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Been ruminating on how gay rights has had the consequence of exploding the surrogacy market.

I have absolutely no objections to a gay male couple having children through fostering or even adoption in ethical situations but that isn't what most of them want.

It is so frustrating that as soon as they've got what they want they turn against women and use us just like straight men would.

That got me thinking about how a lot of arguments against puberty blockers involve pointing out that they kill the fertility of all the future lesbians and gay men, which is true and horrific, but I've hit a snag and realised that I don't care about gay men's fertility.

PBs are horrific for a long list of other reasons that should suffice but my two principles of, gay boys shouldn't be sterilized and that surrogacy for gay men to have bio-children is just a 10 month prostitution contract are now in conflict.

Perhaps it's just the common thing of a realisation of a new principal is always a bit harsh but gay men should not have biological children so the effect of PBs causing infertility in them is of no concern to me.

Sorry for the long rant, just wondering what others think.

Been ruminating on how gay rights has had the consequence of exploding the surrogacy market. I have absolutely no objections to a gay male couple having children through fostering or even adoption in ethical situations but that isn't what most of them want. It is so frustrating that as soon as they've got what they want they turn against women and use us just like straight men would. That got me thinking about how a lot of arguments against puberty blockers involve pointing out that they kill the fertility of all the future lesbians and gay men, which is true and horrific, but I've hit a snag and realised that I don't care about gay men's fertility. PBs are horrific for a long list of other reasons that should suffice but my two principles of, gay boys shouldn't be sterilized and that surrogacy for gay men to have bio-children is just a 10 month prostitution contract are now in conflict. Perhaps it's just the common thing of a realisation of a new principal is always a bit harsh but gay men should not have biological children so the effect of PBs causing infertility in them is of no concern to me. Sorry for the long rant, just wondering what others think.

66 comments

Everyone is entitled to their own fertility. Sterilizing gay boys for being gender nonconforming is fucked up and wrong.

Nobody is entitled to anybody else's fertility. Asserting that men, whether gay or not, are entitled to use women's bodies to make babies is fucked up and wrong.

No conflict for me.

100% this. Also, many, many children do not know the full extent of their sexuality by puberty. 10-year-olds who think they are gay may turn out to be bi, or straight but not gender-conforming, etc.

No one should be sterilized. But I'm of the opinion that no one is owed biological children. When men use a surrogate, it's weird, because they pay off a woman to use her body then they act like the child just appeared. They take pics in bed with the newborn like one of them just gave birth. The actual mother is just....disappeared. Straight famous couples do this too. It's gross.

Still remember seeing an internet fight with a couple because they declared it homophobia to acknowledge that their baby had a mother at all. They were literally demanding people pretend like no women were involved in the making of this infant and throwing a fit when contradicted.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. It's...strange.

Think it's akin to the same kind of delusional thinking that the gender nonsense falls under. Just...people feeling like everyone else should be forced to prop up a fantasy that makes them feel better, and trying to frame it as oppression when people acknowledge reality instead.

I know several gay couples who have had children using surrogates. None of them deny the surrogate's existence. They are all very open about it and express gratitude for the women. They have an ongoing relationship with their surrogates, akin to an open adoption.

I’m curious to hear your opinion about surrogacy in general. This isn’t an attack or hostility on my end, I truly do want to understand your perspective. On my end, I’m pretty much anti-surrogacy because I’ve only witnessed the ugly side of it.

In a perfect world, if all surrogacies were like yours, I’d be a little more open to it, in theory. I would still have hangups about the trauma induced from a separation from the mother at birth and the long-term effects of that in ways I think modern science has yet to understand.

I am really ambivalent. I think international surrogacy is horrific. But I also know quite a few gay couples who had children through surrogacy. Their surrogates were not poor, desperate women. They were educated, solidly middle, if not upper middle class, had children of their own, and have maintained relationships with the families. Some of them have served as surrogates multiple times. Is surrogacy inherently exploitative? I don't think so. But I think it is incredibly easy for it to be exploitative, and there are far more scenarios where it is exploitative than where it isn't.

Yeah, while I think surrogacy is ethically fraught, I’d caution women in here not to lump together all families who do go that route with the behavior of a subset of influencers/celebrities. We can discuss the ethics without so much us-them thinking.

I have a friend who offered to be a surrogate+ egg donor for a gay couple we knew who were talking about wanting a baby (I was in the car with them at the time). They responded with disgust and told her she was 'too old' (she was like all of 25 at the time), picked apart her appearance (she's a pretty woman with no health problems), zero acknowledgement or thanks for the enormous 'gift' she'd offered them (and she'd already had a couple of children, so she knew how much goes into a pregnancy when she offered).

