The other night, while settling into bed, I found myself shuffling through all the fancy channels for something to watch. I stopped on a documentary on HBO called "Google Baby." (Seriously, how can you not watch something called Google Baby)?
The premise behind the documentary was to show how globalization has made it possible for any and everyone to have a baby (well, and a decent amount of cash) and how the act of sex really isn't even necessary for reproduction.
In true emo-docu fashion, rather than filming married couples struggling to conceive after years of hormone injections, fertility treatments and fancy turkey baster attempts, the documentary followed the most dramatic interpretations of "globalization reproduction" it could find.
You meet a homosexual couple who have been together for years and have decided to select an egg donor and then implant an Indian surrogate (because apparently Indian surrogates are all the rage now). Seems simple enough. The two appear to be in an incredibly harmonious relationship and seem to really be excited at the prospect of having a child.
Zoom forward to the woman they select as their "egg donor," you know the other piece to their future child's puzzle, and soon the cameras begin following her around and detailing exactly how much money she's making for her "donation" and exactly what she's doing with that flow.
She's probably putting it in the bank for her two daugthers' educations, right? Or maybe paying off the house they purchased in the woods? While her donor money is helping fund some of the renovations to their "rustic" cabin in the woods, the rest of it is going to buy something much more beneficial -- guns.
Now, I'll readily admit to you that I'm not exactly a gun person myself, but I also understand and accept other people's rights to them. Do I think those rights should include a teeny-weeny shooter for their four-year-old daughter? Not so much. Why invest in an education when you can purchase a gun instead?
The best part? Probably the scene where the whole family is standing on the back porch playing with their "toys" and after the four-year-old shoots at a can (with the assistance of her father of course, gun safety is important when shooting with kids), the 18-month-old daughter begins to cry and the mother blames it on the camera. Yeah, I'm pretty sure the shiny black thing filming her made her cry and not the shiny black thing making a really loud, scary noise. Awesome.
The documentary then shifts to the life of the Indian surrogates and the process they go through in order to birth strangers' children. The surrogates all stay in the same housing unit, with a handful of women feeding them vitamins, milk and all other sorts of things that are supposed to aid in their pregnancy. The women are also kept on bed rest for a large portion of the day, due to their paycheck not coming unless a child is in fact born. Many of the women have to lie about their location and actions, because this type of "work" is considered to be on the same level as prostitution in India. The surrogates spend nine months away from their husbands, children and other family members, just waiting for the big day they get to collect their paychecks and go home.
After following the journey of one surrogate and watching the baby come into the world in a less-than-joyous fashion (drugs, lots of tugging on the woman and not a lot of emotion), we get to witness her return to her family in their new home -- purchased for them by the couple who just received a baby. Buying a home might sound like quite a bit, but keep in mind it takes very little U.S. dollars (you know, like $5-6,000 to buy shelter in India. (That and many of their homes consist of just two or three very tiny rooms).
After spending more than two minutes in the room with her husband, I'm starting to see how it might be "easy" to be away from him for nine months at a time. While sitting under the roof that his WIFE earned for them, he begins to discuss his feelings about surrogacy and how "you know, women aren't really bright, but they are good for some things." Well goodness, I should probably get on my knees and thank the good Lord above for blessing me not with a brain, but a uterus, because I wouldn't be worth a damn if I didn't have it. Seriously, you're living in a home because of what your wife just did and you're going to insult women?
Well, at least he appreciates what she went through for them, right? Now he's going to earn his keep too, right? Sure, except according to him in order to send their son to military officer school she'll probably need to be a surrogate once or twice more -- if he lets her. Because, you know, I'm actually sitting at home waiting for Ryan to tell me what he's going to allow me to do to earn money for our family.
How is it humanly possible that we're all living such different lives? It's 2011, yet, after watching that documentary, I can't help but wonder if there's some sort of time warp and they're really living back in the 1800s. And the worst part? These women all believe it. These women think they're only valuable because they have two ovaries and a uterus to house a baby. I think every night instead of thanking the Lord for all my fabulous female parts (you know, the one's that according to Mr. D-Bag make me worthwhile) I'm going to thank him for the brain he gave me that tells me I'm worth more and for living in a society that allows me to prove it.
I've never been more proud or happy to be an American.
Thank God my baby girl lives in a country where she'll be taught and encouraged to read that same book she's tearing up.
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