I watched this story on morning news last year and wondered how many people would hear past the sad story of cancer and infertility to the implications of what the story is promoting. While I have empathy for Sally Obermeder's circumstance, both her cancer ordeal and subsequent infertility, the way in which she proposes Australia addresses situations such as hers should sound a cautionary alarm for all women.
Sally has engaged a US woman to act as a surrogate to provide her a child. The US woman has had 4 of Sally's embryos implanted in her womb with only the final one resulting in a continuing pregnancy. Sally is using her situation to promote commercial surrogacy in Australia, stating that not offering it is an act of discrimination toward women with fertility problems or lacking a relationship.
Sit with that for a minute. If women cannot buy wombs for rent, to carry their children, she proposes that they are discriminated against.
She goes on to talk about the fact that the actual money that is given to the woman is not that much, after all the biggest expenses are in the IVF procedures and associated medical costs themselves.
IVF is a growing and successful enterprise which attracts money making investors. These are people with an absolute vested interest in increasing IVF rates and costs so that they can make money.
So what Sally is suggesting is that women should endure surgical interventions that are not without the potential of harm, spend nine months carrying an unborn child, then give birth and hand the child over to the rightful parent for a small amount of money while big investors make their thousands.
She is not only suggesting this should happen in Australia; she is saying that if it doesn't happen it is an act of discrimination.
I wonder what this will mean if we buy that line on this issue? What if women don't want to carry babies for other women, even for money? I wonder how long they will be able to say no, if in fact we view it as discriminatory not to? It isn't difficult to work out which women will be first in line to endure the physical and emotional pain of bearing children for other women for a bit of extra money if they are living in challenging economic circumstances.
Babies should never be made available for sale. Nor should women's bodies be viewed as commodities in either their entirety or their parts. Wombs for rent and babies for sale is what Sally wants. No matter how sad her story, we should make a loud and clear stand against any moves toward such a society.
Please educate yourself on this issue. Learn how surrogacy exploits women, using their bodies and body parts, makes commodities of the lives of children, and devalues all in the process.
Renate Klein's new book is a must read.
Get your copy today.