Posts Tagged ‘Surrogacy’

Another Australian couple abandon an unwanted surrogate twin behind

October 10, 2014

Barbarism takes many forms and it is not only the beheading of innocent victims. It is also an Australian couple who had commissioned a surrogate birth in India, which resulted in twins, and who then abandoned one because it was the wrong gender. It was not so long ago that we learned of the Australian couple (where the father was a convicted sex-offender) who abandoned a surrogate twin in Thailand because it had Down’s syndrome.

Having an abortion because of the coming child’s gender is not unknown in India but it is illegal and there are efforts underway to try and curb the practice. Abandoning girl children is also not unknown in many parts of the world. But commissioning a birth and then abandoning an unwanted twin  of the wrong “gender” sinks to the level of barbarism. It makes it no better that the Australian High Commission permitted the parents to apply for citizenship of only one of the twins – knowing full well that the other twin existed.

Both surrogacy and abortion prioritise the desires of the would-be or would-not-be parents and any thoughts about what is best for the child are entirely subordinated to the convenience of the parents.

Given a choice I wonder if the child /foetus to be aborted or to be “acquired” or abandoned would have chosen to be born – or not? Would any surrogate child choose to have that particular commissioning couple as parents? Or would any surrogate child choose to have two mothers or two fathers? But no child – after all – has any choice in its parents

The Hindu:

An Australian couple, who had biological twins from an Indian surrogate mother two years ago, abandoned one of the children and returned home with the other. The case came to light on Wednesday after the Australian family court chief Justice Diana Bryant announced that she was informed by an Australian High Commission official in New Delhi that the couple had left one child behind.

Justice Bryant has reported that the High Commission in New Delhi had delayed giving the parents a visa and tried to convince them to take both children home, but the parents did not relent. The couple’s decision to leave the child behind was based on their preference for a specific gender.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of Australian government on Thursday admitted that the couple had left the baby behind and since this case; the Indian government has tightened controls on commercial surrogacy arrangements in India.

When asked whether the High Commission could have prevented the parents from leaving the child behind, the spokesperson told The Hindu: “The parents in this case decided to apply for citizenship for only one of the twins. The involvement of the Australian High Commission in New Delhi was limited to assessing the application by the Australian couple for citizenship, and subsequently a passport, for the one child. The High Commission had no grounds to refuse the citizenship application and a passport for the one twin for whom application was made — the child met the criteria for citizenship and an Australian passport”.

It was pointed out that India became responsible for the welfare of the other child and adoption arrangements became a matter for its legal system. “The Australian government does not regulate overseas surrogacy arrangements; this is a matter for the countries in which these arrangements are made. Within Australia, the regulation of surrogacy is a matter for states and territories,” the spokesperson added.

It seems some political /financial pressure was brought to bear on the Australian High Commission to accept the abandonment of one twin. There are reports that the boy-twin was abandoned.


Chief Justice Bryant said the Australian High Commission in New Delhi delayed giving the Australian parents a visa to try and convince them to take both children home. 

The ABC investigation suggested that pressure had been applied to the High Commission to grant the visas by a senior political figure. 

“Yes, there definitely was some pressure being placed to expedite the process to ensure they could return to Australia,” said Chief Justice Bryant.

Eugenics by surrogacy – Australian style

August 1, 2014

It was an Australian couple in this case but of course there are many who use surrogacy in Thailand and other poor countries to carry out procedures they cannot in their own countries. In nearly all cases of surrogacy the mother is required to abort if a serious medical problem is detected.

In the Sydney Morning Herald:

Gammy, a six-month-old baby abandoned by his Australian parents, could die because his impoverished Thai surrogate mother cannot pay for medical treatment for his congenital heart condition.

The child will never know his twin sister, who was born healthy with him in a Bangkok hospital and has been taken away by their parents, who are living anonymously in Australia.

The story of how 21-year-old Pattharamon Janbua was cheated by a surrogacy agent in Bangkok and left to try to save the life of her critically unwell baby has emerged as Thai authorities move to crack down on IVF clinics, …… 

Ms Pattharamon says three months after a doctor injected the Australian woman’s fertilised egg into her uterus, she discovered she was having twins. The agent promised her an additional $1673 to have the second baby.

The couple asked the Thai mother to abort the Downs syndrome twin which she was not prepared to do.

Four months into the pregnancy, doctors doing routine checks discovered one of the babies had Down syndrome. They told the Australian parents, who said they did not want to take the boy, according to a source familiar with the case.  

“They told me to have an abortion but I didn’t agree because I am afraid of sin,” Ms Pattharamon says, referring to her Buddhist beliefs. 

This couple probably should be barred from being parents but their genes are being carried forward.