Made it crystal clear to both of us that they were treating this like a commercial transaction, with both the baby and by extension the mother as product, and how entitled and clueless they were in regards to how much it genuinely costs women to give them what they want. Laid the misogyny of it bare and soured both of us completely on the idea of surrogacy, even before I read more about it from a radical feminist perspective.

She was 25, and that wasn't young enough for them? Wow, that's so creepy - do they want to pay a teenager for the use of her womb, or what?

And insulting her appearance - what?!

I wonder how they even managed to befriend you, they sound like they can't behave like normal human beings.

They weren't super close friends, but we worked in similar circles and they had been normal enough to interact with until then. Think the thing is when it comes to surrogacy (and misogyny more broadly), a lot of dehumanization towards women is the norm. Like within the circles where they'd been listening to men talking about choosing an egg donor and a surrogate, they're used to breaking down the women involved into desirable and undesirable features, acting like it's an a la carte menu for a designer baby, custom order an infant with these color eyes, this color hair to match the shade of paint they want to use on the nursery and the clothes they want to dress them in, this specific sex to match the name they've picked out. It's a consumer mindset, customer is king.

Contrast was night and day from when that same friend had her final baby (a surprise at a bad time that she agonized over before deciding to keep it). The toll it took on her physically, and how focused she was on the baby's wellbeing and her fears around that (the pandemic hit a few months into her pregnancy), to the point she also really agonized over choosing a name because of how much weight a name can carry on how someone is judged and treated (my main "contribution" during this time was sending her the absolute worst names I could find out in the wild and tongue-in-cheek telling her she should name the baby this to make her laugh...and sometimes to remind her that even people with genuinely questionable names can still go on to be successful, so she wasn't going to ruin the kid's life if she picked something he didn't love).

Omgosh! How awful. Did they ever find a surrogate? Did you/your friend stop being friendly with them?

They did not. They ended up thinking an open relationship was a good idea and then immediately broke their own rules for it and broke up. Friend and I both cooled towards them a bit when the initial incident happened, it was just such a shallow response, like they were talking about wanting a purebred dog from a specific breeder, not a baby.

I don't think gay men should be farming women's bodies, but I don't think anyone should be sterilized from unnecessary medical treatment.

I'm not trying to virtue signal here, but some gay men do begin their early adulthood confused about their sexuality, especially if they grow in a religious household and they confuse caring about a woman and finding her as a tolerable roommate and even as a tolerable sex partner for a brief period, and this can result in a child whom both parents care very much about, even if the adults inevitably separate.

I don't think a healthy society condones harming healthy bodies for no reason. Also, I'm sure sterility is just one of many side effects, but sterility itself might not be good for men's bodies--I don't know. I know that women's uteruses have an effect on their hormones and brain and this is something we only learned recently; so, maybe male sterility can cause additional problems for men.

Also, to sterilize gay men means they cannot donate sperm, and if you think it's okay for men to donate sperm, then these men should also be allowed to donate sperm.

Thank you for this nuance. It takes only one time of having sex to get pregnant. It is not so difficult for people who truly are gay to have children.

[–] LuckyWater 16 points Edited

I don't see how being anti-surrogacy is in conflict with being anti blockers.

No one should be sterilized other than consenting adults. A child might grow up and want bio children with a woman they are not in a romantic relationship with, or they might grow up and realize they're bi/hetero and want children with their female partner. But even if they will never want bio children, we can't inflict permanent bodily changes on children as they don't have the perspective to consent.

For the same reason "top surgeries," binders or any plastic surgery in children is wrong. Children can't consent.

Edit: by saying "woman they are not in a romantic relationship with" I mean co parenting with a consenting, un-trafficked, free and healthy adult woman who gets to parent the child she created and cared for in her womb.

[–] eris 12 points

I think you’re looking at it the wrong way. PB are bad not only because they cause infertility. They cause bone degeneration, prevent regular brain development, prevent regular development of the body, can cause memory issues, etc.

Yes, it sucks that one of the many, many side effects is fertility loss, but that is so insignificant compared to the other debilitating irreversible health issues that they cause.

Also the two principles you mention are on different axes. On one, no child (regardless of sex) should be sterilised because they are children and cannot consent. On the other, women should not be exploited. That’s it, there is no conflict.

[–] 99bottles 2+2=4 11 points

I dunno why it's always the infertility that gets hyper focused on as the major side effect of PBs (as far as I've heard anyways). For one, the side effects you mentioned are a whole lot worse. For two, people often miss the point. Infertility is bad because sure, it causes one to be unable to children. But what they fail to understand is that infertility indicates a vital physiological process within one's body has been destroyed. In the human body, all systems are connected, so when one process is destroyed, that does not happen in a vacuum. It means everything else within the body is tilted on its axis. It's not just infertility. Being chronically ill has made me understand that.

