Surrogacy has become a relatively mainstream practice. Celebrities and those with means treat surrogacy as a harmless option to aid women who cannot or do not wish to carry their own babies or to allow gay couples to have children. Few seem to consider the impact on mother and baby.
A new surrogacy bill in Quebec proposes changes to current legislation that would recognize surrogacy contracts, which are not currently enforceable under Quebec law. Surrogacy contracts, arguably, violate the individual human rights of both the mother and the baby. And even in countries like Canada, where women cannot technically be paid as surrogates, there are ways to financially compensate the women employed to carry these babies, meaning exploitation remains a factor.
These matters are complex, and often misunderstood by the general public, who tend to see surrogacy as a positive option connected to women’s rights and gay rights. This is why feminist groups like Pour les droits des femmes du Québec (PDF) are working to educate the public about the harms of surrogacy, and fighting against the surrogacy industry, working to ensure it does not become the surrogacy industry does not expand in Quebec.
I spoke with Clémence Trilling, a member of Pour les droits des femmes du Québec and WDI Quebec, about this issue, surrogacy laws, and the reforms currently being proposed in Quebec.