March 5, 2024

surrogate motherhood and the Daily Mail

Hi there,

Drizzle or no drizzle, there are times when
I wish that I lived in London – when I get my hands on a London tabloid. Yes, I
know they’re smutty and intellectually crude, but what glorious headlines they
have! How could you resist a paper with
a come-on like
“Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious”. Or “I
kicked burning terrorist so hard in the balls that I tore a tendon in my foot”.
Or “Charles: Why I Stick Tooth Paste Up My Nose”. Or “Freddy Starr Ate My

Then there’s the bioethics angle. Nobody
does the human drama of bioethics better than the Daily Mail, as far as I can
see. Its reporters are expert at winkling the whole story out of the foot
soldiers of the reproductive revolution. They slog through battlefield gore while
plummy papers like the Guardian or the New York Times focus on the war games
played in HQ. And the tabloids take a surprisingly old-fashioned finger-wagging
view of these developments.

Take, for instance, surrogate motherhood.
This is largely regarded as a progressive cause in Australia, the UK and the
US, at least. But the Daily
Mail’s Amanda Platell scolds
a 29-year-old barmaid surrogate who has just given
up a child to her aunt saying “it’s just a job to me”.

“How can she possibly say that? How can
the act of carrying a baby for months — a child of your own genetic make-up —
and giving birth to her be described as ‘just a job’? How can anyone treat the
wonder of having children so casually?”

This is echoed another
story (below) from the US
about the agony suffered by an unplanned
surrogate mother who had become pregnant with the wrong IVF embryo. She gave
birth to the child anyway, but it was agonising for her to give up the child of
her dreams. So she promptly hired her own surrogate and now she is soon to take
delivery of twins.

Isn’t there a point at which the child’s
identity matters more than a would-be parent’s dreams? Any ideas? It’s not an
easy question.

Michael Cook