In its rush to become the world’s new surrogacy hub, Cambodia has disregarded safety concerns for women and promoted unethical and medically unsafe practices.
Surrogacy is already dangerous, even in relatively “safe” environments. ABC reports on how surrogacy negatively affects a woman’s health.
The surrogate mother - often callously called a "gestational carrier" - is required to submit to a three to four week drug regimen in order to prepare her womb for pregnancy. These drugs can make her very sick, possibly with long-term effects.
In addition to the battery of prenatal tests she must undergo, there is also the risk of pregnancy complications - including ovarian torsion, ovarian cysts, chronic pelvic pain, premature menopause, loss of fertility, reproductive cancers, blood clots, kidney disease, stroke and, in some cases, death.
In third world countries like Cambodia, these risks multiply exponentially. Even surrogacy advocates agree that the practice is unsafe, as reported in News Deeply.
“There is no doubt that Cambodia’s surrogacy industry has been hurriedly assembled,” says Sam Everingham, director of the Australian advocacy organization Families Through Surrogacy. Everingham visited Cambodia a year ago to witness the surrogacy scene for himself. He says the facilities he visited were impressive, with Western doctors employed to do the embryology.
However, he says, when an industry grows so quickly, there is the risk that proper procedure gets overlooked, and women could be harmed. “Intended parents should be concerned about the risks of surrogates not being adequately screened or counseled in such an environment,” says Everingham.
Before it was outlawed in India, women who underwent surrogacy had their human rights violated. Many fear the same atrocities are being committed in Cambodia without government knowledge.
One of the biggest concerns anti-surrogacy campaigners have about the industry is that women are persuaded to undertake a surrogate pregnancy for money without proper recognition or understanding of the health risks involved. In India, it was found that women were being forced into surrogacy by their husbands or fathers. Women were also reportedly being implanted with up to four embryos and then told to undergo selective abortions if that led to a multiple pregnancy.
Surrogacy is not only morally wrong, but it is also unsafe in all its forms. Through the practice, both mother and child become less like human beings and more like conveniences serving a third party’s interests. Their suffering is unnecessary and cannot be legalised in Australia.