“Can I Take the Normal One?” Unregulated Commercial Surrogacy and Child Abandonment

In the United States, one out of every twelve heterosexual couples is involuntarily infertile, causing devastating emotional and physical impacts on their personal and familial goals. One woman described the inability to have a child as leaving her “barren, decrepit, desexualized, as if [she] were branded with a scarlet ‘I’ for ‘Infertile.’” An infertile couple’s quest for children is normal and natural, and luckily, there are many medical options, referred to as Assisted Reproductive Technology (“ART”), to help these couples create a family. For many of them,gestational surrogacy5 is a last resort after many failed attempts at pregnancy through other ART procedures.

Although reproductive technology exists to give couples what they have often struggled for so long to create, they must go to great lengths to contract a surrogacy arrangement. Complex, inconsistent surrogacy laws in the United States, combined with costs up to $150,000 per child, causes many infertile couples to look overseas, particularly to India, for a gestational surrogate. India legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002, eliminating most of the domestic legal struggles involved in a surrogacy arrangement, and for a fraction of the cost. If seeking a gestational surrogate in a foreign country is an extreme last resort to fulfill what most humans strongly desire, situations like Baby Gammy’s or Baby Manji’s, as discussed below, should not occur.

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