I’ve got a couple of twining threads going here now–one about counselling and the like, the other about exploitation. Or maybe they are the same thread. No matter–they are not particularly current eventsy threads, though the counselling one has its origins in that terrible UK surrogacy mess.
Anyway, in the meantime, news stories slide across my desk (or collect in open tabs) while I wait for a moment to fit them in or the perfect place to fit them in. Now, however, I feel compelled to just clear a little away, even though it doesn’t exactly fit with the ongoing thread(s). So with that in mind, here are two items from the news.
First, there’s an ongoing exploration of a Texas surrogacy center that seems to have misbehaved rather badly. You can read about it here and catch up by following the coverage on Spin Doctor. It may be that there are some facts in dispute here, but there are also serious allegations of terrible wrong-doing.
I don’t think anyone defends the practices of which the Surrogacy Parenting Center of Texas has been accused. Obviously something ought to be done to protect people from operations like this. This is the worst of an unregulated and unsupervised industry that preys on deeply felt needs.
My second news item is one example of an extreme response: You could make surrogacy illegal, as in criminal. This was recently proposed in South Dakota though the effort has failed.
Frankly I think it a silly exercise to contemplate legislation like that. Were it to pass, two results are likely. First, to the extent there is surrogacy in South Dakota, it will be driven underground, which ensures even less regulation/protection. Second, those with money and time will simply go elsewhere to enter into surrogacy arrangements.
If you put those two together, you might note that the folks doing underground surrogacy at home in SD will be those with less money and less privilege. Their conduct will be criminal while the conduct of those with money to go out of state will not. This seems a poor result, too. In the end criminalization may look like a strong moral stance, but I doubt it makes anything better. More likely it makes things even worse.