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Unwillingly childless: Is surrogacy an answer?

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Mar Dorrio - published on 05/05/23

A personal reflection about parenthood and ways for childless couples to satisfy their desire for children

I am the mother of a very, very large family (12 children). My husband’s and my desire for parenthood is more than satisfied, but it wasn’t always like that. Five miscarriages made me experience the pain of an empty cradle, of unmet hopes and shattered dreams, of drawers without booties and of envying pregnant women. I know perfectly how hard the uphill path is of feeling, “I have a lot to offer and I have no one to give it to.

I recovered quickly from some of those goodbyes, but after others I thought I would never get better. I perfectly remember the moment when I saw the little body of my daughter María, lying lifeless on an operating room tray. That’s when I clearly realized that each life is an unrepeatable miracle, that motherhood is a gift that we do not deserve – and that, unfortunately, we don’t value enough.

From that moment, I thought that if I ever had another baby again (I wished there would be more!) I would give my life for each and every one of them. I would treat them with the dignity they deserve, would take care of them, feed them, dress them, give them an education … And this dignified treatment would be given to them from their conception to the grave.

This all came into my mind because the embryo — at 6, 12, 24 or 36 hours — was already María, Blanca, Guadalupe, Juan, or the newest member of the family, and I couldn’t leave that life in a cooler inside a freezer. I would never have one son by paying the price of losing three or four others in the process, as happens with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The life of each child

After that “hopefully more will come!” came one, two, three … Why not go on to 12? Yes, our desire for paternity was satisfied, as you can imagine, with six, seven, or eight. However, the life of each one of my children is greater than a whim, than a desire, than a wish to fill the dresser drawers with baby clothes. My daughter María taught me that children are unique, that they are unrepeatable. For this reason, a life deserves an answer that goes beyond “I want it” or “it doesn’t suit me.”

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The example of the Chestertons

After the miscarriage from which I had such a hard time recovering, what helped me the most was reading about Chesterton and his wife.

They couldn’t have children.

They hadn’t dreamed of just one or two perfect children… They dreamed of a large family, but when they were unable to have any, they eventually went from resignation to acceptance.

Surely they lived with many broken dreams, but after drying their tears, they shifted their focus and prepared snacks for the children of the neighborhood. They knew how to fill their home with laughter, stories, and cakes.

It’s harder than all that, I know. I myself have looked at Heaven angrily, and I have asked God, “Why do you take my child away from me, when I was going to teach her to love you? Why do you give children instead to women who are going to kill them?” It hurts, but I think imitating Chesterton and his wife is the best option.

In vitro fertilization and surrogate parenthood

The stupid pride and the absurd arrogance of those who have not yet lived long enough have been falling away from me year by year — or better, child by child. I dare not judge anyone. Only God knows, literally speaking, the circumstances that lead people to decide to take certain paths.

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Adoption opens horizons.

As a very wise Spaniard (yes, I’m talking about St. Josemaría) taught me: “Condemn the sin and excuse the sinner.” For this reason, without judging anyone, I want to make an urgent appeal to the hearts of parents yearning for children they have not managed to have. The desire for motherhood should not be satisfied at any price! And I’m not talking about money. A true desire for paternity, not a selfish one, would not leave any child in a freezer. This is the terrible reality behind the promise of IVF and surrogate motherhood, which involve producing multiple embryos and keeping them in cold storage.

A true desire for parenthood doesn’t look for a perfect boy or girl: I wish they had simply given me a live baby when I lost my little ones! I wouldn’t have cared at all what sex they were or the number of chromosomes they had.

I always think that Hitler must be rolling over in his grave for not having lived in this era: now he would get the Aryan race he wanted, and the parents would pay for it.

If your yearning for parenthood is real, you should see these surrogate mothers as if they were your daughters.

The kind of desire for parenthood I’m talking about is something serious and deep, that you can only appease by being like Chesterton: helping those who need you most now, of whom there are many, without leaving anyone behind. I’m talking about treating those surrogate mothers as if they were the daughters that you would so much like to have.

Surrogacy agencies are about making money

Surrogacy agencies want to give you a smooth and satisfying customer experience. They will help you take care of all the papers you need and accompany you to the consulate of the country where your baby will be born so that you don’t have any legal problems. They make recommendations such as, “The price of a surrogate pregnancy varies depending on the surrogate. Our advice is not to haggle: when you pay better than anyone else, you get the best surrogate. When you want to pay less, the best surrogate mothers go with other parents.”

Are you really going to satiate your desire for parenthood by looking for the best value for money in a market that preys on unhappy women? Women who, obviously, would not offer themselves for that service if life had treated them differently, if they had had the kind of life that you would wish for your own daughter?

We live in an environmentally aware society that encourages us to refuse to use a plastic bag, that promotes giving a second life to furniture, but yet at the same time kills babies every 15 minutes through abortion while artificially generating many more a few streets away, leaving most of them frozen. But, ladies and gentlemen, let’s not kid ourselves: both the organization that kills and the organization that generates and freezes make lots and lots of money, something neither adoption nor Chesterton’s choice does. They tell us that they are doing it for our rights and we believe it …Why?

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FamilyParenting
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