Serial Surrogates


Carole Horlock loves being pregnant.  She’s had twelve babies in thirteen years.  Anita Brush has had eleven children.  You might think these women are part of the large-family movement.  Guess again.  These women have given away almost all of their babies. They are serial surrogates.

Carole Horlock and Anita Brush are surrogate moms, women who gestate a child for another couple, and then relinquish the baby to them at birth.  There are two kinds of surrogacy: altruistic and commercial.  Altruistic surrogates do it for free, usually for a family member, such as a sister who can’t carry a pregnancy.  Commercial surrogates are paid, often as much as $30,000.

The surrogate may contribute her own egg, as in the case of Carole Horlock, who is willing to inseminate herself with sperm from the would-be father.

More often, the surrogate carries an embryo created in the laboratory by in vitro fertilization, with the egg and sperm coming from the couple who is paying the surrogate.This is the approach Anita Brush takes.

Is surrogate motherhood an arrangement we should celebrate?  After all, because of this, infertile couples now have children who are biologically related to them.  Many women who enjoy pregnancy have given birth to help others, without the burdens of raising additional children as their own.

Isn’t donating a womb similar to donating blood?  We encourage the latter kind of altruism. 

Perhaps it’s more like donating a kidney, which, like pregnancy, causes discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, involves risk, and requires hospitalization.  We praise this kind of sacrifice.

Let’s think about what is really going on here.  Surrogacy is not intended to cure a disease or save a life.  The goal here is to create a new life.  Where blood and kidneys repair something that is not working, surrogacy does not truly “repair” the causes of infertility. 

The goal is to have a child.  As Christians, we know that children are a gift from God.  Commercial surrogacy treats a child like a product, something that is paid for.  Let’s face it.  The $30,000 is not for time and suffering; the surrogate only gets the fee after she gives up the baby. Baby selling is against the law, so surrogacy arrangements have to pretend that the payment is about something else.

There’s also the element of quality control.  The couple who pays can also demand prenatal tests and an abortion if the baby isn’t healthy.  One couple was furious because DNA tests revealed that the baby’s father was the surrogate’s boyfriend, and not the sperm donor.

Every child born this way is precious and made in the image of God, just like any other child.  But, birth-by-commercial-surrogate ignores the human dignity of our children. Children are not a product, they are a gift.


Everyday Bioethics Audio Commentary Album Art