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Running head: COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

A Phenomenological Study on the Lived Experiences of Filipina Baby-Makers on Commercial


Surrogacy
Pia Roelen C. Pahati
BSP 4D

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

A Phenomenological Study on the Lived Experiences of Filipina Baby-Makers on Commercial


Surrogacy
Poverty has been a great predicament that Philippines face nowadays. From the many
informal settlers living in the cities, up to the beggars and homeless people that are seen on the
streets, we can clearly see how poverty affects our motherland.
Due to poverty, many people supported themselves by working as vendors, scavengers,
car watchers, barkers, beggars, and sometimes through illegal activities such as those of
snatchers, pickpockets, drug sellers, and prostitutes (Aoki, 2008), and nowadays, Filipinas also
enter the occupation as surrogate mothers, or more likely to be known as baby-makers in the
context of Filipino setting. In proof of this claim, Manicad (2008) interviewed two baby-makers
in his documentary; one aged 17 and the other teen is aged 14.
Poverty is not the sole main cause of commercial surrogacy in our country, but also
because of infertility. For many Filipino Catholics who are having problems when it comes to
reproduction, they go to Obando, Antipolo, and pray to St. Claire to give them a child (Santos,
2014), but in the present, there comes the baby-makers for all them who experiences problems
conceiving a child yet do have the amount of money to pay. In abroad, the term that they use is a
surrogate mother, but in the Philippines, it is more likely termed as the baby-maker, maybe
because, this has been their occupation, their way of living, and that calling them surrogates
would be a euphemism, especially as it is common that the female baby-maker is the provider of
the egg. According to Machinton (2008), when the surrogate mother is also the egg donor, the
term "surrogate" becomes a euphemism. We are really dealing with a natural or biological
mother who has agreed to conceive, carry a fetus to term, deliver the child and then terminate her

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

parental rights in exchange for medical expenses and in most cases a sum of money, paid upon
fulfillment of the contract.
Some says that this is not an issue of legality, as there is no law here in our country that
states commercial surrogacy as illegal. However, coming from a very conservative background
that our country came from, this is however an issue of morality (Trapp, 1995). However, we can
not make any indications about this phenomenon here in our country as this was yet unexplored,
though existing. Therefore, this exploratory phenomenological study will focus on the lived
experiences of Filipina baby-makers on commercial surrogacy.
Surrogacy
Surrogacy is a complex reproductive alternative (Preisinger, 1997). Surrogate
motherhood is a practice that circumvents female infertility. In it, a fertile woman - the surrogate
mother - agrees to intervene in the reproductive process either for, or in collaboration with,
another woman who typically is unable to have a child. The practice of surrogate motherhood in
the U.S.A. was introduced in 1976 as an individual solution to a problem of infertility and was
presently organized as part of a surrogate industry run by entrepreneurs. People who seek the
services of surrogate mothers are usually couples constituted of an infertile woman and a fertile
man (Roher, 1987).
According to Fisher (2012), there are different types of surrogacy (ie., traditional
surrogacy, gestational surrogacy, gay surrogacy, interfamilial surrogacy, altruistic surrogacy,
commercial surrogacy and the international surrogacy). The first type of surrogacy is traditional
surrogacy, and it occurs when a woman chooses to donate her egg, becomes pregnant, and
relinquishes the baby to another family. Traditional surrogacy is also known as partial surrogacy
(van den Akker, 2005). The medical procedure for traditional surrogacy is artificial insemination

