Letter: Surrogate mothers

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Being currently pregnant myself, I cannot imagine going through all the nausea, fatigue and other unpleasantness, to say nothing of the hell of labour, without the prospect of having a baby son or daughter to bring home from hospital. However, I would not condemn surrogate mothers who are physically robust and emotionally stable enough to be able to bring lifelong happiness to a childless couple.

The Government's review has decried the payment of five-figure sums to surrogate mothers on the grounds that such amounts are too high to be accounted for by genuine expenses ("Limit on cash for surrogate motherhood", 15 October).

Why should the establishment take the moral high ground regarding payments of pounds 10,000 or more in the case of two parties of consenting adults establishing a surrogacy contract, yet accept the fact that infertility clinics charge pounds 2,000 to pounds 3,000 a time for a shot-in-the-dark chance of success?

The Government must make up its mind. Does it view infertility as a social and moral issue? If so, why not make infertility treatment available on the NHS to all? On the issue of surrogacy, the Government itself could set up a properly regulated service, possibly as a last resort for couples who were unsuccessful in any other attempt. Payments could be standardised at the minimum level necessary to ensure the provision of services by the surrogate mothers. If the Government itself does not wish to step in and aid childless couples, then the service should be left to the commercial sector, to be subject to the same laws of supply and demand as the rest of the economy.

PENNY DILLON

London SE22

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