An American woman has died while acting as a surrogate for a Spanish couple, as did the unborn twins she was carrying. This is the first known American women to die from a surrogate pregnancy. Other surrogates have died around the world, including an Indian woman acting as a surrogate for a U.S. couple.
Now, a medical ethics group is calling for more attention to be paid to the problems and Congressional hearings.
“Congressional hearings are urgently needed to investigate the exploding U.S. baby-farming business that left another paid surrogate mother dead this month — this time an American woman,” the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBCN) said.
An Idaho woman named Brooke, who has served as a surrogate three times, according to reports, died October 8 carrying twins, reportedly for a Spanish couple. Surrogate pregnancy is illegal in Spain and other European countries. The European Parliament called surrogacy and egg sales an “extreme form of exploitation of women” in an official resolution.
“American women are being paid to put themselves at significant physical risk every day in this country to produce babies for others,” said Jennifer Lahl, R.N., M.A., President of the CBCN, which believes surrogacy should be outlawed in the U.S. “These mostly low income women are injected with powerful hormones and other drugs to maximize chances of pregnancy, virtually without government oversight. Women didn’t get this far to be treated like breeding animals.”
Lahl said the already-booming baby-farming business in the U.S. is exploding following the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, as married gay couples look to have families. She said celebrities and wealthy American women are increasingly using surrogates to carry their own children, not by necessity but for vanity — to avoid the body changes that come with pregnancy.
“I never thought I’d see the day when women were being openly marketed for their uteri,” Lahl said. “Members of Congress profess to care about women’s needs. Well, let’s see if they mean it.”
Bioethicist Wesley Smith agrees.
“Surrogacy, particularly of the commercial variety, exploits (mostly) poor and destitute women–sometimes at a terrible toll to physical and/or emotional health, and occasionally, as here, at the cost of their lives,” he said.
Lahl said Time Magazine lists pregnancy as one of the “Top Ten Chores to Outsource” in America.