People are so great to send us tips and information as it relates to the work we do here at the CBC. Just last week, I received an email from a woman who was rightfully very concerned to see a surrogacy ad placement in the MOPs Magazine, Holiday edition 2022. The agency, “Made in the USA” had a full-page full color ad with a cute sleeping baby, offering $60,000+ to “make family possible”. The qualifications were simple: be a U.S. citizen, have a BMI of 30 or less, must have had one prior uncomplicated pregnancy, and you must be excited and ready to give back!
This woman was quite distressed, writing me saying, “I discovered that MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), a Christian parachurch ministry based in Colorado Springs, is actively encouraging its members to become surrogates. When I discovered the advertisement, I was dumbfounded. When my children were little, I was a MOPS member. I never dreamed that they would advocate this unethical method of pregnancy to their young mothers. I did reach out to MOPS and received what I consider to be a completely disheartening response.”
These kinds of emails are very encouraging to us as we know our efforts are not in vain. This woman saw something egregious and not only wrote to us but also contacted leadership at MOPs to express her concerns. She shared the response she received back from MOPs with me:
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the surrogacy advertisement in the most recent MOPS magazine. We always welcome feedback, whether positive or negative, as this helps us grow in our ministry to moms around the world.
Please know, MOPS International serves a wide range of moms with varying backgrounds (natural birth, adoption, IVF, surrogacy, etc.) and we felt that this was an appropriate opportunity to share with moms in the MOPS audience. I’m sure there are advocates for both ends of the spectrum on the surrogacy debate and it was never our intention to share this opportunity as merely a money-making venture.
The heart was truly to share this opportunity as a way for moms to help other women who may be struggling to become moms naturally. Our own MOPS staff have personally encountered many surrogacy success stories. Where (sic) working with a reputable agency, such as the one advertised, offered a mom the opportunity to have biological children even when her own womb was not able to carry a pregnancy.
We recognize that there are some out there who choose to misuse the option of surrogacy, which is why we wanted to connect with a legitimate agency focused on properly connecting women interested in the surrogate process. We also recognize that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mothering. Our goal is to offer a variety of options for moms to find what works best for them and their unique situation.
I, of course, wasted no time in contacting MOPs directly asking to speak with the leadership of the organization. At the time of this writing, I’m waiting to hear if I there will be a phone call to discuss but I’m told that the President and one of the V.P. of MOPs are reviewing the material I sent them. If I’m successful in speaking with them, I want to explain to them that surrogacy is never an appropriate opportunity and ask them if they are aware of the risks to women and babies who are put in harms way in a surrogacy pregnancy. I’d like to ask them how they vetted this agency and what in their mind made them think this agency is legitimate? I’d also like to know how much #BigFertility paid MOPs to place their ad in their magazine. I can imagine in the mind of #BigFertility ad placement in a magazine reaching millions of young mothers is like striking gold.
UPDATE: Upon reaching out to and talking with the leadership of MOPs they told me they are sorry for running this ad which is not in line with their organizational values and mission of upholding and equipping moms. They will be sharing with me their public statements once it is finalized.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.