Software or soft core; hardware or hard core?
January 2, 2008
The outsourcing of manufacturing to China and software programming to India has grown rapidly in recent years, but it’s about to be overtaken by what some say is the ultimate in the field of outsourcing: outsourcing your pregnancy. The Guardian Unlimited reports that the world is now outsourcing pregnancies to India. A small clinic at Kaival Hospital in Anand matches couples from around the world with local women, cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, and counsels them afterward. Anand’s surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies. I’m not making this up.
From the Guardian Unlimited: “Every night in this quiet western Indian city, 15 pregnant women prepare for sleep in the spacious house they share, ascending the stairs in a procession of ballooned bellies, to bedrooms that become a landscape of soft hills…
A team of maids, cooks and doctors looks after the women, whose pregnancies would be unusual anywhere else but are common here. The young mothers of Anand, a place famous for its milk, are pregnant with the children of infertile couples from around the world…
Counseling is a major part of the process … the women [need] to think of the pregnancy as “someone’s child comes to stay at your place for nine months.'”
For some this “outsourcing” is heaven sent because they are physically unable to carry and give birth to a child themselves. Like other “good to have services”, this may soon become a “want to have convenience” as wealthy families “farm out” the birthing of their kids to others. And why shouldn’t they? It costs around $10,000 to have someone in India have your kid for you and if you’ve got the cash you can avoid those nasty stretch marks, morning sickness, backaches and other inconvenient physical changes. You can keep to your work routine and manage a couple of pregnancies at one time if you’d like several kids right away. Imagine the flexibility and convenience!
“We’re pregnant with six kids even as we speak,” said Sally Jones and Susie Clark, a lesbian couple who have dated for years and have had difficulty conceiving a child on their own. “We used several sperm donors and in vitro fertilization and plan a potpourri of colorful kids that should all arrive next month. We’re busy with other things but want a family. It’ll be here in another 30 to 35 days! We couldn’t be happier.”
Ethicists’ have long struggled to coalesce prostitution with individual rights. The freedom of one person to sell another person their body for sex, or now, only the pregnancy and not the sex, can be seen as positive or negative, depending on what you believe and how you feel about it. As the world becomes increasingly tolerant of the new and unique and old mores are set aside do we become freer and happier or entangled in legal and ethical confusion?
“With great power, comes great responsibility,” taught Uncle Ben in the movie Spiderman. Is this true? Does having greater power to do things that could not have been done before create greater responsibility? And can movies based on comic book characters provide a basis from which we can learn ethics?
Up next: everything is now in control, or, everything is now out of control. You make the call – or pay someone else to do it for you.
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