Is having a child a right?
That is a question posed by Mirah Riben. Surrogacy is becoming an increasingly important ethical issue, with governments around the world, including the UK, indicating that they are going to loosen the rules surrounding it. Riben’s post is worth reading in full: she raises important questions. Here is an excerpt.
Are a husband and wife with two kids a house and a dog, a single career woman who decides to be inseminated because time is running out for her to be a mother, a family who decides to foster one or more special needs children, and a gay couple who have a child via surrogacy all equal? Do all of these ways of family building put the needs of the child(ren) before the desires of the adults and are primarily in the child’s best interest? Are all equally accessible to people of all income levels? Is financial means, which allows for multiple options in both controlling reproduction and family building, a good litmus test for parenthood? Most importantly, do all “family building” options protect the rights of children?
Andy Cohen is the executive producer and host of the Bravo nightly series Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Bravo’s late night, interactive talk show, and hosts a two-hour live show with co-host John Hill twice a week. He is executive producer of the Real Housewives franchise, host of the television dating show, Love Connection, and a New York Times best-selling author.
When Cohen, fifty, single, and worth an estimated $15 million dollars, recently publicly announced that he was about to become the father of a child being born to a surrogate, the announcement was met with cheers of joy and accolades in the Hollywood community and the public.
Why? Why is his renting of woman’s body, buying the reproductive services, cheered? Why does anyone celebrate hiring a woman to act as a human incubator? Utilizing the services of prostitutes, even where legal, is not publicly announced, cheered, or celebrated. If one can afford it and enjoys it, why do we not share their pleasure in paying to have a brief intimate relationship and be happy for them? Why does society condemn one and applaud the other? Yes, it is the impending fatherhood that is being celebrated, but does becoming a father make it so very different and justify the means? Where is the concern of those cheering him on for a child brought into the world to be raised by a man old enough to be his or her grandfather? Does his wealth make that OK, too?
Why has having a baby by any means become socially acceptable and a source of pride and joy? Please stop and think about this before having a knee jerk reaction. Andy Cohen is not adopting a child languishing in an orphanage in order to fulfill his desire to be a single dad. He is creating a human being from purchased gametes and having it gestated in a rented womb. The child will be motherless and live out his or her life knowing only half of its genetic medical history. Why celebrate that? Because it is his choice?