Surrogacy fractures motherhood into multiple categories and reorders natural relationships, ultimately putting the interests of the commissioning parents ahead of the interests of the child and the surrogate mother.
Surrogacy wrongly attempts to depersonalize pregnancy and disrupts the natural bond that develops between the surrogate and the child she is carrying.
Through surrogacy, a woman’s reproductive capacities are reduced to a business asset. Commissioning parents seek to use a woman’s body as an environment for their child and may try to determine many of the surrogate mother’s actions throughout the pregnancy. This not only often leads to major legal disputes but also treats the woman’s body as a ‘womb for rent.’ Even in altruistic surrogacy, women often suffer harm as they are pressured to behave as the intended parents desire and to give up the child they have carried.
Commercial surrogacy commodifies human life. The children who are born through surrogacy often feel abandoned by their birth mother and purchased by their legal parents. Children born through commercial or altruistic surrogacy may be abandoned or at increased risk of abuse, while also often being removed from one or both biological parents and left to wonder where they came from.
Although commercial surrogacy is not permitted in Canada, various forms of commodification and exploitation through surrogacy still exist. ARPA Canada’s recommendations focus on protecting women and children from exploitation and commodification by prohibiting surrogacy and ensuring that Canadian policy is not contributing to international surrogacy arrangements.