According to the latest reports from her family’s reality show, Kim Kardashian is having difficulties with conceiving her second child. Kardashian and husband Kanye West vehemently desire a sibling for their daughter, and have demonstrated there is nothing they would not do to have this sibling—which is where their example becomes worrisome. Surrogacy is increasingly promoted as a viable option for having a child.
Here are seven reasons why Kimye should not choose surrogacy, and neither should you.
1. Surrogacy Uses Dangerous Hormones
Gestational surrogacy, when a woman is implanted with an embryo composed of an egg that is not her own, requires copious amounts of hormones to prepare her body for carrying a baby. The surrogate must inject herself daily for weeks with Lupron—a drug known to cause depression and suicide.
There are no long-term studies regarding this drug despite such studies being prevalent in other medical procedures—probably because Lupron is a cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry and they’re afraid of losing their big money-maker for the sake of women’s health. Lupron is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in infertility.
If women had access to the findings of these studies and could know its toxic effects, they wouldn’t use the drug. But tens of thousands of anecdotal stories telling of negative consequences from Lupron are popping up in online communities such as lupronvictimshub.com.
2. Childbirth Still Kills and Maims
Giving birth can be as intense as getting in a serious car crash. A lot of things can go wrong—and any woman giving birth deserves to be surrounded by people who love her, as opposed to strangers on a budget who view her body as a service vessel. Because this is a commercial transaction, commissioning parents can often see medical complications as annoying—even as bad customer service. Childbirth, while not nearly approaching the fatality rate prior to modern medical advancements, can still be fatal.
One woman interviewed for the documentary “Breeders, A Subclass of Women?” was enlisted by her brother and his partner to have their baby as a surrogate. Gail developed eclampsia, a potentially fatal affliction during a woman’s pregnancy that escalates the symptoms of preeclampsia—such as abdominal pain, rapid weight gain, vertigo, and blurry vision—and induces seizures and black outs. The risk of this condition is multiplied when a woman carries more than one child, which is common in surrogacy. When it was clear that Gail was developing complications, her brother’s partner was quoted as saying, “Let’s just abort and get some other stupid woman to have our baby.”
3. May Psychologically Traumatize The Surrogate’s Existing Children
Legally, a surrogate must have at least one child of her own. These children observe their mothers as they keep some babies and give others away. This can be confusing for young children—as there might not appear to be a logical explanation as to why their mother doesn’t give them away, too. Children, as we say, are the future. What will become of their psyche after they have witnessed this sort of transaction? We can only speculate, as research has not yet been done.
4. Weaker Bonds for Adults
Many studies demonstrate that biology is a major contributing factor to a parent’s ability to fully accept and care for a child. The commissioning mother may have serious hindrances in her ability to nurture a child that she did not carry or does not share genes with. She misses out on a cacophony of bonding hormones. Many testimonials exist telling a paradoxical tale: many commissioning parents get cold feet and refuse to take and accept surrogate children, even when they signed contracts and spent tens of thousands of dollars for their conception.
5. Broken Bonds for Children
There is a reason birthing staff immediately place a newborn in its mother’s arms following birth and keep him there, save for necessary tests and hygiene. The Primal Wound is the emotional wound inflicted when mother and child are separated at birth. Nancy Verrier first used this term to describe the void present in the wake of separation by adoption.
This wound, occurring before the child has begun to separate his own identity from that of the mother, is experienced not only as a loss of the mother, but as a loss of the self, that core being of oneself which is the center of goodness and wholeness. The child may be left with a sense that part of his self has disappeared, a feeling of incompleteness, a lack of wholeness: “Any injury to the basic goodness of Self interferes with healthy, phase-adequate ego development, resulting in premature ego development and a reluctance to trust others to ‘be there.’ Recent studies in brain development tell us that one’s environment and one’s perceptions of the environment influence the way in which the neurons of the brain connect.”
