Surrogacy: A Fundamental Human Right?

Marriage-Alliance-Australia-Surrogacy-Human-Rights.jpgIn the debate over same-sex marriage, there are many consequences and effects that have to be considered. Often times, one is completely overlooked: surrogacy.

What is surrogacy exactly? What are the reasons for bringing a child into the world? A bizarre case has recently brought these questions to the forefront of the discussion, as Michael Cook explored in his article at Mercatornet:

A good example of this occurred last month in Vancouver in a motor vehicle accident compensation case. It shows that access to surrogacy is being treated as a human right for people who cannot otherwise have offspring.

The story of Mikaela Wilhelmson is truly incredible. When Ms Wilhelmson’s car was hit head-on by a cocaine-addled speeding driver, she sustained horrific injuries. Her fiancé – also in the car – was killed.

The list of her injuries and complications, physical and psychological, makes gut-wrenching reading. It’s not surprising that she was awarded the maximum amount for pain and suffering.

What is unusual is the way in which she was compensated. Justice Neena Sharma, of the British Supreme Court, said Ms Wilhelmson would struggle to have children later in life. In order to offset this risk, Justice Sharma decided that Ms Wilhelmson was entitled to the necessary funds for hiring a surrogate mother:

Justice Neena Sharma, of the British Columbia Supreme Court, awarded Mikaela Wilhelmson C$100,000 to cover the cost of hiring a surrogate to bear a child for her after she barely survived a car crash in which her fiancé was killed.

It is believed to be the first payment of this kind in Canada. The money was a component of a payout of $3.83 million from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).


Based on the medical evidence presented, I find on a balance of probabilities that Ms. Wilhelmson will have significant difficulties conceiving a child in the future as a direct result of her abdominal injuries from the accident. I also find as a fact that Ms. Wilhelmson would be putting her health and welfare at great risk, to an unreasonable degree, if she were to carry a baby. I have no doubt that the best option for Ms. Wilhelmson to have a biological child would be to hire a surrogate.

While Justice Sharma explained her reasoning, there are still many unaddressed and unanswered issues within this ruling. As Cook expounds:

The unanswered question at the centre of this case is whether Ms Wilhelmson has a right to a child – even if she does not have a husband, even if her health does not permit it, even if the psychological effects of surrogacy are unknown, even if the ethics of surrogacy are controversial, and even if the child will grow up without a father.

This poor woman has unquestionably been dealt a terrible hand. But why does this entitle her to demand a child? The judge has treated a child as material compensation for pain and suffering. It’s a very strange reason to bring another human being into the world.

What is most surprising about this case is not only did the judge rule that there is a “right”

 to have a child, but there is also a “right” to co-opt another adult into bearing that child on your behalf. This is new territory.

At Marriage Alliance, we have frequently pointed out the complications of surrogacy. Our supporters know that gushing media headlines tend to overstate the positive aspects of surrogacy, while underplaying the negative consequences. Stories of exploited women in countries such as Cambodia have repeatedly been brought to light. In another bizarre case, a 71-year-old man was awarded joint custody over four children fathered by his 48-year-old partner, and born to two Thai surrogates. The Australian government has even cautioned against the procurement of surrogate children from other countries.           

The family is under fire at home and abroad, with pressure building to legalise same-sex marriage and give legal recognition to different types of families. The rights of both children and adults need to protected. Surrogacy commodifies a child, and enables the family to be deconstructed and destroyed by radical agendas. With your help, we can continue to stand up for the traditional family and speak where many others will not.

For more on surrogacy, click here

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