The Controversial Photo of Khloé Kardashian in a Hospital bed with her Baby and the Request of the Colombian Constitutional Court to Regulate Surrogate Motherhood are some of the Facts that have Reignited the Debate Around this Practice.
LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero
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Surrogate pregnancy is a practice that consists of a woman lending her body for the gestation of a fetus that has the genetics of the person who is making use of this "service". There is also a modality in which the woman can lend not only her womb, but also her eggs. Of course, this is a practice that can only be accessed by people with high purchasing power, since it is not a simple or cheap process. The debate around it has grown in the last decade, precisely because more and more celebrities opt for it and are questioned by social groups such as feminists, who see in this process one more way of using the body of women without taking into account the physical or emotional consequences for mothers who rent their wombs, who access it for economic gain.
Colombia in search of a regulation
In the case of Colombia, the practice is not prohibited, but there is also no legal framework around surrogacy. However, at the beginning of September, the Constitutional Court made a request to the Congress of the Republic so that surrogate motherhood be regulated and comprehensive in the country. And it is that, in general, very few studies have been done on surrogacy and its consequences, beyond the obvious complications associated with pregnancy. Hormonal overstimulation, cesarean section comorbidity, taking drugs to prevent milk from rising or possible regret and postpartum depression are just some of these.
According to the report by Juan Diego Quinceno for El Espectador, in Colombia the process is handled as if it were a contract for a service that is provided, in which the woman who puts her belly is "the product" and those who rent it are the clients who pay for it. The woman must sign a consent after medical tests that determine her good health and psychological consultations with which, above all, it is sought that later she does not regret her decision. But in this process who puts his belly is the smallest link and who has more chances of being affected by any complication.
With the request of the Constitutional Court, the aim is to reconfigure the legal framework around this practice to define, in the first instance, the arguments that would allow or prohibit it and the surrounding conditions. But this is not the first time that the Constitutional Court requests the regulation of surrogacy. For more than a decade, the entity has presented to Congress about 16 bills that have sunk. It is expected that with the new Government of President Gustavo Petro, the request will be heard and the project that seeks regularization will advance in the country.
Why is the photo of Khloé Kardashian giving so much to talk about?
The recent request in Colombia that was already mentioned is not the only reason why the debate has reignited again. Last weekend, Khloé Kardashian posted a photo of herself lying in a hospital bed smilingly looking at her newborn baby in her arms, which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for Kardashian having the baby through a surrogacy pregnancy. This image is usually associated with the idea of a mother who has just gone through labor or who has just undergone a C-section, but in this case the socialite is literally taking the place of someone who did go through that experience as if she had been her.
The publication has been seen with a political lens because surrogacy pregnancies have been questioned for invalidating the physical and emotional process of those who rent their womb. With this specific fact, questions arise around the limits of motherhood. Where does gestation begin and end? Where does motherhood and fatherhood begin and end? One of the strongest criticisms leveled at surrogacy stems from the invisibility of the bodies of those who lend themselves to this practice in exchange for an economic reward. An invisibility that looks professional in a medical environment and that ignores the affections, feelings and emotional and physical well-being of those women who are putting their bodies to suffer the dangers and consequences that those who have enough money will not go through it. A case of invisibility, in which a mother with sufficient economic reach lies down on a bed to see her baby and the invisible woman who carried that baby for 9 months in her womb disappears.
Surrogate pregnancy classifies and sharply separates its participants. On the one hand, you have the reproductive bodies, and on the other, the real “parents”. The former are seen and used as tools, while the latter seek to satisfy their needs and desires. This is a dehumanization that raises alarm bells because it not only reflects the use of female bodies, but it reflects power games and the class gap.