A New York-based enterprise, Men Having Babies (MHB), has just held an expo entitled "Surrogacy Options for Gay Men" with the aim of offering "unbiased advice on surrogacy in the USA and Canada" to gay couples.
The men need to be able to afford the $90,000 to $150,000 price tag, for which they can select the race, sex, hair, eye colour, and other attributes of their human purchase. The sum covers the traffickers' fees, plus the rental of a woman's body for the nine months it takes to become a mother, and the time, physical and psychological strain of embryo transfer.
The fair took place in Brussels, Belgium, where surrogacy is currently illegal. That contracts are being made there to buy human lives, presumably flouting the law, raises the question of why Belgian authorities did not close down activities which, in many jurisdictions, amount to trafficking.
It seems unlikely that the Belgian government is merely blind to the issue. Last month it elected highly controversial trans & surrogacy activist, Petra de Sutter, to a position of power and influence: deputy Prime Minister. De Sutter is a man who changed his name and started wearing women's clothing in public at the age of 40.
Should MHB hold another expo in Brussels, it would be interesting to see whether it is reported to the police as conspiracy to enslave women and traffik children. It would be equally interesting to see whether such charges are prosecuted, given De Sutter's position in government. One would hope the rule of law still functions in Belgium.
De Sutter's political raison d'être is the legalization of commercial surrogacy. A gynecologist and geneticist specializing in surrogacy by profession, he worked towards that goal for several years as an EU member of parliament for the Greens. The Council of Europe rejected De Sutter's proposals to reform EU surrogacy laws, but it would be most unlike a trans activist to take no for an answer, and stop pushing at the boundaries around our humanity and wholeness.
Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Valeriu Ghiletchi, said "I regret that Ms De Sutter didn't resign after the report was rejected the first time. The Social Affairs Committee will debate a new draft resolution written by Ms De Sutter in September. I hope we will reject it once again. It is important that MPs who support moral values and are against surrogacy, in particular the commercial surrogacy, will be there and vote against."
Leo Van Doesburg, Director for EU Affairs of the European Christian Political Movement, said "We need to protect the rights of both women and children—which is in this case only possible by banning all forms of surrogacy. We should not open the dangerous door to maternity trafficking, wherein children are treated as a commodity and babies are traded."
The Council said that it "sided with women and children who are entitled to be protected from this commoditization." It condemned surrogacy as "exploitation of the female body and her reproductive organs." It also said that "children are entitled to know their parents."
De Sutter appears to harbour techno-dystopian fantasies of male motherhood. In 2019, he published a research paper into the potential to transplant women's uteruses into men. One might also speculate about where these organs, so coveted by men who purport to change their "gender" via plastic surgery, would come from. One might speculate that teenage girls convinced, by the trans cult, that they are actually men would be induced to donate their womb to men pushing at the outer limits of autogynephilia.
Increasingly, the connections between the trans trend and the surrogacy industry are coming to light. Both stem from the same contempt for, and disloyalty to, the woman-born body. Both reduce motherhood, family and being human to a consumer enterprise of endless upgrades. Both see any natural, intrinsic limitation on the body—be it age, in the case of women who buy babies, biological sex in the case of gay men who avoid sexual intimacy with women, or unexplained infertility in a couple who don't want to adopt—as a boundary to leap with money and technology.
The men driving gender identity legal reforms are the same men invested in surrogacy. For example, Governor Cuomo, who surreptitiously legalised commercial surrogacy in New York state during emergency pandemic measures, is furthering the rollout of gender identity-based policies which will help to ensure that women have no sex-based legal rights to protect them from, among other hazards, exploitation in surrogacy contracts.
De Sutter, who lives his trans ideology every day, openly declared his economic interest in the surrogacy business in the hospital he worked at in Ghent. He also held a stake in an Indian baby farm called "Seeds of Innocence." He is also UN rapporteur on children's rights in relation to surrogacy. No conflict of interest there, then.
While trans and surrogacy activists like De Sutter and Cuomo work to change laws, strip away women's rights so nothing stands in the way of the men who want to exploit them, and make medical science fiction into fact, AstroTurf organizations like MHB work away in the grey areas of the law, to match wealthy, unscrupulous clients with desperate women.
MHB moves around the world plying its wares—mothers' bodies, mother's lives, and their babies. In September, it held an event in Paris. In October it moved to Taipei, and in December it will host an event in Tel Aviv where surrogacy been legal since 1996 and even religious authorities consider it perfectly respectable.
MHB said the expo would provide "new opportunities for significant savings on the costs associated with the surrogacy process." Presumably they are looking to scale up their business model so even those on more modest incomes can afford to exploit an econo-mother.
The sessions covered such topics as an "Overview of surrogacy destinations and considerations on how to evaluate them," and was sponsored by brands such as WorldWide Surrogacy Specialists, Love is Family, and Babies Come True. Viewing the corporate insignia together, one gets a clear sense that Big Fertility is set on growth.
MHB describes itself as "a nonprofit organization that was spun off in 2012 from a program that ran at the NYC LGBT Center since 2005." It says it is "dedicated to educating and assisting gay men to create their own families."
Of course, the market in mother's bodies and babies' lives is not confined to gay men. Not all those sufficiently detached from relationship with humanity to buy a baby from a poor woman are gay, or men. Although Elton John and Ricky Martin were partly responsible for raising the profile of commercial surrogacy, Kim Kardashian & Kanye West, Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, Lucy Liu, Nicole Kidman and many others played high-profile roles.
Narcissistic celebrity, which thinks it is entitled to get hold of a baby by any means necessary, is not the preserve of one sexual orientation, or of one sex. However, one gay surrogate dad told the journalist Julie Bindel that he insisted the baby he intended to buy was delivered by caesarean so it did not touch its' mother's vagina. This level of overt misogyny raises uncomfortable questions about safeguarding. Should a man with such views be enabled to buy a daughter?
For that matter, should a woman who views other women lower down the social hierarchy as disposable breeders be enabled to buy a daughter?
It is right to question everything about surrogacy. Gay or straight, female or male, anyone who buys a baby must experience extreme cognitive dissonance between their supposed love of children, and their readiness to remove a baby from its mother and dispose of her like a bag of used potting compost. We are yet to reckon with the long-term impact of this practice on the children, and society as a whole.
Surrogacy is undoubtedly bad for exploited women, exposing them to the risk of death and PTSD just so they can survive economically in a system which is stacked against them. It is also demonstrably bad for children not to know their own parents, and traumatic and harmful for both sexes to be told that a mother is no more than a disposable vessel.
Some gay men are beginning to speak out against surrogacy. Hopefully more will follow. As gay men tend to be better educated and higher earning, on average, than the rest of the population, they are well-placed to address what is being done by other men in their name.
It is impossible not to remark on the regressive, deeply sexist way people working in the commercial surrogacy business, and buyers of babies, conceptualize the mothers they are exploiting.
Woman is the soil, and her baby is a plant to be uprooted from her body, and "transferred" to the territory of the baby-buyers. This is so ancient a way of thinking about women that one cannot help but feel that a vicious backlash is underway against women's emancipation.
The political system we inhabit considers women fair game for every type of sexual exploitation. A price tag is being attached to every aspect of female sexuality which can be commodified. Women are in a state of emergency.
This writer refuses, on principle, to use polite euphemisms to spare the amour propre of those who are engaged in the surrogacy trade. The sex denialism lobby will doubtless try to re-frame this form of misogynist abuse as a 'human right' of rich people who want a baby.
Of course, we must resist and dismantle that entire notion. And we should not let them off the hook until surrogacy is outlawed internationally.