Surrogate pregnancy: controversial celebrities' choice

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The birth of the daughter of Ricky Martin and the official waiting of the fourth son of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both due to a surrogate pregnancy, has sparked controversy

Surrogate pregnancy: controversial celebrities' choice

It's official: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are waiting for their fourth child. It is the second time that the couple uses the practice of surrogate pregnancy to have a child. Kim Kardashian has already gone through two pregnancies. In both of them she had been diagnosed with placenta accreta, so her doctor recommended the practice of surrogate pregnancy if she wanted to have more children. The couple ignored to avoid a risky pregnancy and last year Chicago West was born. Now they announce that they are expecting a fourth child also via surrogate.

Leer en español: Alquiler de vientre: la opción de las celebridades que desata controversia

Una publicación compartida de Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) el

On the other hand, Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef celebrated the birth of their daughter Lucia in the New Year, also via surrogate. This is the third daughter of the Puerto Rican singer, who has two twins. Now he has decided to do it together with his partner for the second time. The singer has stated several times that he wants a big family, a year ago at the Golden Globe awards he said he wanted another four pairs of twins.


Una publicación compartida de Ricky (@ricky_martin) el

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Surrogate pregnancy and feminism

Although fans celebrate the news of the birth and the expectation of the children of their favorite celebrities, there is now a debate around this practice. To understand it, we must first differentiate between two kinds of surrogate pregnancy practice: the commercial and the altruistic. The commercial surrogate pregnancy is in which agencies and clinics put a couple or person in contact with the 'donor' in the same way that adoption or artificial insemination agencies work. The couple or the person who wants to be a father gives economic retribution to the donor woman. This model is prohibited in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, and Denmark. It is known the case of British singer Elton John, who had to travel to California, where commercial surrogation was legal. On the other hand, there is the altruistic rent, in which the donor usually meets with the parents and develops their baby as an altruistic act. Sweden prohibits both practices.

The detractors of the surrogate pregnancy appeal to the total denial of the will of the donor woman. In the cases of the great celebrities, the identity of the donor is always protected, but because of this, her voice is silenced. Kajsa Ekis Ekman cites for The Guardian the so-called "Baby M Case", a case in which the donor regrets giving the child that has gestated at the time of giving birth but must give away the children because she can not undertake a legal battle with the Japanese millionaire who had rented her belly. Thus, this case has put on the table the question about how much the will of the donor is taken into account when renting her belly if the agreement is already made.

On the other hand, Nerea Perez writes for the magazine Glamour that although it is a tacit agreement between the two parts, there is an imbalance of power between both. Perez alleges that the rental of a body can not be legal even in the context of the free market and that it has a limit: human rights. Alicia Miyares, Doctor in philosophy and writer, compares this practice with organ trafficking, which is penalized even when those who 'sell' their organs agree with the transaction.

According to The Guardian, one reason the Swedish government prohibits even altruistic practice is that it obeyed the notion of sacrificial woman held in our societies and alleges that the exploitation of the female body does not end when the money is removed from the equation. In the case of Kim Kardashian, for example, the celebrity couple would be protecting a woman from a risky pregnancy (Kim) while they pay for the body of another woman to run not these but other risks that run in any pregnancy.

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Ricky Martin, in his statements about the selection of the biological mother of his first children, talks about sitting on the computer to choose it according to his appearance and his life story. It establishes a client-product relationship in the father-donor relationship in commercial subrogation, which unbalances it since one is the one who chooses and the other is the chosen one.

The LGBTIQ + debate

Many surrogate belly advocates claim that it is a tool to empower both women and men in the LGBTQIA community, as is the case with Ricky Martin. There are groups in this community with divided opinions on the subject. Ramón Martínez, vice-president of Somos Diferentes, stated for Glamor that the right that should not be denied to the community is that of parenting, but that the transmission of genetic information is not technically a right before any international instance. And the upbringing of minors can be achieved through other means such as adoption. In this sense, the idea of Martínez is that it is not worthwhile to empower some while sacrificing the freedom of others. For detractors of surrogate pregnancy Kim Kardashian and Ricky Martin should empower themselves, have complete control over their bodies as their fans celebrate, but this should not be done by sacrificing the freedom of other less famous bodies.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón

Translated from "Alquiler de vientre: la opción de las celebridades que desata controversia"