by Emily Lataif
For our second event of the semester, the University of Dallas Anscombe Society hosted Jennifer Lahl, a bioethicist and award winning filmmaker, who spoke at the Love and Fidelity Network’s 2015 national conference, Sexuality, Integrity, and the University. Hailing from California and having recently traveled across Europe to talk about the ethical, medical, and sociological problems with surrogacy, Lahl stopped by Irving, Texas to deliver her talk entitled, “What’s Wrong with Surrogacy?” Over 50 University of Dallas students attended the event.
One obstacle we face when talking about the problems with surrogacy, as with many of these issues, is the charge that we’re not compassionate. Why would we stand in the way of helping couples have a child? Don’t we want to help families grow and thrive? The answer of course is yes. But the means to that end aren’t always justified, as in the case of surrogacy. When we look at women as simply “pre-birth babysitters,” as Lahl told us one surrogate mother called herself, we cease to view them as worthy of dignity and respect as women. We also sadly diminish the important and irreplaceable relationship a mother forms with her child.
Expectant mothers are often told that the bond they form with their child begins in the womb. This is no different for mothers who are carrying someone else’s child or their child who they have no intention of raising. Surrogacy tears children from their biological parents and often creates situations in which children don’t even know who their parents are. Furthermore, when women are offered monetary compensation for surrogacy, we encourage a culture of buying and selling children – in other words, human trafficking. Much more could be written about the tragic side effects of taking the chemical-laden drugs that are supposed to increase fertility. Or the financial risk couples take not knowing if their paid surrogate will actually conceive. Or the heartache when children discover that the parents raising them are not actually their biological parents. In our broken society, we should be doing everything possible to keep mothers and fathers with their children. Lahl stressed the importance of preserving intact families to the extent we can.
Emily Lataif is a senior at the University of Dallas studying English and the founder and president of the UD Anscombe Society.