The Wall Street Journal blows the cover off the international trade in babies and reproductive technologies this week, as reporters Tamara Audi and Arlene Chang tell of the emergence of a market that assembles the “global baby.”
Just consider the shocking introduction to their report:
In a hospital room on the Greek island of Crete with views of a sapphire sea lapping at ancient fortress walls, a Bulgarian woman plans to deliver a baby whose biological mother is an anonymous European egg donor, whose father is Italian, and whose birth is being orchestrated from Los Angeles.
The Bulgarian woman is a surrogate hired by an infertile Italian couple. The business arrangements are very much for-profit, and are negotiated by PlanetHospital.com, described by the Journal as “a California company that searches the world to find the components of its business line.” Audi and Chang then add: “The business, in this case, is creating babies.”
The desire for a child can be overwhelming, as the clients who go to PlanetHospital can attest. Some now turn to these international brokers who, often skirting the laws of respective nations, go around traditional means of adoption and fertility treatments. These companies do their business on a global scale, “often using an egg donor from one country, a sperm donor from another, and a surrogate who will deliver in a third country to make what some industry participants call ‘a world baby.'”
Our Ethics are Agnostic
The report candidly acknowledges the fact that many unborn babies are aborted by means of “selective reductions” – a procedure chillingly detailed in the article. Rudy Rupak, CEO of Planet Hospital, denies ethical responsibility in amazingly candid terms: “Our ethics are agnostic,” he told the paper. “How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? If they’re a pedophile then I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide, not me.” These firms are increasingly popular with homosexual male couples, who can arrange to have babies born that will include the DNA of both partners, so long as a common source of donor eggs is used.
The Wall Street Journal deserves credit for this important exposé of the ‘Wild Wild West” of reproductive technologies that is now operating across the globe. Made clear in this article is the fact that there is no adequate means of regulating this business.
Christians must recognize that these technologies are fraught with moral complications — and many of them dramatically so. These technologies, marketed through a global business in babies, threaten to redefine the vary nature of reproduction and the definition of family and parenthood.
On matters of such importance, it is simply evil to say, “Our ethics are agnostic.”
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Tamara Audi and Arlene Chang, “Assembling the Global Baby,” The Wall Street Journal, Sunday, December 10, 2010.