The commodification of the human body has been drawn into sharp focus over the last several years as issues such as human trafficking for organs and sexual servitude have gained international attention. Unfortunately, another form of trafficking has evaded the same level of attention and outrage of the international community: surrogacy motherhood. Surrogacy motherhood is a commodification of the human person: the child becomes the mere object of a convention, while the surrogate mother is used as an incubator. Such commodification in itself violates the dignity of both the surrogate mother and the child.
A child born after a surrogacy agreement may have up to six adults claiming parent's rights over him or her: the genetic mother (egg donor), the gestational mother (surrogate), the commissioning mother; the genetic father (sperm donor), the husband of the gestational mother (presumption of paternity) and the commissioning father. The gametes of one or both the commissioning parents may have been used. The gestational mother may be the genetic mother; this is the case when she is artificially inseminated. Such manipulations are contrary to the genetic truth, which is paradoxically more and more sought, especially in fatherhood determination. They also violate the child's right to know his or her origin and identity, as guaranted in Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, such concurring claims inevitably give rise to litigation.
Surrogacy is presented as a method of medically assisted reproduction among others, a treatment for infertility. It is often depicted as a generous altruistic action meant to help couples who cannot naturally have children, to offer them the joy of parenting.
However, reality is far from this sugar-coated picture. (see whole document PDF)
- Mère porteuse