Biological colonialism is on the rise. Rich couples from western nations hiring poor Indian women to be surrogates. It seems like a win-win. The infertile couple gets the child they so desperately want on the cheap and the surrogates make more money than they can hope to make in such a short time. But look closer and you find a disturbing western attitude that the poor, dark, and different women are not people, but vessels in which to grow the next generation; natural resources to be exploited to continue on the western blood line.
No where is this attitude more apparent that in this Daily Mail interview with a British woman Octavia who has hired a surrogate in India because commercial surrogacy is illegal in Britain. Octavia explains the situation:
‘Her womb is just the receptacle in which it is being carried. Perhaps it sounds cold and rather clinical, but this is a business transaction….
‘Her function is to sustain the foetus we have created. Her blood is pumping around its body and she is feeding it through her placenta, but she is just a vessel. The baby she gives birth to on our behalf will carry none of her genes and bear no physical resemblance to her.
‘He or she will have white skin and, in all probability, red hair like my husband.
‘Of course I want her to do her best to have a successful pregnancy, and I’ll be very upset — quite devastated, in fact — if it doesn’t go full-term. But we do not want to get emotionally involved with our surrogate’s story. I’m not interested in her background. I don’t want to be part of her life.
‘She speaks a different language. She lives in a world culturally, economically and socially so remote from ours that the distance between us is unbridgeable.
I do not think I have ever read anything quite so elitist in my life. Octavia wants to make sure everyone know that her child will be “white” and that the surrogate is so far removed from her life that the distance between the surrogates impoverished reality and Octavia’s consumerism is “unbridgeable.”
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I immediately thought that Octavia does not see this poor woman as a person, but a resource, a vessel to be used without concern. I realized I was not alone in my feeling when I read this comment by a reader:
I don’t have a problem with the concept of this as much as I have a problem with the way she refers to the surrogate like she’s not human…
And when I mused that colonialism is back, now trading in body parts, I happened upon this comment:
Colonialism -alive and kicking in a third world womb!
Surrogacy is by nature exploitive. Exploitive for the woman that carries the child, and exploitive for the child whose existence is owed to a “business transaction.” We are meant to be begotten out of an act of love for love, not paid for and gestated in a “receptacle” with no “biological connection.” “Cold and rather clinical” indeed.