By Jonathon Van Maren
Last month, a photo of a “maternity” shoot went viral. It depicted two gay men holding hands, beaming at into each other’s eyes, with a pregnant young woman in a red dress in the background. The caption: “We did a ‘maternity’ shoot and it came out great!” The woman was a surrogate; she’d been paid to carry a child created with sperm and an egg donor for the two men. The online reaction — which soon escalated into the millions — was immediate. “This is some Handmaid stuff right here,” wrote conservative commentator Bethany Mandel.
She’s not wrong. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale — and the gory, brutal TV show — depicts a cultural hellscape in which young women are subjugated and forced to carry children for elites who are unable to conceive naturally. The parallels are obvious, and surrogacy horror stories are increasingly frequent. Surrogates, of course, aren’t forced — although many of them feel the pressure of being paid to use their bodies in the service of others (wealthy couples who prefer not to gestate their own children; gay couples who cannot have natural children).
Of course, it isn’t just the women who are commodified as gestation vessels for the children of the rich. It is also the children who are reduced to objects that can be created and purchased on demand. Some of these parental purchasers firmly believe the old maxim “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” There are many stories of dissatisfied customers demanding that their horrified surrogates abort one or more of the pre-born children they ordered due to a perceived imperfection in the order. Many children begin their lives in a petri dish and end it through the bloody suction aspirator of the abortionist. Return to Sender.
In fact, a gay couple is suing an IVF clinic in Pasadena for not giving them precisely what they wanted. From NBC:
A male same-sex couple is suing a Pasadena in-vitro fertilization clinic, alleging their hopes of having a son were stymied when a female embryo was wrongly implanted in their gestational carrier and a daughter was born to them instead in 2021. Albert Saniger and Anthony Saniger brought the lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court against HRC Fertility and fertility specialist Dr. Bradford A. Kolb, alleging breach of contract, medical malpractice, negligence, fraudulent concealment and violation of the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The suit seeks unspecified damages.