The 24-year-old mum with 22 children, and counting

February was the last time MercatorNet visited Christina Ozturk and her husband Galip at their home in the Black Sea resort city of Batumi, Georgia. They had embarked upon a project of acquiring 105 children of their own with the help of surrogate mothers. Things seem to be proceeding according to plan. Nine months ago they only had 10, plus Christina’s daughter from a previous relationship. Now they have 21 – another 11 surrogate babies.

Christina, who is 24, insists that she is a “hands-on mother” even though she currently has 16 live-in nannies. She spends US$5,300 a week on essentials, including 20 large bags of nappies and 53 packs of baby formula. She also employs cooks, gardeners, security guards, cleaners and even a HR manager.

Her 57-year-old husband Galip is a multi-millionaire Turkish entrepreneur in the travel business. It seems that he resides in Georgia because life is complicated for him in Turkey. He fled the country in 2013 after its Supreme Court sentenced him to life imprisonment for involvement in a 1996 murder.

Christina is Russian. Her very active Instagram account, @batumi_mama, is a rich source of parenting tips, lifestyle advice and product placement for toys.

The question is, Why? Christina explains in one of her posts:

There is no answer, we just love children very much, and therefore we see no obstacles for our family to be complete …

The idea is in great and endless love, that our children will not be alone when they grow up .. when there are no parents, they will be with each other. I was the only child in the family and always dreamed of brothers or sisters so that I would not be so lonely.

 … all the children are of the same age, the connection between the children will be even stronger, as they learn this whole magical world together. They study together, develop and play, they understand each other by 200%!

And, you must admit, giving birth to 22 children on your own is to constantly be pregnant, and therefore not to be able to fully take care of children, because pregnancy is a lot of restrictions – not to pick up children in your arms, constant hormonal jumps … fatigue …

All the lovey-dovey stuff notwithstanding, that’s not a very satisfying answer. Family love begins at the beginning, in the loving embrace of a man and a woman, not in a laboratory, not in the womb of a woman hired to carry someone else’s child. And it grows when the mum and dad dote on each child.

There’s probably not a lot of doting going on in the Ozturk household. And what will happen to the doting index when these children – even 22 of them, let alone 105 -- become teenagers?

The Ozturk family shows the perversity of commercial surrogacy. Because the children are made to order, the parents are free to experiment with their lives.

Children just become lifestyle accessories for their parents. No doubt there are couples who commission a baby with a surrogate mother with the best of intentions. But there are others for whom children are another tick on their bucket list.

Anyone rich enough to have several surrogate children is rich enough to engage “experts” to justify their decision. One professional counsellor told that "What is important is the environment: Is it safe, is it nurturing, are basic needs met, is there trust and communication?" Kendall Phillips said. "As long as those elements are in place and those who are in charge of the family are mentally and emotionally stable, then the size doesn't matter."

Nor are parents needed. Another counsellor opined that nannies are adequate substitutes for parents: "If infants, toddlers, and children are raised in a safe and trusting environment that is consistent and comfortable, there should not be problems with attachment."

That kind of advice would also fit children “decanted” in artificial wombs, as in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World.

The International Coalition for the Abolition of Surrogate Motherhood, a feminist group, declared recently that “Surrogacy is a practice that is contrary to human dignity and violates the rights of women and children. The commodification of women’s and children’s bodies is not acceptable in a society that advocates respect for human rights.”


Only 84 children to go. We’ll keep MercatorNet readers in touch.


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