The surrogacy industry got its start based on the same principles of bodily autonomy and privacy that piloted Roe v. Wade and abortion—what the surrogate or egg donor does with her own body is her business, no one else’s. Like a barnacle, this “gestational service” attached itself to the ideology of Assisted Reproductive Technology: embryonic human life is disposable and, to the theory of economic imperialism, we should have markets in virtually everything, including “reproductive labor.”
Then, on the one side, gestation-for-hire activists sweetened these principles with maudlin surrogacy accounts from celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian, and Elton John. And, on the other, they’ve hawked commercial surrogacy as an ideal way for a same-sex couple to conceive a child with whom they share a partial genetic kinship. As a result, America’s “Rent-a-Womb” industry now rakes in billions of dollars from its annual 22% increase of surrogate baby births. The global surrogacy market is expected to exceed $27.5 billion by 2025.
Here, Christian anthropology, medical facts, and contemporary surrogacy cases help to connect the dots of (1) the exploitation of the surrogate woman to (2) the abuse of the surrogate baby to (3) the moral erosion of society at large.
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