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Students Discuss Surrogacy at the University of Dallas

by Emily Lataif

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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. 

Keep an eye out for our final event on April 13th – a faculty panel on the importance of fathers to society. See you at Integrity in Action! 

Emily Lataif is a senior at the University of Dallas studying English and the founder and president of the UD Anscombe Society.

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One Response to Students Discuss Surrogacy at the University of Dallas

  1. Brian Zack says:

    1. “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.” – – – This is a complete non sequitur. There is absolutely no logical connection between the two clauses.
    2. “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.” – – – This ignores the relevant alternative here. The pertinent option is not “normal” biological parenting. It is the non-existence of the child and the inability of the adults who obviously urgently desire to be parents to start a family. – – – “The perfect is the enemy of the good” is a very wise saying.
    3.”Furthermore, when women are offered monetary compensation for surrogacy, we encourage a culture of buying and selling children – in other words, human trafficking.” – – – This is just utter nonsense. A child is being brought into being through the motivation and actions of prospective parents who stand every chance of being loving and caring as “normal” biological parents. The surrogate is being paid for her contribution to this process. All is done with full consent. No one is harmed. This has absolutely nothing to do with human trafficking.
    4. “Much more could be written about the tragic side effects of taking the chemical-laden drugs that are supposed to increase fertility.” – – – Of course the surrogate should be fully informed of all risks and side effects. To say that she should be prevented from acting as a surrogate to protect her from her own actions, despite fully informed consent, is to paternalistically deny her the basic dignity and respect due to her as an adult human. In this context, this is rather ironic.
    5. “Or the financial risk couples take not knowing if their paid surrogate will actually conceive.” Ditto #4 above. It is a bit silly to posit that the couple paying the surrogate should be assumed to be so ignorant that they cannot understand that conception may not occur.
    6. “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.” – – – Seriously? The alternative here is not a biologically intact family; it is the non-existence of the child. How many children of non-biological parents would prefer not to exist?
    7. I would be very appreciative of any comments or responses.
    – Brian Zack, M.D., Princeton, NJ

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