Press Coverage

Conception Controversy: Regretting Surrogacy, ABC NewsNightline

Ethics of Surrogacy, PBS To The Contrary

Spiking Surrogacy, The Dish

Writing in the NRO, Jennifer Lahl issues a call to end surrogate motherhood…Mark Joseph Stern seizes on the piece, arguing that “the larger question of surrogacy is poised to cause a catastrophic rift within the conservative movement as a whole”:

Offshore babies: The murky world of transnational surrogacy, Al Jazeera

The case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning their child with his Thai surrogate mother after discovering he had Down syndrome — and taking home his healthy twin — has turned global attention to the murky underworld of international surrogacy.

Such cases have raised ethical and legal dilemmas, which experts say are the inevitable consequences of an unregulated multibillion-dollar industry dependent on impoverished women in developing countries providing a “product” — a child — so desperately wanted by would-be parents in wealthier nations.

End Third-Party Conception Arrangements, National Review Online

Regulations can’t solve the tangle of moral wrongs that beset surrogate motherhood.

How Surrogacy Can Create Victims, Daily Signal

Surrogacy remains a morally fraught issue even as an increasing number of couples—unable to have children naturally—opt to have a surrogate bear their children. (These children are either biologically related to their parents or conceived through egg and/or sperm donation). Between 2004 and 2006, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reported a 30 percent increase of live births via surrogacy in the United States, bringing the total to 1,059 in 2006, the latest year for which data on surrogacy is available.

Coming to U.S. for Baby, and Womb to Carry It, New York Times

At home in Lisbon, a gay couple invited friends over to a birthday celebration, and at the end of the evening shared a surprise — an ultrasound image of their baby, moving around in the belly of a woman in Pennsylvania being paid to carry their child.

Why One Woman Wants You to Say No to Surrogacy, Pop Sugar

When we think of surrogacy, we often think of a woman and a couple coming together to create a new life. We see happy faces and beautiful babies like the twins Sarah Jessica Parker welcomed via surrogate, but Jennifer Lahl says there’s definitely a darker side to the process. In her new film, Breeders?, the former pediatric nurse and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network explores a side to surrogacy that we don’t see on TV or read about in the papers. The film features several surrogates speaking about the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that their “good deed” took on them and the child they carried. Their stories, which include abortion, legal battles, and near-death experiences, open viewers’ eyes to the flaws that exist in, what appears to be, a perfect solution to a heartbreaking problem.

Is Surrogate Pregnancy Another Form of Human Trafficking?, On Faith

A recent People magazine story reported on a “paralyzed bride” whose college friend offered to be her pregnancy surrogate. Rachelle Friedman’s neck had been broken at her bachelorette party when one of her bridesmaids playfully pushed her. Fast forward a few years later, and Friedman and her husband Chris Chapman anxiously await the birth of their first child via Rachelle’s college friend Laurel Humes, who has agreed to be their surrogate.

Sherri Shepherd’s Surrogate Baby, Aleteia

“It’s cases like this that underscore the fact that we need in the United States a comprehensive ban against surrogacy,” said Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. “Children are seen as products or commodities we can at will contract for, and then can at will say ‘No thank you, I don’t want that child.’” It’s for this reason that Lahl producd the film Breeders: A Subclass of Women?

Missouri Surrogate Supports New Jersey Family, Columbia Daily Tribune

Center for Bioethics and Culture President Jennifer Lahl said surrogacy is not like what is seen on TV or in magazines. Lahl, who worked on the documentary “Breeders: A Subclass of Women?” said a primal wound is inflicted on a child that has been separated from his or her birth mother. She said ethical questions arise when the child has a disability or if the parents break up before the child is born. “There are really bad situations” that can come from surrogacy, Lahl said.

Girl with a Korean Mom Thought She was Adopted. The Truth was More Unsettling. Life Site

Jessica Kern was sixteen the day she found the missing puzzle piece that finally made her life make sense.

Separating a Child from Its Birth Mother is Wrong, Daily Mail

Jennifer Lahl, who has 25 years’ experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, told ABC News that separating a child from its birth mother is morally reprehensible because it creates a ‘primal wound’.

Woman Sets Out to Ban Surrogacy, ABC News

“It always strikes me that the children are so absent in the discussions,” Lahl told ABC News. “It’s all about adults – who wants, who needs, who buys and what I can get.”

Breeders: A Sub-Class of Women? Documentary Looks at Surrogacy, ABC News

Gestational surrogacy is poorly regulated and can often be problematic, filmmakers claim.

Confessions of a Surrogate Mother, New York Post

When surrogate mom Jessica Szalacinski told her tween son she was planning on having a baby for a male couple in New York City, he refused to speak to her for three whole days.

