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Blessing or sex crime: surrogacy in the news

Surrogacy has been praised as a blessing and condemned as a sex crime in different parts of the world this week.

In Texas, a 54 year-old woman gave birth to her own granddaughter. Tracey Thompson had agreed to act as a surrogate for her adult daughter, Kelley McKissack, who had been struggling to have a child of her own.

The 28 year-old and her husband had been trying for three years. Even with specialist medical treatment, each pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. Doctors “ran a ton of tests and couldn’t figure out why it was happening”, Ms McKissack explained to local media.

Her mother then offered to be a surrogate. As she had already gone through menopause, she had to undergo a series of medical treatments, including hormone therapy, in order to become pregnant.

Ms Thompson said it was “such a blessing that I can do this for my daughter”. Despite a rather tough pregnancy, she gave birth early on 6 January to a girl named ‘Kelcey’, which is a combination of Kelley and Tracey. Ms McKissack called her mother’s actions “the greatest gift I could ever have in my life”.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Interior Minister has labelled the whole practice of surrogacy a “sex crime”.

Speaking to Roman Catholic newspaper Avvenire, Angelino Alfano said that surrogacy was “the most vile, illegal trade that man has invented” and that anyone who participates in it should be treated as a sex criminal and prosecuted.

Alfano is the leader of ‘Nuovo Centrodestra’ (NCD), the New Centre-Right Party, which claims any form of surrogacy represents a subversion of traditional family values. The NCD wants “wombs-for-rent to become a universal crime, which is punished with a jail term”, he explained.

The NCD leader is also staunchly opposed to any move that would grant same sex relationships legal recognition or protection. Italy is one of the few remaining European countries which does not legally recognise gay marriage or relationships. However, left-leaning Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised to introduce civil unions this year, the BBC reports.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. The Devil's Advocate says:

    This ltalian guy is a so called real Christian?

    We need more people with the love this mother gave than the attitude of this reprobate and that which his cronies share! I wonder what the Christman would say holding this baby in his arms? I wonder what abuse if investigated occurs in this ltalian guys family?

    Oh and could l have the opinion of anyone on the following statement in respect of love in a family.

    If a father writes a letter to his son in which he writes and calls him a “very precious person” is such a description “inapproriate”and because of this one word the son was disallowed from reading this letter? Is it appropriate when writing to his sons to only write a maximum of 30 words per child as more than this is “inappropriate ” when you are only allowed to write to him once every three months?

    This was what l was instructed by a Social Services public servant whose duty of care is to promote what is in this child’s best interest. When facts will show beyond reasonable doubt the that the maternal family have been and continue to maintain implacable psychological hostilit again the’s childten. And is it now legislation that psychological abuse is a criminal offence? Has anyone any directions one could take in light of this because….I am taking serious action against this local authority and to get anyone’s opinion on this especially if you are a professional child psychologist, Samaritan or child centred solicitor l would be very grateful (no names given naturally).

    Thank you.

  2. Grace says:

    Someone consider the surrogate motherhood to be normal, and someone condemn such method of children’ birth. On this point one can argue for a long time, but every person can decide if it normal for him or not. Some people mistakenly believe that surrogacy is a process when the man fertilizes the egg of a strange woman, and she carries a child for the foreign couple. But it is not so. In the process of surrogate motherhood three persons are involved: the genetic mother and father, and a woman who agreed to bear their child. The genetic father provides his sperm for the fertilization, the genetic mother provides her eggs and the surrogate mother is a woman who agreed to bear a child and will not be his mother. Sometimes surrogate motherhood is the only chance to have own child for couples who are simply unable to bear a child naturally. Thus thousands of childless families have found happiness with the help of surrogate mothers. Moreover this child genetically belongs to the mother and father who gives their genetic material. I think another important aspect is that child will be carried in natural and healthy conditions. It reduces the chances of miscarriage, the birth of a sick child, and so on. With the help of surrogate motherhood it became possible to save the life and health of a woman who just cannot get pregnant naturally due to medical reasons. Women become surrogate mothers voluntarily, without any coercion, so there is no exploitation of her body.

  3. Ava says:

    I consider surrogacy is rather expensive way to give birth to a child, so not every family can afford it. Most surrogate mothers require a lot of money for their service, in addition the services of doctors, the procedure of fertilization, and many other. However, there are women who are ready to help infertile families without money, but their number can be counted on the fingers. Most surrogate mothers do not take care of their health during pregnancy. They do not meet all the requirements and recommendations because money is their main and only goal. Therefore, intended parents have to take care of their surrogate mother carefully, to control her every step. It takes a rather much time and forces. It happens so that the intended parents do not think about the consequences. For example some women still cannot adopt a child born to the surrogate mother. They don’t feel this child is their own. Such situation leads to the constant quarrels and scandals in the family. It can happen so that such family fall apart, and the child who have been waiting for so long, is no longer necessary. And as of surrogate mothers often they have maternal instincts and feelings concerning this child. As a result they simply refuse to give the child the legal parents. In future the child can have trauma when he will find out that his own mother did not participate in his birth. I don’t like surrogacy. As for me it is the exploitation of the female body. It is used as the incubator without any feelings and emotions. Nevertheless despite the pros and cons surrogacy is practiced successfully today, and brings a lot of happiness to childless families. Of course everyone decides for himself.

  4. Luke says:

    Speaking to Roman Catholic newspaper Avvenire, Angelino Alfano said that surrogacy was “the most vile, illegal trade that man has invented” and that anyone who participates in it should be treated as a sex criminal and prosecuted.
    I think this is complete baloney – but I cannot deny that the Roman Catholic church has extensive experience of dealing with sex criminals (often not prosecuted)…

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