Surrogacy vs. Adoption
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Forty-five year old British legal secretary, Jill Hawkins, doesn't have kids, but she's been a surrogate mom eight times. "I love being pregnant," she says, "It's a compulsion I suppose and I really miss it when I'm not pregnant."
Hawkins claims that, despite her enthusiasm for pregnancy, she has no desire to be a mom. Surely that makes her an ideal surrogate, but my guess is that her emotional detachment is the exception rather than the rule. Most infertile couples who choose surrogacy spend a great deal of time in fear of a breakdown in the agreement.
Take Scott and Amy Kehoe from Michigan. After bringing their twin babies home, the surrogate mom took them back (which she has a legal right to do in Michigan) after learning that the adoptive mom had a history of mental illness and a criminal past that had never been disclosed. While adoptions are no walk in the park, it seems to me that surrogacy presents many more potential pitfalls.
No doubt, the prolific British surrogate, Mrs. Hawkins, has made the couples who have "rented" her womb very happy, but are there cultural or social forces that encourage the arguably more complicated route of surrogacy over a traditional adoption?
A comment from the Daily Mail's story on Hawkins sums up my feelings on the subject of surrogacy versus adoption perfectly:
What a lovely and thoughtful gift to give someone. Now we just need to encourage more adoptions and break the public idea that a child always has to share our own DNA. We are a silly society when the left hand is terminating unwanted children and the right hand is spending a fortune on IVF. Imagine the joy we could share if it were more socially accepted to put these people together for the benefit of all.
As I sit here pregnant with my sixth child, I admit that I cannot purport to understand the emotional turmoil or decisions of infertile couples. However, regardless of one's opinion on surrogacy, at least we can all agree on the benefits of encouraging and celebrating adoption.
Related: Infertility / Childlessness