. Pregnant women are rarely ever referred to as mothers in an effort dissociate their “service” from the reality of what’s actually taking place. More commonly used are terms like “carrier” or at least in one incident — intended as a slur — “breeder” (hence the title of our new documentary).
Baby farms and carriers. The industry may use whatever terminology they like, but do they really think changing the terms can change the facts? When a woman gives birth to a child that she has spent 9 months bonding with, she is a mother. She knows that — and the child knows it. Any efforts to euphemize this are an affront to mother and child alike.