I think they use fertility because it's relatable for people. It's easier to grasp infertility than "reduced bone density" plus it's a very emotionally charged topic.

[–] ProxyMusic 6 points Edited

Another reason that the sterility induced by use of "blockers" plus cross-sex hormones is focused on is that sterilizing minors (and adults who can't consent) is generally considered a grave violation of basic human rights and it's illegal in virtually every civilized country on earth.

Except in dire situations where it's absolutely necessary to save a person's life, as in the case of young cancer patients getting chemotherapy or needing removing of cancerous gonads, codes of medical ethics, the laws of most countries and international agreements like the Geneva Accords explicitly forbid medical practitioners (and others) from sterilizing minors as well as others such as persons with learning disabilities, the poor, criminals, minority groups considered "undesirables," girls and women considered "fallen."

Parents in Italy used to offer up their boys to be castrated so they could have lifelong careers as opera singers. In imperial China, boys were castrated so they could serve as court eunuchs. Arab and Ottoman slaveholders routinely castrated the millions of boys and men, particularly the black ones from Africa, they took captive and held as slaves. The Nazis sterilized people they considered "undesirable." None of this is permitted in most countries any more.

When children. young adults and full-grown adults have health problems such as cancer that warrant treatments that can lead to sterility or impaired fertility such as chemotherapy, gonadectomy and hysterectomy, the norm and requirement in most of the world for many years has been for HCPS to take and advise extreme caution and to give these treatments only as a last resort. This is why girls and women who haven't had children and are younger than 45 are routinely denied procedures that will sterilize them even when they girls and women beg for them.

I'm not pro PBs, they're a massive fucking scandal. I'm saying that if the only way gay men can have kids is abusing women them losing fertility isn't a winning argument against PBs.

First, it isn’t the only way for them to have children (there are coparenting, fostering, adoption).

Second, no one is entitled to children. Even if surrogacy were the only way for gay men to have children, they don’t actually have to have children.

Again, these are two separate problems. And there is no such thing as the winning argument. To win an argument you need to have a counterpart who is open-minded enough to actually hear to what you are saying and to see things your way.

That’s not the only way gay men can have kids though. They can have a mutual co-parenting relationship with a woman, or not have realized they were gay until later in life and end up in a relationship with a woman that produces a child.

[–] 99bottles 2+2=4 1 points

Just wanted to clarify, my comment wasn't aimed at you. It was replying to the other poster. Was only mentioning it because for some reason, infertility seems to get touted as the biggest drawback of puberty blockers by the famous voices in this scene.

[+] [Deleted] 14 points

Would you find it ethical if a gay man and a woman have a child together that they co-parent without being together ? Eg a woman that doesn't want a romantic partner but wishes to be a mother.

The problem with fertility issues is, that it rarely just affects reproduction but it has other health problems that can come with (altho that might be more for women?).

Author Andrew Solomon has done this with his husband and a lesbian friend of theirs. They split custody and the kid has three parents. I find this far more ethical and preferable to any sort of surrogacy, or even most private adoptions. The child at least knows who their genetic parents are, and the history that comes with it.

I know a gay man and a lesbian who had a child together that they coparent along with their partners.

Yes. I’m 100% against surrogacy and one of my friends was conceived by her mom’s gay best friend giving her his sperm because she desperately wanted a baby, was around 40, and found out the problem was her husband. They told her that she had two dads and he would come to her birthdays.

I think mutually desired without financial incentive, baby with biological mother, and child informed, is a whole other world than a gay couple hiring a surrogate.

As a lesbian, I think it'd be great to have a gay man/couple who wanted to be known donors who were involved so that the kid knew their full genetic history and could visit them for vacations, etc. The mystery behind adoption, donor conception and surrogacy definitely contributes to the trauma.

[–] ProxyMusic 6 points Edited

One of my friends going back to the 80s is a lesbian who had a child as a single mother in the late 90s a couple of years after she broke up with her longtime GF/partner with whom she had an unfortunately stormy relationship. The man my friend chose to be the father was her childhood sweetheart, a straight guy she married when she was 18 to get away from her own family of origin. My friend and her ex-husband are lifelong BFFs, and whilst she is/was their now-grownup child's sole legal parent, he has always been very involved in the child's life. Several years after my friend had her baby, the father of her child married another woman and had kids with her - and his child with my friend has alway been part of that family too, and thrilled to have siblings who are "blood relations."

I know quite a few lesbians and gay and straight men who had kids in the 80s and 90s in novel arrangements like this. AFAICT, this particular arrangement and the arrangement Andrew Solomon entered into with his gay male partner and a woman have worked out the best of all.

