Monday, December 14, 2009

Reproductive prostitutes

From the Brave New World files: the definition of "parent" gets even more confusing with this story from the New York Times:

Bridget and Ethan are now in the custody of the surrogate who gave birth to them, Laschell Baker of Ypsilanti, Mich. Ms. Baker had obtained a court order to retrieve them after learning that Ms. Kehoe was being treated for mental illness.

“I couldn’t see living the rest of my life worrying and wondering what had happened, or what if she hadn’t taken her medicine, or what if she relapsed,” said Ms. Baker, who has four children of her own.

Now, she and her husband, Paul, plan to raise the twins.

The creation of Ethan and Bridget tested the boundaries of the field known as third-party reproduction, in which more than two people collaborate to have a baby. Five parties were involved: the egg donor, the sperm donor, Ms. Baker and the Kehoes. And two separate middlemen brokered the egg and sperm.

You'll have to read the whole thing; there's no way this isn't complicated. The Kehoes were the infertile couple who wanted the children; they found their own egg donor and sperm donor, and Ms. Baker was the one who carried the children--but she's no more biologically linked to them than the Kehoes are. Yet she has custody of them. Their actual parents were simply people paid to be reproductive prostitutes, in effect.

I don't use a loaded term like that lightly. But what else should we call people who sell their genetic material to the highest bidders, knowing full well that the intention of the buyers is to fabricate children and grow them in a human incubator? The "egg broker" who sold the Kehoes the eggs that became Bridget and Ethan shows some facile remorse:

“When they go bad, it’s so sad,” said Mitzi Heineman, the Michigan broker who supplied Ms. Kehoe’s donor eggs. “You feel sorry for the baby. Who are the baby’s parents?”

Maybe the broker, or "egg pimp" as I'm now going to call such people, would be better off if she asked the hard questions ahead of time--or, better still, got out of such a demeaning and foul and utterly evil industry in the first place.


Kindred Spirit said...

May God have mercy on this sick society!

Anonymous said...

Utterly agree with sentiments as stated with regard to tinkering with reproductive functions. (Although, it was rather taxing to sort out the synopsis just for the retelling.)

Egg donor said...
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