This was about about a column in the Daily Mail by Richard Littlejohn who opined that while gay parents were better than an institutional upbringing, the best upbringing was by a heterosexual couple, and he couldn’t fathom why anyone would support a gay couple raising a child.
It was criticised as homophobic, a view he attempted to deflect in the article by saying he was in favour of “civil partnerships” (note, not marriage), resulting in the company pulling its Daily Mail ads. Well, the Daily Mail is hardly a supporter of anything gay. He went on to criticise Daley and Black about flaunting a sonogram of the foetus, without revealing who the mother is, and that it’s important to know who the mother is, because mothers are essential to child care. Without a mother, a child is apparently inconsolably deprived.
He further mocked Daley and Black, asking who the father would be, and why there was no mention of the mother’s participation in the event.
Now, the tone of the column was pretty homophobic. Littlejohn is evidently no more a friend of gay people than the Daily Mail. Well, those odious bastards wouldn’t have published the column had it been supportive of gay couples.
But, there was one salient point in the otherwise nasty diatribe that deserves consideration. It was the question, where did the baby come from? Was it bought? Is there a form of human trafficking involved in this sort of operation, where an anonymous woman is used as an incubator to host a foetus to be delivered on birth to a barren couple? Gay or straight.
This is a question that needs some thought. I am not certain it’s morally wrong, after all, if one can pay a nanny to look after a child for years on end, what is wrong with paying a woman for gestating it? Still and all, it has me scratching my head.
Why couldn’t Daley and Black have adopted one of the many orphans in need of parents? Whose DNA is in the child? Is the DNA source important? How did it get there? Not questions Daley or Black answered, though there may be good reasons for their reticence, including the privacy of the surrogate, but they are interesting ones. The DNA can’t come from both of them, so did it come from either of them? And if neither, why not adopt?
I’ve read about situations where a female, even lesbian, friend of a gay male couple agrees to carry a baby, and has artificial insemination to do it. Sperm donors can mix their emissions and not know which one made it through without DNA testing. I’ve no problem with that, because everyone is willingly involved, without any sort of coercion, financial inducement or exploitation. But buying a baby? Are there similarities to prostitution?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m gay myself and support the right of gay couples to raise children together. I’m just wondering about the means, and whether surrogacy as a commercial transaction is ethically valid, whether the would-be parents are gay or straight. One can argue that if prostitution is a career willingly entered into, it’s not something to criticise, however, it’s all too frequently a measure of last resort, with coercion and trafficking common in its practice.
Food for thought with no obvious answers.