Would you find it ethical if a gay man and a woman have a child together that they co-parent without being together ? Eg a woman that doesn't want a romantic partner but wishes to be a mother.

I see no problem with that.

Pregnancy by anonymous sperm donor is not optimal for the child, the uncertainty about where they come from is damaging for children.

Knowing both parents is important - but I don't see why a child would need them to be in a romantic relationship. (Arguably, friendships are more stable ...)

had the consequence of exploding the surrogacy market.

Even though I hate gay men who opt for surrogacy, I doubt this claim. Gay men are about 3% of the global population, even if they didn't want to have kids, the surrogacy industry would still have flourished. There are many infertile hetero couples, or rich people who are vain and don't want to "ruin" their bodies with pregnancy (like Elon Musk's wife and many other celebrities). It feels weird to just blame everything on gays and let heteros off the hook.

[–] tymps 6 points Edited

I agree. Frankly I often feel like there's a disproportionate focus on gay men re: surrogacy not only on Ovarit but in radfem spaces in general. Of course I believe that gay men should be criticized for this and of course it's misogynistic of them to do this. However, sometimes it seems like there's more ire for gay men exploiting surrogacy than for straight people who exploit it even more, and I kind of have to question that tbh.

I remember seeing a picture of two gay men with their arms around each other and smiling broadly. Way off in the distance behind them is a woman with her arms around her very large belly. She is an afterthought. I would think that, as she is taking a risk carrying their child, that she would be standing with the men. She is, after all, making the men’s dream come true. How selfish those men are.

[–] GoldenBee123 4 points Edited

A more ethical solution to this issue could be gay and lesbian couples who both want biological kids “teaming up” to create and raise children together.

This still raises some issues though. The lesbian couple in that scenario would be bearing 100% of the labor of pregnancy; and more parental figures per child also means more effort would need to go into communication and organization on the parent’s parts. However on the flip side more parental figures could also mean more time and money to go around, which could be a good thing for the child.

In a best case scenario the child is well loved and cared for and both couples get a “bio child”. In a worst case scenario the lesbians end up with all the hard child rearing work while dads get to be fun good cops. Definitely not a perfect solution, but more ethical than surrogacy i think.

Regardless though, I think the importance people place on having a bio kid is unwarranted, especially for same sex couples. My girlfriend and I don’t want kids anyways but if we change our minds some day we’ve agreed adoption is the way. I’d rather take our golden opportunity to play a support role in our friends’ and siblings’ families (to help them take a rest when they need it) than go that far out of our way to make another baby.

[–] ProxyMusic 1 points Edited

The lesbian couple in that scenario would be bearing 100% of the labor of pregnancy...

Only the pregnant partner in a lesbian couple would be bearing 100% of the labor, risks and limitations of pregnancy, though. Even between two women who are coupled, there is no way that the burdens of a pregnancy are shared equally or anywhere near equally. The exception would be if two lesbian partners both got pregnant at the same time - but even then, each woman would be bearing 100% of the burdens of her own pregnancy. There's no getting around this.

Also, it's not necessary for lesbians or gay men who get together to have and raise children together to do so as couples. The arrangements that I personally know that have worked out best over the long term have been ones where lesbians and gay men (and straight men too) have had kids together as single individuals. When lesbian couples and a gay male couples do it together as couples, there's a much greater risk of emotional drama and the whole thing falling apart and ending in disaster because lesbian and gay male couples fight, split up and divorce just as heterosexual couples do.

Another issue that has to be considered is that when the a lesbian couple and gay male couple team up to have a child together, it will still turn out that the woman and man who are the biological parents of the child will legally have more automatic parental rights and obligations - and sometimes they will turn out to be more heavily invested in the child than the other parties in the foursome who are not biological parents. I am not suggesting that all biological parents are loving, decent parents who feel a bond with their offspring and would never mistreat or abandon them. Nor am I suggesting that adoptive and non-biological parents don't love their kids and aren't devoted to them just as much as many bio parents. I am just pointing out that if a foursome consisting of two women and two men team up to have a child together, there will be automatic assymetries owing to the fact that only two of the four will be the child's biological parents.

Unfortunately, when same-sex couples who have children split up, the parties who are the biological parents very often use that to argue why their exes do not deserve shared - or any - custody, visitation rights or contact with the child.

https://people.com/home/jeff-lewis-says-daughter-is-biologically-my-child-as-he-rails-against-50-50-custody-proposal/

True— these are all great points as well

Another factor to consider is that when two same-sex couples team up to have a kid together, chances are that the kid will end up having to go through the trauma of both sets of parents splitting up/divorcing.

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