You mightn’t think from the following that I’m in favour of surrogacy but I am and have long advocated for regulation for both it and IVF.
Both are happening, irrespective of TDs continuing fingers-in-the-ears approach, most shamefully Justice Minister Alan Shatter, so vocal in opposition, who is still sitting on a 2005 report commissioned recommending action be taken.
Any of them watching last night’s ‘Her Body, Our Babies’ documentary on RTE1, would at least have had their thinking clarified on the issue which might serve some purpose; for the rest of us it was disturbing and unpleasant.
Normally the fodder of sensationalist cable stations, peppered by the delusional and vulnerable, Sean and Fiona, a perfectly pleasant couple, came across as loving, kind and happy.
Their trip to India to avail of the services of a poverty-stricken surrogate mother (whose only need was to earn money, rather than serve some higher, altruistic purpose) swiftly became seedy, tawdry and downright offensive. Not only was the mother impregnated with, as it turned out, triplets, using Sean’s sperm and donor eggs, the pregnancy had to be “reduced” by the clinic (whose rules don't allow for triplet surrogate births) to create twins for this Irish couple whose need for more children was not explored. Oh, and excuse the inverted commas, they’re mine. “Reduced” in this context means aborting a healthy foetus, violently and without reference to the mother (either of them).
Thereafter, smiles and cheery faces were supposed to save the day as Sean and Fiona told bemused friends and family about the arrangement whereby they, each already blessed with children had decided, in their middle years, to give it a whirl again, this time together. They couldn’t do so naturally but who needs Mother Nature when you have Mother Shobna who is so poor she’s prepared to rent out her womb to them. Everyone’s a winner, eh?
One wonders what might have happened if something had gone wrong, or Shobna had decided to keep, or abort them all.
Most of all, one wonders if RTE Player will retain the programme long enough to show the twins their birth circumstances. Will they be horrified at the abortion of their sibling, their impoverished mother and the money paid for them?