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

and it happens when a surrogate mother uses her own egg fertilized by the intended fathers
sperm (Nakash & Herdiman, 2007, p. 246). Traditional surrogacy may also involve donated
sperm, which adds to the complexities of the practice. Historically and currently,
traditional surrogacy may happen without the use of technology and medical
interventions and personnel.
The second type of surrogacy is gestational surrogacy, which happens when a woman
carries a genetic embryo of the intended parents in pregnancy, delivers the baby, and relinquishes
the baby to his/her parents. A gestational surrogate may also carry a donor embryo or oocyte, egg
cell, for an intended parent(s). The embryo, whether donated or not, is not genetically connected
to the surrogate mother. A gestational surrogate is often characterized as a gestational carrier.
Gestational surrogacy is the third party reproductive practice that is on the rise due to the lack of
genetic tie between the birth mother and infant thus representing a severe in this relationship
(Twine, 2011).
In third party reproduction, gay surrogacy is one of the most complex, exclusive, and
costly arrangements, according to Kashmeri (2008). Gay surrogacy challenges the dominant
societal assumption that solely women desire having children and legitimizes men choosing to
become fathers (Kashmeri, 2008; Twine, 2011). Other language used to describe gay surrogacy is
queer reproduction or queer surrogacy (Kashmeri, 2008).
Interfamilial surrogacy is a new term for a surrogate who is a relative such as a sister,
mother, aunt, or cousin, or close friend of the commissioning couple (Hanafin, 2006). Along with
the three forms of surrogacy described here, there are also two orientations towards being a
surrogate mother: altruistic surrogacy and commercial surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy has an
additional dimension, namely international surrogacy.

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

Altruistic surrogacy is legal in some countries worldwide. Surrogates are not financially
rewarded for the pregnancy. Although, all expenses related to the surrogate arrangements
including insurance, medical expenses, maternity clothing, and other related expenses are usually
reimbursed by the intended parents.
Commercial surrogacy occurs when a woman is paid for the process of surrogacy by the
intended parents. The payment includes coverage of all expenses related to the pregnancy and
birth, plus money to be a surrogate. This form of surrogacy is controversial because it can be
argued that payment for the service of surrogacy reduces the surrogate mothers choice, and
increases her vulnerability. Moreover, it has been described as baby selling due to the surrogate
receiving payment (Sharma, 2005; Twine, 2011). An outcome of commercial surrogacy is
international surrogacy, which has emerged significantly since the first American gestational
surrogacy in 1986 (Mechanick, Braverman, & Corson, 1992; Twine, 2011).
International surrogacy is commercial, gestational surrogacy which takes place across
country borders, typically with prospective parents from wealthier countries and surrogate
mothers from poorer countries (Humbyrd, 2009, p. 112). Heightened concern about the
exploitation of vulnerable women is expressed in relation to international surrogacy practices
(Twine, 2011). More recently, international surrogacy is also being called reproductive tourism
(Hanafin, 2006).
Commercial Surrogacy
Commercial surrogacy is a rapidly growing industry in the United States. Yet, feminists
remain divided on the issue. Some worry that prohibiting the sale of women's reproductive
services will reinforce cultural stereotypes of women, particularly pregnant women, as irrational,
emotionally driven, and incapable of making informed decisions about their bodies. Others

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

contend that allowing the sale of women's reproductive services objectifies women as fetal
environments (Moon, 1994).
In this type of surrogacy, the buyer purchases the rights to the services of the seller. The
pregnant woman may not terminate her pregnancy, and the resulting baby must be given to the
buyer or the intending parents (Liberto, 2011). In short, she will relinquished her rights as a
mother of the child.
Based on the study of Anderson (2000), he argued that if commercial surrogacy isnt
literally selling a child, then it is selling the child out. To enforce pregnancy contracts is to
legally endorse the principle that mothers are entitled to prot economically from relinquishing
their parental rights to the child, and that others are entitled to induce her to do so. This is to treat
her parental rights as hers to give away, out of regard for her own interests. In treating them as
freely alienable, the pregnancy contract endorses a way of regarding these rights not as to be
exercised out of love for the child, but as to be exercised out of regard for the interests of the
adults who have them. Moreover, it introduces a conict of interest between the mother and her
child: she risks losing her fee if she acts on her judgment that the child would be better off
remaining with her. In short commercial surrogacy excludes a norm of parental love for children
namely, the norm that the mother may express her love for her child by asserting her right and
duty to care for it as its parent. Another way to see how children are commodied in the process
is to see how the status of the child differs in the two legal regimes. Where the pregnancy
contract is null and void, the child is the preeminent party in the custody dispute, whose interests
govern the allocation of parental and custodial rights. Where the pregnancy contract is valid, the
child is not a party to the suit over breach of contract. It is merely the object over which

