It could be worse, I know, but there is a special wretchedness in getting as sick as you have been in eleven years — not since the horrible 2000 Taiwanese flu have I been so clobbered with fever and riddled with crud that hurt to hack up — and having the PBS news-hour run a story like this while you feel literally too weak and floppy to rise from your chair and hit the radio control or even grope for the remote.
Note: I plan to NOT follow “Made In India,” which reports on a new wrinkle in overseas medical shopping: couples hiring surrogate mothers from poor countries where the dollar packs a clout.
Has the world lost its mind? (I know, this is a question we could ask every five seconds.) What is WRONG with people that they are, first, so ga-ga to have babies that they would PAY to inflict the experience of parenthood on themselves, meanwhile subjecting another random human being to not just the suffering of producing an infant but the artificial conditions of medical fertilization?
The world has more people than it can support. People are dropping dead in Somalia because they can’t find enough to eat. This stupid, idiot couple, the wife on record as saying “You know, a woman a lot of times defines herself by her ability to have children…” poured out thousands of dollars that could have done some good in the world, just to make twins with a poor woman’s help and take them home.
Yeah, yeah, overall I have libertarian (small-l) inclinations about a lot of things and I support people’s right to damage themselves in ways that don’t cause me any more annoyance than the average change in driver-license regulations. This, however, is creepy on so many levels I can’t count them.
First of all we have Mrs. Mommy prating about “defining herself by her ability to have children.” Honey, if that is how you define yourself, you’re a pathetic waste; it’s like defining yourself by your ability to vomit or excrete. They’re just natural processes that will occur under the right provocation. I’ll be generous and say that maybe getting a tan is a better analogy, since some people just pick up a tan naturally, some take pains to cultivate one, you can live quite well without one and a few people (like my Albino Ex) will never sport one.
The one vivid difference is that I won’t be tripping over your tan or listening to it scream in the post office or grocery store in another four or five years.
Later in the program, her Elrod of a husband defends himself: “There were more people telling us, you should have adopted. You should have adopted. Well, that’s placing the entire orphan issue on the shoulders of infertile couples. By their argument, anybody who has ever proactively tried to get pregnant together and succeeded and had their own children has robbed an orphan of a loving home, plain and simple.” I can’t decide if he’s an ethical dunce or has been studying candidates for Federal office with respect to tortured logic. Elrod and Mrs. Mommy aren’t like people who’ve had their own baby; they’re like people who’ve bought a dog from a breeder.
Okay, you say, well maybe there are people this stupid who are willing to pay and the poor people who can fill their need ought to be able to get that money. But for criminy’s sake, this is selling your body in a way that makes prostitution look like something fit for Sesame Street.
AASIA, surrogate mother (through translator): What should I say about myself? I used to clean people’s homes before. I’m not educated. I don’t know how to read or write. So this is my life. I have had three children. All my children were born normally. I have never done anything of this sort.
My sister-in-law, Sanno, had told me about it, but I didn’t believe her, that this can happen with medication. Now, how should I say it? A child without a man.
Nothing like exploiting the third world for the sake of your own vanity.
The segment closed and I hacked up something like a blancmange that had gone green.
I don’t define myself by my ability to do that.