Talk to your children
Is it ok to take a baby animal from its mother? How about human babies?
Older Teens and Young Adults
How do you benefit from being raised by the loving mother and father who brought you into the world?
Sequence of Success
Do you think all children should have that same opportunity?
Why do you think it would be important for someone to know their biological father and mother?
Talk to family members and friends
Did being raised by your biological parents make a difference in your life? If so, how?
What does society owe to a child? Would being reared by their biological parents be included in that list?
Do you think that the infants of surrogacy recognize a difference between the gestational mother and the intended mother?
We don’t allow living people to sell part of their bodies to help others (kidneys, for example, in spite of people dying from kidney failure for lack of a donor); is commercial or “for profit” surrogacy different? If so, how?
Would you be willing to be a surrogate? Gestational carrier? Sperm donor? If so, why? If not, why not? (This will give you opportunity to share and discuss what you’ve learned.)
Engage the Broader Community
Speak up. Find opportunities to share and inform those around you. One great way that is simple is to share an article about the issues surrounding surrogacy and the rights of children. This could either be through a text, email, or on a social media platform.
Advocate for Children
Become an advocate for children; help people understand that children and their needs should always supersede adult desires. Support laws and policies that:
* Remove anonymity and require birth certificates to reflect the biological father and mother.
* Require fertility clinics to collect, maintain, and release donor files, upon request.
* Prohibit anonymous sperm and egg donation.
Resist attempts by policy makers and legislators to change official birth certificates, designating things such as “parent 1” and “parent 2” – rather than “mother” and “father.”
Support efforts to institute an independent regulatory body able to enforce policies enacted on reproductive technology and third party reproduction.
Talking Points-Assisted Reproductive Technology-Impact on Children
A few of the many issues raised by third-party reproduction include: the violation of the natural rights of the children created; the ethical and practical ramifications of the further commodification of women’s bodies; the commodification and “selling” of babies; and the exploitation of poor and low income women desperate for money.
Abort the Extra Embryos: Surrogacy can sometimes lead to selective reduction where some embryos must be aborted. Surrogates are also sometimes contractually required to abort babies who do not meet the “contractual parents’” specifications.
The Quest for “The Perfect Child”: Surrogacy and IVF allow parents to choose many characteristics of their child based on bios about the donor mother or father. This opens another can of worms: should we be able to pick our child’s height, coloring or intelligence? And parents are known to reject children who are not born according to “specification.”
Medically Risky for the Baby: Babies conceived through IVF are more likely to be born prematurely, have cerebral palsy, have low birth rate and have heart problems later on.
Child’s Rights Forgotten: Surrogacy and other ART arrangements often completely ignore the rights of children to be born to – or at least have access to – their genetic families and parents. Surrogate children are more likely than traditionally conceived children to suffer from depression and to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems.
The biological link between parent and child is undeniably intimate, and when severed has lasting repercussions felt by all parties. One study revealed that 50 percent of parents who had children conceived via egg donation went on to regret using anonymous donation. Frith, L., Sawyer, N., and Kramer, W., “Forming a family with sperm donation: a survey of 244 non-biological parents,” Reproductive BioMedicine, 2012.
This is My Family?: Surrogacy and IVF make it possible for many types of potential parents to adopt – single parents, two parents of one gender, or multiple parents in a polyamorous relationships – and technology is now pushing the limits of embryonic science to the point where a child may be created in the lab with no parents at all. But are these types of family settings best for children? In many cases, scientific research says “no.”
Babies originating from commissioned embryos (embryos made from IVF) and carried by gestational surrogates (women who have no genetic relationship to the embryo) have increased incidences of preterm birth, low birth weight, maternal gestational diabetes, hypertension, and placenta previa, compared with the live births conceived spontaneously and carried by the same woman. Irene Woo, et al., “Perinatal Outcomes after Natural Conception vs. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Gestational Surrogates: A Model to Evaluate IVF Treatment vs. Maternal Effects,” Fertility and Sterility, 108 6 (2017): pg. 993-998.
Children conceived via IVF suffer from significant increases in preterm births, stillbirths (4-5 fold increase), low birth weights, fetal anomalies, higher blood pressure, and a host of other syndromes. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Are Children Born After Assisted Reproductive Technology at Increased Risk for Adverse Health Outcomes?” 2004. Merritt, T.A., Goldstein, M., Philips, R., Peverini, R., Iwokoshi, J., Rodriguez, A., and Oshiro, B. “Impact of ART on pregnancies in California: an analysis of maternity outcomes and insights into the added burden of neonatal intensive care,” Journal of Perinatology, 2014.
Social Media Resources
Help Spread the Word
Become a Helpful Colleague for Policy Makers
Anyone can approach a policy maker, but not everyone is a helpful colleague to them. Knowing your community’s policy makers and legislators should be a starting point. School board members, city leaders, state and federal legislators should be perceived as potential associates and even friends. That includes those that might not share your world view.
When you approach a policy maker – via email, phone calls, or in person – be prepared to offer help. Don’t waste an official’s time or your own time. Know the proposed law or policy you are attempting to influence. Know the data and the talking points that surround an issue. Provide that information in a concise and easy-to-digest form. (These folks are extremely busy people.)
If an issue is important to you and you want it to be important to the people who will make the decision or cast a vote, then do the work. Show them why it is important and have actionable recommendations for them. How would you like the language of the policy or proposed bill changed? Be specific. Don’t just approach them to complain; identify possible solutions.
Find your State Legislators here.
“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.” Benjamin Disraeli