• It is mainly an option for the rich anyway? What about those in genuine need who could never afford MAC?
• Does the small rate of success justify the trauma of so many failures?
• How will the child feel on finding out its origins?
• How will such children respond at the time of their parenting?
• What are the dangers for future generations of today’s MAC baby?
• Is this propagating future types of MAC?
• Will it all lead to more medical births, early caesareans, cloning, eugenics, etc?
• What are the long term effects on a woman and her female children of hyper stimulating ovaries to produce multiple ova for harvesting?
• What is to be done about all the multiple births arising from many instances of MAC?
• What does society think about abortion of “non-viable” (read imperfect) foetuses?
• What legal difficulties does freezing embryos create?
• What about the fate of the discarded embryos?
• Is it moral to then offer unwanted embryos for scientific research, that may involve cloning, and stem cell growth?
• What are the social and legal ramifications of commercialised egg and sperm donation?
Beyond considering personal parenting desires, I think all these sorts of issues need to be examined by both those considering to avail themselves of MAC as well as by those who may never need such services but who nonetheless see it as a valuable use of technology. Whereas only very few couples really need such services, there are many, many more in our society who worship at the same alter of science and applaud such “advances”. After all, by either buying into the services, condoning yet not using them, or by not standing up and stating one’s objections to them in the early days, one is tacitly supporting the direction these emerging technologies will be taking society to in the long run. Once established, it will be everyone, even those who once had no need for it, who will be affected.
Surrogacy is using another woman’s womb for the gestation of a baby which is then surrendered to the “real” parents upon birth. The pregnancy may arise from any combination of insemination
or implantation methods. Sometimes this is done as a labour of love between family members, and in other instances it is purely a commercial transaction between strangers.
Currently in Australia, surrogacy for commer-cial gain is illegal but altruistic and charitable surrogacy is possible in some states. Each state has different laws concerning what is allowed, how it may proceed and the outcomes and eventualities. If the trend towards unrestricted conception choices and free market birthing forces continues, it is only a matter of time before The Great American Way will soon be upon our shores – legalised commercial surrogacy – in other words “Wombs for Hire”. Once someone has sorted out the legalities, and once there is sufficient public acceptance (or apathy) towards such a concept, I have no doubt there will be a ready market of supply and demand for this trade, ushering in yet another brave new world of unnatural motherhood issues.
Adoption can be a satisfying middle ground for those who have permanent infertility and yet still have an irrepressible desire for parenting. Whilst some amount of personal gratification is inherent in adoption, equally it can be an act of great selflessness where all the elements of mothering / fathering can be present without the physiological and ego driven motives of the 3 lower chakras.
Adoption is a far rarer event these days than 20 years ago when I adopted out my first baby girl at birth. Easier availability and greater acceptance of abortion has meant far less unwanted children carried to birth; the possibilities of medically assisted conception has offered the promise of “your own baby” to infertile couples; the general trend of having smaller families has meant less likelihood of mixed families (born and adopted children); lower refugee and immigration numbers has meant less orphans from the underdeveloped countries; along with a generally less altruistic and philanthropic society; have all been factors in the decline of adoption.
With the low numbers of babies available for adoption these days, the process itself has become a long and drawn out affair. Many couples look to overseas, but this approach raises concerns about cost of travel, methods of child selection, reasons for selection and the effects that cultural displacement may have upon the child.