On a biological level, there is also the possibility of bonding between a mother and the child in her womb, which poses questions on the “long term implications” for both the women and the children they carry.
She also voiced concern about the effect on the woman’s husband, as well as her other children, who watch their mother go through a pregnancy without understanding why the baby is given away after birth.
Children who think concretely may start to wonder when their mother will give them away too, she said. Lahl believes it is problematic to “turn baby-making into a contractual agreement,” as if one were buying a house.
“We really are buying and selling children,” she said, observing the need for contracts to regulate the transaction.
She explained that legal problems can arise in such transactions, as unexpected complications occur or a surrogate mother develops regrets about giving the baby away.
Even more troubling to Lahl is her view that increasing rates of surrogate pregnancy are “absolutely” changing the way that people think about family.
In a world where it is possible for a child to have one woman donate his genetic material, another woman give birth to him and a third woman raise him, ideas of family and parenthood quickly fall into “confusion.”
Same-sex couples add to the complications, as do intentionally-single mothers, who conceive from donated sperm, she said.
While the culture may accept these alternate understandings of “family” as progressive and tolerant, it does not address the needs of the children, Lahl added.
A former pediatric nurse, she explained that even in cases of adoption, children can feel a great longing to know more about their family tree. Surrogate pregnancies intentionally create a child who lacks a connection to the woman in whose womb he grew and developed, and sometimes to his biological parents as well.
Lahl ultimately sees the process as exploitative, arguing that it involves the use of body parts for money and treats life as a commodity. What needs to be acknowledged, she stressed, is that the child in question “ is another human being.”
(Story continues below)
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