Just the other day on our way to church, my husband told me of a disturbing news story he heard on the radio while at work. It was reported, that some barren Irish couples (or homosexuals) are now travelling to India, to have children via an Indian surrogate mother. The Irish couple who were interviewed on the radio, complained about living in such a "backward" country such as Ireland, where they felt people should be able to avail of surrogacy, without having to travel to India to
The following is the subsequent news report that ran in the Irish Times just today (my highlights underlined)- (for the full article please click here):
JASON AND ROSS, a gay couple from Dublin in their 30s, are busy packing their bags with nappies, baby wipes, and toddlers’ clothes. “I suppose this isn’t your everyday pregnancy,” says Ross, with more than a hint of understatement.
They’re on their way to catch a plane to India. In a few hours, they’ll see their new-born twins for the first time – a baby boy, Nicholas, and baby girl, Alexis. Their birth is part of a growing trend of using surrogate mothers to carry children for couples who can’t have a child due to fertility problems or, as in Jason and Ross’s case, the lack of a partner of the opposite sex.
Nicholas and Alexis’s birth was was made possible through the involvement of four different parties: the egg of a Canadian donor was fertilised with sperm of Jason and Ross; the resulting embryo was then transferred to an Indian surrogate mother. In addition, two different organisations in the US and India facilitated the egg donation and surrogacy process.
In building their family, Jason and Ross are at the forefront of a reproductive revolution which is re-shaping our definition of the human family.
In Ireland, there is no law governing surrogacy. The Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction concluded in 2005 that surrogacy should be permitted, subject to regulation, but nothing has been done about this. As a result, would-be parents in search of surrogate mothers are going abroad to countries such as the US, India or the Ukraine, where there are well-defined legal frameworks. There are no official figures for surrogate children in Ireland, although passport authorities here are aware of at least 35 children over the past 18 months.
Surrogacy is proving a vital source of hope for childless, would-be parents. But the emerging commercial market for surrogate babies is also raising unsettling ethical questions. In stark contrast with adoption – which requires a thorough and often painfully slow vetting process – anyone can enter into a surrogacy arrangement abroad, whether they are suitable parents or not.
Finding a surrogate mother was another challenging step. The cost of surrogacy in the US was prohibitive – all in, it was likely to cost them around €100,000. So, they looked to India. After searching around, they opted for a centre in Delhi which was recommended by other Irish parents who had used it. It would also cost far less – somewhere in the region of euro20,000. The surrogate mother would receive around €4,000 and would carry eggs by the Canadian mother, fertilised with Jason and Ross’s sperm
SURROGACY, HOWEVER, is increasingly under fire on a number of fronts. Many religious groups are opposed to the process. But a wider source of unease is the commercialisation of surrogacy. While it’s illegal in many countries, such as the UK, to pay for surrogacy, the industry in India is estimated to be worth up to €2 billion. Sometimes, surrogate mothers – often poor – find themselves as pawns in a lucrative arrangement between agents and relatively wealthy foreign couples. Contact between the contracting couples and the surrogate mother is generally discouraged and sometimes banned, so they have no real way of monitoring the process.
Surrogacy in numbers
INSIDE THE bubble of their spacious family home in Glasthule, everything seems well with the world.
- 2 billion The estimated worth in euro of the surrogacy industry in India next year.
- 35 The number of surrogate children born for Irish parents that authorities know about.
- 20,000 The typical overall cost of surrogacy in India, in euro.
- 85,000 The typical overall cost of surrogacy in the US, in euro.
- 4,000 The typical payment to a Indian surrogate for carrying a baby, in euro.
- 25,000 The typical payment to a US surrogate for carrying a baby, in euro.
- The surrogate child: no nationality, no passport, no legal parent.
One-year-old Robyn Maye-Coffey is cooing and laughing in the next room. Her parents are warmly recalling her christening and first birthday party. The photos around the kitchen, meanwhile, capture her transformation from a tiny 3lb tot to a wispy-haired, bright-eyed girl.
But outside the bubble of their home, it’s a different story. Officially, Robyn has no legally recognised parent or guardian. She has no nationality or passport. She cannot leave the country or enter another one. And she is caught in this bizarre twilight world because she was born to Irish parents by a surrogate mother in India.
“As long as we don’t leave this house, it doesn’t really affect us. You can almost forget about everything,” says Mike Coffey. “But that can’t go on forever. She needs an operation on one of her eyes. But we can’t sign the legal documents as parents. Under Irish law, she’s nobody.
“We’ve been told we need to go to the High Court to sort this out. That is hugely expensive. And we’re told legislation will be put in place to regulate this, but that could take another 20 years.
When Robyn was born in September 2010, it felt like a miracle. Coffey and his partner, Catherine Maye, had been trying to have a child for years. But after numerous miscarriages and failed IVF attempts both here and in Spain, Ukraine and South Africa, they had run out out of options.
By now they were both in their mid-40s. Adoption, they felt, wasn’t a viable option. But when a doctor suggested surrogacy, they decided to give it a try.
A "reproductive revolution which is re-shaping our definition of the human family", this disgusts me. I cannot believe that some people would turn to such measures, to fulfill their own selfish wants. Please do not send me comments telling me I "don't understand"; I have gone through periods of infertility before, and I do understand how hard it can be. But God is the one who opens and closes the womb, it is not for us to "fix". When considering the second example of "parents" in the article above, perhaps God has closed the woman's womb because the couple have chosen to commit fornication for years? And the first example given is so abhorrent to me that I will not discuss it; suffice to say that two perverts who have chosen such a lifestyle, should not be allowed to adopt/foster or otherwise have children placed in their care
It is beyond comprehension, that couples are either so ignorant or completely uncaring about the fact that many babies are killed during each IVF cycle. Many people who choose IVF or IVF via a surrogate know this information, but still choose to go ahead to have the baby that God never intended for them to have. Any God fearing Christian, should be appalled and disgusted by this.