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

possession is disputed. If the pregnancy contract is enforceable, then custody of the child is
awarded according to its terms, without an independent inquiry into the childs best interests.
Based on a news article by Santos (2014), commercial surrogacy in India has thrived
since it was legalized in 2002. India, most specially the city of Anand in Gujarat has become
known as the Mecca for surrogacy. She stated in her article that couples who in this city can
find fertility clinics that may provide a familiarization tour that orients them on the process, the
available facilities for the care of the surrogate mother, and the roles and financial
responsibilities of the commissioning parents and legalities. Once a surrogate is found, both the
commissioning couple and the surrogate undergo counseling to manage expectations. A medical
check-up is conducted, and a consent form is signed, signalling the start of the process of the
embryo transfer.
Commercial surrogacy in India has thrived since the Supreme Court made it legal in
2002. Indias reproductive tourism is estimated to be worth about USD 50 billion. The Indian
Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has identified 886 surrogacy clinics across the country. At
least 50 such clinics are added every year, according to reports.
According to Mukherjee, the person interviewed by Santos (2014), India does not only
caters its service of commercial surrogacy to the couples of its own country but also to couples
from all over the world, as surrogacy has become a survival strategy and a temporary occupation
for many poor women in their country.
In addition to that, it was also reported that women who agree to become surrogate
mothers in India, must agree to withhold physical contact with their husbands for (as stipulated
in her contract) until she safely delivers the baby. She lives in a hostel or a clinic where clinic

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

personnel who also administer her pre-natal check-ups look her after. She lives away from her
family for the duration of her pregnancy.
Commercial Surrogacy in the Philippines
Commercial surrogacy in the Philippines has also spread it phenomenon in our country,
as there are many reports that we can see on television news and can read on newspapers. But the
most part that can put one off guard is the openly asking of baby makers online.
Pinoy Exchange.com forums
Posted by: ladysurvivor. (Nov, 2002)
looking for a babymaker...
Hi theres this couple who are my friends. They cannot produce a baby because of the girl's
incapacity. The man is a 38 y.o. good-looking, nice businessman. This man would like to have
his own baby, so now, they are looking for a lady would be willing to get preggy and carry his
baby for 9 months. Reminder: no emotions involved. if you're a lady, pls. think about this, what
would be your conditions?....
Posted by: konichiwa (Nov, 2002)
babymaker
I'm looking for a baby maker. Anyone who knows if such exists? If somebody knows someone or
if someone is interested, just send me a PM or email me. I'm desperate to have a child of my
own. The payment can be discussed privately.
Shobeh88
i'm interested.
contact me at 09175121169.
hope this isn't a scam.
samantha

With advertisement such as this one placed in blogs, forums, and other social networking
sites it is easy to understand why some remuneration act as a motivating factor and the
commoditization of women as baby makers became open. Aside from that, it was found that
surrogates do acknowledge the need for money as motivating factor (Kleinpeter & Homan,
2000).

COMMERCIAL SURROGACY

There is no law in our country that clearly states that commercial surrogacy is illegal in
our country, as they have said, it in not illegal yet it doesnt necessarily mean that its not
unethical.
Senator Many Villar proposed a bill last 2006, about surrogacy here in our country, called
Senate Bill No. 2344. The bill states that:
Surrogate parenting is a concept that is relatively new in this country, although for a long
time it has been widely known in the US. and in other well- developed countries. Surrogate
motherhood is nothing but baby selling. It is similar to the generic experiments that are done
with animals who are bred for certain purposes. A woman becomes a surrogate mother when she
agrees to conceive a child in her womb only to give away the child after birth to another person
for a valuable consideration
Infertility is a real crisis for many married couples. Medical advances can help a
significant number, but many still face the possibility of forever remaining childless. Adoption is
not a feasible alternative for most because fewer and fewer children are available. Hence, a
surrogate is often their only choice. We feel, however, that while infertile couples desperately
seek to have a baby, their desires should not be met at the expense of transforming human
reproduction into a purely utilitarian enterprise.
The idea of negotiating pregnancy by commercial contract should be abhorrent to
anyone who believes in the dignity of human life. Commercialized surrogacy reduces women to
the status of breeding animals, their wombs rnted, their eggs bought and sold in much the same
manner as commercial livestock. In the surrogacy process, the ultimate victim is the baby, whose
identity is fragment between two parents whose only relationship with each other is a financial
agreement.

