A woman’s right to choose surrogacy

A Ukrainian clinic uses feminist rhetoric to sell its services
Michael Cook | May 31 2016 | comment  

With an unemployment rate above 9 percent and a quarter of the country living in poverty, a highly educated  population, good medical facilities, and little government interference, Ukraine may be an ideal place for recruiting surrogate mothers.

Here’s an interesting promotional video for a major Ukranian surrogacy clinic, BioTexCom. The company’s website advertises in Ukranian, Chinese, Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Arabic and Romanian, which gives an idea of the breadth of its market. Its slogan declares, “There is no absolute infertility! We treat even the most hopeless infertility cases.”

BioTexCom is the epitome of commercial surrogacy. There are three levels of service: economy (29,900 Euros), standard (39,900 Euros), and VIP (49,900 Euros). The “standard” service offers pre-implantation genetic diagnosis of embryos, a 4-hour babysitter, paediatric consultation, a hotel in Kiev and gourmet lunches. For “the most fastidious customers” who enrol for the VIP package there is limousine transport, a 9am-6pm babysitter and on-call paediatric advice. Its marketing on the web and social media is professional and energetic. Almost any article on the web about surrogacy will quickly attract a comment from BioTexCom.

The company’s donors are “healthy, attractive and educated women”. Only two out of ten volunteers are said to pass its rigorous tests. The outcome is “long-awaited happiness of parenthood … Save your money and get quality medical service.”

In slightly fractured English, the website’s blog discusses the ethics of surrogate motherhood. It is a controversial topic, BioTexCom acknowledges, but isn’t it a woman’s right to choose?

“My body is my own business” – One of the fundamental postulates of feminism and democratic society. Women in many countries fight for the right to do abortion, right to wear any clothes which they like without judging and sexual harassment. So why did we decide we have right to choose for surrogate mother, why do we think we are more clever?

Is this the sputtering end of feminism – when a company makes money out of needy women and justifies it as a woman’s right to choose? BioTexCom is clear evidence that commercial surrogacy is commodfying human life and exploiting women. 

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

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