Monday, February 18, 2013

Une mère-porteuse

A couple weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to speak with a French reporter about surrogacy.  Surrogacy is illegal in France and many people are not comfortable with the idea.  In fact, some people believe that a surrogate is selling not only herself, but also the baby or babies she carries. Often times a surrogate is seen as a prostitute of sorts.  My interview went quite well and although as is typical with these types of things in that 95% of what we discussed is not included in the article, I left the interview feeling good about the fact that not only are we raising awareness, we are being given the opportunity to open up discussions which is exactly what it will take in order to begin changing hearts and minds.

Should you care to read the article 'En Francais', feel free to click on the link below.  I've used good ol' Google translate to share with you the loosely translated English version.  Of course, when I visited the 20 minutes website, I also chose to Google translate all of the comments.  Phew! Good thing this chick's got thick skin.    

Jeni Denhof, une mère-porteuse américaine, a donné naissance à des jumeaux pour un couple homoparental. DR

Link to article in 20 Minutes  

COMPANY - If the practice is becoming more democratic, Equation legal, economic and emotional remains complex ...
From our correspondent in Los Angeles,
"The woman who took our son for nine months has changed our lives." When Jen about the birth of her son as "the greatest gift" is that pregnancy was biologically impossible after his battle against cancer. The couple has used the husband's sperm and an anonymous donor oocyte and the egg has been successfully implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother.
Jen chose surrogacy (GPA, or "surrogacy" in English) because it "provides greater legal protection." Some states such as California and Illinois to give effect prenatal judgments that allow parents to be the only recorded on the birth certificate, says Rose Pondel, lawyer and founder of the firm Family Formation Law Center. Except, the surrogate mother never provides oocyte. She can not claim a right parental or change his mind at the last minute because the child is not genetically hers. The procedure can also be easier than adoption, especially for couples and singles homoparental. However, it is two times more expensive and time, from 60,000 to 90,000 euros on average.
Womb for rent
United States, the GPA is not only legal in a dozen states, it is usually compensated between 15,000 and 25,000 euros. However, Jeni Denhof, allowing a couple to become fathers to twins, she rejects the idea "let [her] uterus against a check." According to this 36 year old woman, "the main motivation, is to make a gift of life. "
Circle Surogacy agency, which operates from the 90s, rejects all potential surrogates who have financial problems. Medical questionnaires, psychological assessment, investigation of a social worker ... Nothing is left to chance. "Out of 750 candidates, we retain only every 12-15 months," says founder John Weltman.
Another non-negotiable criterion: an applicant must already be a mother. Both parties are often represented by two lawyers and a contract forty pages covers all angles: financial compensation, diet, travel outside the state and even abortion clauses (in case of problems or genetic supernumerary embryos, for example).
"Mom lends his belly"
"At first my husband was reluctant. He was afraid of the physiological and psychological, "says Jeni. She also had to explain the situation to her two daughters, aged 5 and 9 years in these simple words: "Mom lends her womb the baby to a couple who can not have. It is neither Dad nor Mom and he will not return with us to the hospital. "" My daughters have asked, but the children understand, "says she.
Even at a distance, most families are in contact with surrogacy. The separation is a difficult time. "We all cried. Of course we love this life growing inside her womb. But we love him like a nephew, "describes Jeni. "George and Farid regularly send us photos of the twins. They are part of the family. "
Behind the scenes
According to estimates, between 1400 and 4000 birth place by GPA each year in the United States. Business is booming and at least one third of couples are foreigners, including French.
According to counsel Ponde Rose, "a vast majority ends well." But some saw a nightmare. In 2009, the agency and its director Surro Genesis evaporate in nature with two million. Surrogate mothers lose their health insurance and drowning in hospital bills of tens of thousands of dollars while couples say goodbye to their dream of becoming parents.
In America, the GPA "is less regulated than the sale of used cars," denounces the President of Barnard College, Debora Spar, in the book The Baby Business. For reasons of economy, some parents sometimes decide not to use agency or lawyer. On the website Craigslist, there are regular announcements of individuals offering their services. "We approach the sale of children," accuses Spar.
In addition to the ethical, legal framework remains ambiguous in some states. In 2011, a New Jersey court granted a surrogate mother visitation rights. If science allows almost anyone to become parents, justice and society are still trying to adapt.
 Philippe Berry


  1. Wow-you're famous. So cool.

    I have no clue how to get Google to translate an entire site for me, but I've read what you have above and it's uber neat to get the word out. Nice work, my friend.

  2. Oye the translation! But yes, I told you you were famous :) Proud of you. And as far as womb for rent, Just as I've noted in my blog... Just because a woman has sex, it doesn't mean she'll have sex with you. Just because I want to become a surrogate, doesn't mean you're the match for me.

    Well spoken lady. And haters gonna hate... instead, focus on the hundreds (nee thousands) your work and journey have already impacted and will continue to impact.

  3. I found this very interesting.... I recently donated eggs to a gay male couple that resides in france. They will have a surrogate carry their baby (my eggs their sperm) here in America. It is a shame that they have to go so far to achieve their dream of fatherhood. Especially because France is very accepting of same sex relationships!


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