The latest push by the fertility industry to monetise a trade in human babies, women’s eggs and create a rental market for women’s wombs in Australia needs to be resisted by federal parliamentarians, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
“The disappointment expressed by Prof Michael Chapman, vice president of the Fertility Society of Australia, with the ongoing ban on commercial surrogacy, outlined in new ethical guidelines released last week, is a poor reflection on the plummeting ethical standards of the industry,” ACL spokesperson Wendy Francis said.
Last week, Australia’s leading medical ethics council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, released updated guidelines for assisted reproduction procedures such as IVF, posthumous use of gametes, surrogacy and sex selection.
The guidelines upheld bans on commercial surrogacy and sex selection.
“Elected parliamentarians are encouraged to pay more attention to the ideas being promoted by those who are supposed to be ensuring the use of technology remains ethical,” Ms Francis said.
“Australia should resist efforts to drop ethical standards to third-world levels and American-style extreme capitalism.
“When an industry is willing to promote the idea that women can be exploited for their eggs and wombs, it needs to be called out.
“The use of commercial surrogacy is leaving a legacy of damaged and hurt children and mothers, and no matter how it is framed, it exploits women for their eggs and wombs and takes away the rights of children.
“The NHMRC needs to be vigilant to ensure that the exploitation of women that occurs in developing countries - often to fulfil the desires of Australians - does not take root in Australia.
“And just because America allows commercial surrogacy, this doesn’t mean Australia should establish a baby and women’s egg market.
“The only thing a new-born baby knows is her or his mother and this bond should not be deliberately severed – an inevitable outcome of surrogacy,” Ms Francis said.
Ms Francis warned that if same-sex marriage was introduced in Australia, a tragic byproduct would be the growing demand for commercial surrogacy.
“It is worth noting that the Australian Human Rights Commission, in its Resilient Individual report released by then Human Rights Commissioner and current Liberal MP, Tim Wilson, recognises this link, advocating for ‘further exploration’ of commercial surrogacy as part of its advocacy of same-sex marriage so two ‘married’ men can access babies,” she said.
“Same-sex marriage involving two men will, by its very nature and design, mean women outside of the relationship will be exploited and children denied their biological heritage.
“Surrogacy, even when done altruistically, objectifies children and surrogate mothers and creates lifelong emotional issues for both, Ms Francis said.
“We should not commercialise this and our ethics authorities should hold the line.”