It's impossible not to be pleased for TV host, Sally Obermeder, in her obvious love for daughter Elyssa, birthed by a surrogate arrangement in the United States.
But a lovely story such as this cannot alter the overwhelming negatives in surrogacy.
The birth of any child is a celebration because every child is precious. But a child is not ultimately something to fulfil an adult desire. A child is a unique human being with individual human rights and the big question that must be asked is whether surrogacy is in a child's best interests. Surrogacy introduces a profound change in the traditional beginnings of family.
The birth of any child is an emotional event. How many times have we heard of surrogate mothers, after delivery, or even during gestation, becoming too emotionally attached to the child and refusing to surrender the child.
Sally talks of the wonderful relationship she has with her child's surrogate. But even the most compassionately motivated surrogate either has to detach herself from natural bonding with the child growing in their womb or experience an emotional and physical toll of carrying someone else’s child. Surrogates speak of their unexpected attachment to the child, lasting long after the birth.
Sally's treatment of her surrogate is to be admired but there are many more stories of the intended parent treating surrogate mothers as mere vessels who are simply hired to rent out their wombs. Any woman who has carried a baby in their womb knows that pregnancy involves much more than just the use of your uterus. It demands commitment from your entire body.
For this reason, legal battles have raged over the custody of children who are the 'product' of surrogacy, launched by surrogates who have the ability to fight for their child. Unfortunately, many surrogate women are more like slaves, used for their womb's ability to make money for their family or unscrupulous business people.
For women who personally choose to be surrogates there seem to be two primary motives to become surrogates: financial incentives and altruism. For those who champion the practice it's a win-win - an adult gets the child they so desperately want and the child is given life. And isn’t it better to be alive than not?
Perhaps. But it's perfectly acceptable to be glad to be alive and still retain serious ethical concerns about the methods used to bring about your existence. One leading surrogacy agency estimate that surrogate deals average between a cost of $80,000 to $120,000.
As more stories emerge that are not the happy one we have heard from Sally, the picture that is emerging globally is that surrogacy is all too often a bad bargain for the women and the children involved in the process.
The cold hard truth is that surrogacy is nothing short of the buying and selling of children. A commodification of human life.
A modern form of human trafficking.