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Babies are not products like microwave ovens and automobiles. Pregnancy should never
be reduced to a commercial service.
Civilized nations throughout the world have outlawed commercial surrogacy
arrangements. It is now time for the Philippines to follow suit. This will deter any future plans
mostly of foreigners from luring our Filipino women to become surrogate mothers. The quantity
of surrogacy incidents in the past, in our minds, will not justify the passage of a law banning the
same.
The enclosed bill proposes to penalize not only surrogacy arrangement but also the act of
selling infants by their mothers. The practice of surrogacy arrangement is morally and
religiously wrong. We see no 'difference between
surrogate motherhood and black-market baby selling. Hence, both practices are outlawed in this
bill.
The Present Study
There have been numerous studies abroad that pertain to surrogacy, yet no other study
explored the lived experiences of female baby-makers on commercial surrogacy, abroad or here
in the Philippines. The goal of this phenomenological qualitative study was to identify a number
of salient aspects of the subjective experience on commercial surrogacy of Filipina baby-makers.
In particular, my aim was to explore the following: (1) affective dimensions of commercial
surrogacy on female baby-makers the intensity of emotions; (2) cognitive aspect like the selfperception of female baby-makers on surrogacy and to their own selves; (3) their social
experiences brought by their occupation as a female baby-maker; (4) its psychological effects on
ones well-beingduring pregnancy, giving birth, and relinquishing the child to the intended
parents.

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I will facilitate the discussions using a semi-structured topic guide that explored the
following points: (1) familiarity and recognition on the experience of baby-making on
commercial surrogacy; (2) personal views on commercial surrogacy; (3) emotions and thoughts
experienced with regards to commercial surrogacy; (4) lived experiences of being a female babymaker; (4) overall views about commercial surrogacy.
Research Questions
This research will focus on finding answers on the following questions:
1. What does commercial surrogacy mean to them?
2. What are their personal reasons in engaging themselves in commercial surrogacy?
3. What are their experiences in this phenomenon?
Methods
Research Design
In this study, I will use the qualitative method of phenomenology as there is no theory of
choice. According to Flowerday and Schraw (2000), phenomenological design is appropriate
when ones goal is to explore a phenomenon about which little has been written, (p.35) which is
likely the same with my goals in this study. I will also be going to collect information from
participants who are able to describe the phenomenon through their experiences, which will
allow me to organize themes, based on their responses.
According to Wahyuni (2012), the research paradigm for this study will be
constructivism. I will have the ontological position of being subjective and socially constructed
in this research. In epistemological terms, I will focus upon the details of the situation, or the
lived experiences of the participants.

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Participants
The sample of participants will be consisted of five female baby-makers. The sample will
be generated using snowballing techniques. The participants will be 18 and above age-old
women who experienced commercial surrogacy. Each participant will be required to meet the
basic requirements of being a female and with an experience on commercial surrogacy and is a
self-confessed baby-maker. All participants that will be involved in this study are Filipino
women with at least one experience of commercial surrogacy.
Instrument (Appendix A)
The instrument that will be going to use in this study will be guided by the interview
questions that I will design will guide the flow of the interview with the participants, specifically
on following in-depth interviews.
Procedure
I will first give each participant an informed consent which they have to sign. This
informed consent contain all the things that they need to know about the researchits purpose
and its reason for being conducted. It is also indicated in the informed consent that the
information that they will provide will be held with great care and confidentiality. Aside from
that, I will also clear to them that they are free to leave from participating in the research once
they feel uneasy about it. I will also be going to explain the specific details on which they will be
contributing within this research.
The data gathering procedure will be coming from a series of in-depth interviews with the
participants through their verbal responses. . In-depth interviews with the participants, will focus

