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Just say "no!" to surrogate motherhood

For many couples it's their worst nightmare. Years of trying and still, no baby. Adoption was once the only option. Nowadays there are fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, and surrogate mothers. But with these modern-day solutions come new moral conundrums and questions: How far are we willing to go to fight infertility?

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"I feel our surrogate mother is operating on a really wrong-headed understanding of human nature," says Phyllis Creighton of the Task Force on Human Life, speaking about a panellist on a CBC TV forum. The show features a two months pregnant, 21-year-old surrogate mother and her lawyer. Creighton is too late to dissuade this woman, but she hopes to convince others that surrogate motherhood is no way to fulfill themselves.

Surrogate motherhood is wrong, in Phyllis Creighton's view, because it rests on the false premise that women can divorce their bodies from their minds. To her, this is not only untrue, it's unhealthy.
The Task Force on Human Life, which Creighton represents, was created by the Anglican Church of Canada in the early 1970s. It reports to the Anglican Church on such matters as euthanasia, abortion, and artificial insemination.
• In 1977, Phyllis Creighton authored a report for the Task Force on Human Life entitled, “Artificial insemination by donor: a study of ethics, medicine, and law in our technological society.”
• In 2001, the Anglican Church of Canada reinstated the Task Force to reflect on the ethical issues surrounding biotechnologies, euthanasia, reproductive technologies and human cloning.

• In early 2003, legislation before Parliament prohibits paying a surrogate mother for more than basic expenses. Currently, infertile couples spend about $35,000 for surrogacy, with $15,000 going to the surrogate mother and the rest to doctors, lawyers, and social workers.
• Under the proposed legislation, surrogates can be reimbursed for medications, gasoline costs, and maternity clothes, but they cannot be compensated for time away from home or work, medical risk or inconvenience.

• Most of the world is moving away from paid surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy was banned in Britain in 1985 and in most of Australia in the 1990s.
• In traditional surrogacy arrangements, the baby is a product of the surrogate mother's egg and sperm from the infertile woman's spouse. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother is implanted with the infertile couple's embryo; the baby does not come from her own egg.
Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Sept. 24, 1980
Guest(s): Eileen Abrams, Phyllis Creighton, Dr. Ernest Ewaschuk
Host: Harry Brown, Hana Gartner
Duration: 2:19

Last updated: September 25, 2014

Page consulted on September 25, 2014

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