A surrogate child’s sense of security and safety may be jeopardized. When the newborn is quite traumatically removed from its birth mother immediately following birth, it often damages the child’s psyche, causing maladies such as depression, underdevelopment of the child’s sense of self, abandonment issues, and longing for stability. “[The child] is not abnormal, sick, or crazy. His feelings are an appropriate response to the most devastating experience one could ever have: the loss of the mother.”
6. We Shouldn’t Parcel Motherhood
It is dangerous to split motherhood into separate jobs on a production line: egg donor, surrogate, wet-nurse, care-giver (and now mitochondrial donor). Powerful people are working hard to change public opinion about what does or does not constitute a real mother. A woman who wants to carry a child and raise it but decides to use an egg donor proclaims genetics don’t make a mother, it’s who carries, gives birth, nurses, and raises the child who is the real mother. A woman who can not carry a child, but uses her own eggs plus a surrogate, may proclaim pregnancy and giving birth is not what makes a mother, it is the genetic connection that really matters. And a person who uses both an egg donor and surrogate may say neither genes nor pregnancy and labor make for a real parent. This equals mass confusion, and some tricky legal predicaments.
Cindy Close was shocked when, after risking her life in a complicated birth to twins, the hospital staff approached her saying, “I understand we have a surrogacy situation.” Close had used donor eggs paid for by a man she thought would be her co-parent, and was horrified when he attempted to “dupe” her out of motherhood. Some protest that if we just had better contracts and more legal involvement, these kinds of situations would not arise. But should we really let those with the best lawyers decide who is or is not a real mother?
7. Surrogacy Feeds a Social Cancer
Just as it might be in society’s best interest for those with money to invest in green energy versus oil, we suggest avoiding funding what is becoming a corrupt profit-driven industry that industrializes human reproduction at the expense of children’s well-being. Cases like Baby Gammy, Theresa Erickson, Mitsutoki Shigeta, and Newton/Truong demonstrate that serious cases of abuse and neglect do occur.
Theresa Erickson, a convicted felon and former surrogacy attorney, says third-party reproduction and the surrogacy industries in California are “a billion dollar industry” and “corrupt.” “I’m just the tip of the iceberg,” she said, in connection to the dozen babies she commissioned on her own accord, then sold for up to $180,000 each. In cases like Newton’s, where he created pornography and internationally marketed his very young son as a child prostitute—do we really think having a for-profit system brings out the best kind of people in service of children’s well-being?
Are there better players for good people to engage with for the ethical growth of their families?
Here’s Hope and Some Better Solutions
We would like to urge citizens and legislators to find solutions that actually cure infertility, keep motherhood whole, and serve children. Health-conscious entrepreneurs are finding such solutions right now. There is a growing community of “Fertility Awareness Method” users with products and apps like Kindara, TempDrop, and ClearBlue that help women pinpoint ovulation—that 48-hour window of every cycle where her egg drops and conception is possible—to maximize chances of pregnancy. And books like “Fertility, Cyles & Nutrition” can help women edit their diets—a common cause of anovulation. These methods are not being promoted as widely as they should because the profit margins on apps and books are not as lucrative as the $7,000 price tag of one round of invitro fertilization (IVF).
Because the Catholic Church teaches that IVF is a sin (where sin is defined as an act that is harmful to one’s body or harmful to one’s soul), faithful Catholic doctors have had a unique pressure to find cures to infertility while being forbidden to use IVF. They have thus invented something called NaPro Technology, which utilizes the same bio-marker method of Fertility Awareness to ask women to catalogue their daily temperatures and cervical fluid types to identify pathologies, and actually cure the underlying ailment. The results have been better success rates than IVF, and at much lower cost.
It is noble to want to grow one’s family—and a generous intent indeed for Kardashian to want to give North a sibling. Infertility is a terrible struggle, and a curse on communities. In remedying infertility, let’s be mindful of every body, psyche, and wallet that is affected when we say yes to commercializing human reproduction.