How many surrogate conceptions are aborted is not known but they happen –  it is thought – mainly because a medical defect in the fetus has been detected.  However, it is known that many surrogate clinics do select for the sex of the child and babies of the undesired gender are also aborted. Many of the Thai surrogacies for Australians are for same-sex couples. I don’t believe that any child – if given and capable of an informed choice – would prefer to do without a father or a mother.

Currently around 25-30% of all “normal “human conceptions are aborted. But most of these are abortions for convenience rather than for defects in the fetus. If being a reluctant mother has a genetic component then every abortion is also a genetic deselection of reluctant mothers.

Related: On birth rates, abortions and “eugenics by default”

Indian surrogate mother dies after delivery of child for a Norwegian couple

April 2, 2013

UPDATE – from the Norwegian press

The surrogate mother bore twins but one of them died after birth.

The Norwegian Embassy in India confirmed that preparations were underway for the other child to be taken to Norway.

The surrogate mother was apparently paid 31,000 Norwegian Kronor (about $6,000) (corrected below)


This report in the Svenska Dagbladet today is disturbing not because there is anything inherently wrong with surrogacy but because it smacks of exploitation – of wealth being used to pass on the risks of childbirth to a “poor” surrogate mother. There are some very gray ethics involved in a “rich” Norwegian couple exploiting the poverty of a “poor” surrogate mother who dies – especially in doing something not permitted in Norway. No doubt the surrogate was paid the “going rate” for surrogacy (about $6,000). But I doubt the surrogate had made any real assessment of the risk of losing her life or that the “contract” had a clause to cover for the death of the surrogate.

Svenska DagbladetAn Indian woman who was the surrogate for a Norwegian couple died shortly after birth. The woman, who was married and had children of  her own developed Hepatitis E during the pregnancy. 

“Pregnancy and childbirth is unpredictable for us all. Unforseen things can happen and the surrogate contract and the parties should take this into account”, says anthropologist Kristin Engh Førde.

Surrogates are not allowed in Norway and Norwegians make use of egg donation abroad.

The article does not report on the condition of the baby nor on the condition of the surrogate’s own children.

I hope the Norwegian couple get their child — but what is their responsibility for those other children?

I am not sure if the quote from anthropologist Kristin Engh Førde is meant to imply – and I hope it does not – that it is the responsibility of every surrogate mother to accept the risk of dying and contract accordingly.

Would the surrogate have died if she had been giving birth at a Norwegian hospital? Would her Hepatitis E have been treated in time?

Mortality rates are generally low, for hepatitis E is a “self-limiting” disease. …  However, during the duration of the infection (usually several weeks), the disease severely impairs a person’s ability to work, care for family members, and obtain food. Hepatitis E occasionally develops into an acute, severe liver disease, and is fatal in about 2% of all cases. Clinically, it is comparable to hepatitis A, but in pregnant women the disease is more often severe and is associated with a clinical syndrome called fulminant hepatic failure. Pregnant women, especially those in the third trimester, suffer an elevated mortality rate from the disease of around 20%.

Surrogate motherhood: The ethics of convenience

March 23, 2012

There has been a debate going on in Sweden over the last few days as to whether surrogate motherhood should be permitted. In following the various views I cannot help feeling that a fundamental ethical consideration is being avoided – perhaps intentionally. The Swedish Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee voted by a large – and very politically correct – majority to carry out an investigation into whether Swedish surrogacy laws should be changed.

The Local: Sweden took a step toward a possible lifting of its ban on surrogate motherhood on Tuesday, despite impassioned opposition from political parties on both the left and right.

The Riksdag’s Committee on Social Affairs voted by a wide majority on Tuesday to authorize the government to carry out an inquiry into surrogate motherhood. 
Currently, surrogate motherhood is outlawed in Sweden. 
However, the Christian Democrats and the Left Party both opposed the measure. 
“The issue of childlessness shouldn’t be solved by having women’s bodies used to carry and give birth to children for other people. Women’s bodies aren’t a commodity,” the Left Party’s Eva Olofsson told the TT news agency. 
Even if surrogate motherhood is allowed on a non-commercial basis, there is nevertheless a risk for a black market trade in surrogate births, argued Olofsson. 
She said that legalizing surrogate motherhood would send a signal that would increase acceptance of the practice that would open the door to trade with surrogate mothers in other countries, citing India as an example. 
“It’s possible that we need more regulations that would make it so that it’s not allowed in Sweden to buy a child that has been born this way in India. But that’s not how the proposal looks,” said Olofsson.

With all new medical procedures I think the fundamental ethical requirement is the informed consent of all those involved. And for surrogacy that includes the child-to-be. But much of the debate about surrogacy laws in Sweden has been focused on the “rights” of women or the gay community to have children (or not). There is more concern for the “convenience” of these groups rather than for the welfare of the would-be child.  Of course the “informed consent” of the would-be child is not available. But it should not be beyond the wit of man to consider the views the child would have – if it could. (more…)

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