Child of Surrogacy Campaigns to Outlaw the Practice, New York Post

When Jessica Kern gave evidence to lawmakers in Washington, DC, last summer opposing the legalization of surrogacy in the district, she was pointedly asked why she wasn’t grateful for the procedure that created her.

Making Motherhood a Commodity, World

In 1987, Charlotte Lee agreed to become a traditional surrogate mother for her barren sister. Lee grew up in an abusive home, so she relished the opportunity to help create a loving family for her sister and her husband. After four attempts to become pregnant through insemination with her brother-in-law’s sperm, Lee joyfully announced a successful pregnancy.

The Other Side of Surrogacy You Need to Know About, Women’s Health

Carrying and giving birth to another couple’s child is bound to come with complications—and we’re not just referring to the health risks associated with being a surrogate. There’s also the matter of what pregnancy-related expenses (if any) you should be compensated for—and visitation rights for the surrogate need to be established. Of course, there are also the unexpected issues that can happen after the baby is born—such as dealing with the emotional attachment between a surrogate and a newborn. And these are just a small sampling of the rarely discussed topics that a documentary called Breeders: A Subclass of Women? aims to shed light on.

Center for Bioethics and Culture Founder Releases Documentary on Harmful Effects of Surrogacy, Lozier Institute

Jennifer Lahl, founder of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and an award-winning film director, recently released her latest documentary entitled Breeders: A Subclass of Women?. The new film examines the harmful consequences of surrogacy. Breeders? concludes her three-part film series on sexual reproductive technologies. The first installment, Eggsploitation (California Independent Film Festival Best Documentary, 2011), highlighted the risks for women in selling their eggs, and was followed by Anonymous Father’s Day (2012) which featured the stories of men and women conceived as a result of sperm donation.

Film Puts Surrogacy Under Examination As Legislation Is Debated Nationwide, PR Newswire

The legality of surrogacy is currently on the hotplate of political discussions throughout the nation. Just last weekend, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal vetoed a bill for the second time to legalize compensated surrogacy for married, heterosexual couples. A bill introduced in D.C. last year would allow residents above the age of 21 to enter into surrogacy agreements. After the parents agree to pay medical expenses, the gestational carrier surrenders her rights to raise the child. In New York, State Senator Brad Hoylman is co-sponsoring a proposed law to overturn the current prohibition, making compensated surrogacy legal.

Wombs For Rent?, Dead Reckoning.TV

Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture talks about her new documentary, Breeders: A New Subclass of Women? and the moral, legal, and cultural problems of surrogacy.

Women as Breeders?, Women Speak for Themselves

Breeders?, breaks open the issue of surrogacy by revealing what shiny, happy surrogacy ads fail to reveal: the real struggles on the part of the surrogate moms, and the kids they bear. The film explores surrogacy from every angle, ethical, legal, medical and psychological. It’s all there.

Interview: Jennifer Lahl on Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, Human Life Review

Ms. Lahl, whose Breeders? completes a trilogy of documentary films on artificial reproductive technologies, has been a pediatric nurse and hospital administrator for 25 years. She is also a member of the editorial board of Ethics & Medicine. Her previous films, Eggsploitation (2010) and Anonymous Father’s Day (2012), considered ethical problems for donors and resultant children of sperm and egg donation. Breeders? examines the moral issues posed by surrogacy, a growing phenomenon with the rise in infertility and the emergent same-sex-marriage movement’s quest for parenthood. Ms. Lahl discussed her film and surrogacy with John Grondelski.

Surrogacy Industry a Return to the Dark Days, Sidney Morning Herald

Adelaide couple Mark and Matt, both 29, have acquired Thai-designed newborns Tate and Estelle through commercialised surrogacy overseas. According to Adelaide’s Sunday Mail, the dual boy-girl delivery an hour apart by caesarean section to separate surrogate women for gay parents is believed to be an Australian first.

Surrogacy and the Commodification of Human Life, Breakpoint

Increasingly, infertile couples are turning to surrogate pregnancy. And it’s become a big business — with winners and losers.

Breeders?: A Cautionary Tale, Acton

It is a cautionary tale, and a very sad one. The film focuses on women who chose to be surrogates (one chose surrogacy several times), and the turmoil that arose. The issue of surrogacy comes down to the buying and selling of children, one woman states; contracts and money are involved. Yet, one lawyer interviewed admits surrogacy is a “chaotic” area of the law – there are few standards and precedents to help when things go wrong, as they often do.

Jennifer Lahl’s Breeders? Completes Trilogy on Reproductive Technology, National Catholic Register

Jennifer Lahl has just released her latest film, Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, which examines the unexpected problems that arise when women are contracted to serve as surrogate mothers and children discover that their conception was the outcome of a commercial transaction.

Breeding Exploitation, National Review Online

Breeders? opens a window into surrogacy and its devaluing and demeaning of women and life, showing the details of an industry in which realities are often masked by unobjectionable words like “hope,” assuming the best of intentions and practices.