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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Mères porteuses: ne pas céder

by Jena-Pierre Basset

Surrogate Gestation Is unacceptable

The point of view of a militant blood donor

Translated Monday 5 April 2010, by Isabelle Métral and reviewed by Henry Crapo

In the 18th and 19th March Humanité issues, a report on the Mennesson case seemed to challenge the Paris Appeal Court ruling against the registration in Public Records of the birth of twin baby girls born in the US to a US surrogate mother. But the issue in this case is the moot question of surrogate gestation. Can the fact that some countries (the US, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Greece, Romania, Ukraine, Argentine, Brazil…) allow this practice justify it in France?

The legality of the death penalty in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia or the US in no way justifies France going back on abolition. More often than not, the countries listed above tolerate unethical practices that are contrary to human dignity: blood is commercialized, its derived products are bought among the underprivileged classes. In India, Rumania, organ removal from living people feeds an outrageous international traffick.

In the US as in Greece, campaigns are organized to legalize kidney trade. In the US hearts are removed from new-born babies with brain lesions only seventy-five seconds after the heart has stopped beating, even though sometimes a heart can start up again after two or three minutes.

In Ukraine (which cannot serve as an inspiring example), all sorts of trafficking are lawful. In 1991 the country granted pensions to nationalist army men who had collaborated with the Nazis.

What is at stake behind this claim is the right to trade in the human body. Whoever opens this Pandora’s box will open the door to all kinds of trade in products derived from the human body: organs, medicinal products derived from human blood, tissues, umbilical cord blood, and tomorrow genetically modified stem cells for treating degenerative diseases…. In the case mentioned above, the surrogate mother received $12,000 (that was ten years ago). The parents who paid them made several trips to California. As always in this kind of situation, the surrogate mother lives in a cultural and social environment underprivileged in comparison with that of the couple that places the order.

A revealing symptom is that the partisans of “surrogate motherhood” use terms that multinationals that trade in blood derived products have carefully chosen with the help of lawyers so as not to pronounce the word “price” to designate the amount of money paid to the blood supplier from whom blood is taken. They use the words “compensation”, “indemnity”, “expenses” and so on… Since 2008 an all-out campaign has been run in the press, on the radio and TV, in order to lift the ethical taboos in anticipation of the 2010 law on bioethics. That should alarm all citizens. Ethics and human dignity are under threat.

Financiers and greedy shareholders are eager to invest in that trade. It already exists in a considerable part of the planet. Colossal profits are expected. [1] We must prevent this. Giving in only a little would lead to capitulation. The distress of barren couples can in no way justify trade in the human body.

[1Pharmaceutical laboratories expect a turnover of 58 billion dollars from the sale of monoclonal antibodies in 2014.

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