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on the Filipina baby-makers experiences about the phenomenon of commercial surrogacy. These
verbal responses will be recorded using an audio recorder, and will be transcribed verbatim by
the interviewer. Body language, positions or any initial observations to the interviewee will be
noted. The initial in-depth interview will about to last for 30 to 40 minutes
In-depth interviews will be used because it is the type of qualitative method that will
enable people to talk about their personal feelings, their opinions, as well as their experiences.
Aside from that, it also gives the interviewer the chance to gain insight into how the participants
interpret their experiences (Mack, Woodsong, MacQueen, Guest, & Namey, 2005).
Data Analysis
The data that will be gathered from the series of in-depth interview with the participants,
from the audio records and the transcribed notes of the past interviews. After collecting it, the
notes from the handwritten transcription as well as the audio recordings will be encoded in the
computer. Upon encoding the data to the computer, participants will be coded with numbers for
confidentiality.
Transcripts will be read repeatedly to identify the key themes and categories, which were
then developed into a framework for coding the body of interview data. I will analyze the data
collected using qualitative content analysis, by identifying themes based on the responses that the
participants have given. After identifying themes based from the contexts, I will be going to ask a
professional or a researcher to help me check the data to perform test code reliability.

References

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Apold, V. J. (2005). Commercial surrogacy: Reconsidering canada's criminal prohibition.


(Order No. MR08575, Dalhousie University (Canada)). ProQuest Dissertations and
Theses, , 183-183 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305407857?
accountid=28547. (305407857).
Trapp (Slagter), J. E. (1995). Contextualizing ethical issues: Surrogacy. (Order No. 9614969,
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 202
202 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304234276?accountid=28547.
(304234276).
Moon, L. L. (1994). Commercial surrogacy: A liberal, feminist analysis. (Order No. 9427192,
University of California, Irvine). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 250-250 p.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304091344?accountid=28547.
(304091344).
Liberto, H. R. (2011). On the moral and legal alienation of reproductive rights, sexual rights,
and rights to bodily organs. (Order No. 3471410, The University of Wisconsin Madison). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 200. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/885028223?accountid=28547. (885028223).
Senate Bill No. 2344, Manny Villar, 2006.

Roher, D. R. (1987). Surrogate motherhood: The nature of a controversial practice. (Order No.
8809129, Wayne State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 225-225 p.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/303631147?accountid=28547.
(303631147).

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Fisher, A. M. (2012). A narrative inquiry: How surrogate mothers make meaning of the
gestational surrogacy experience. (Order No. MR88297, University of Victoria (Canada)).
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 177. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/1069261859?accountid=28547. (1069261859).
Pashmi, M., M.A., Tabatabaie, S. M. S., PhD., & Ahmadi, S. A., PhD. (2010). Evaluating the
experiences of surrogate and intended mothers in terms of surrogacy in isfahan. Iranian
Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 8(1), 33-40. Retrieved from
http://search.proquest.com/docview/862160660?accountid=28547
Khan, M. J., Altaf, S., & Kausar, H. (2013). Effect of perceived academic stress on students'
performance. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, 7(2), 146-151. Retrieved from
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McCarthy, C.J., Lambert, R.G. & Moller, N. P. (2006). Preventive resources and emotion
regulation expectancies as mediators between attachment and college students stress
outcomes. International Journal of Stress Management, 13(1), 1-22. doi: 10.1037/1072
5245.13.1.1.
Misra, R., & Castillo, L.G. (2004). Academic stress among college students: Comparison of
American and international students. International Journal of Stress Management, 11(2),
132-148. doi: 10.1037/1072-5245.11.2.132.

Appendix A
Interview #1

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1. Demographic Questions: Please tell me how old you are? Where are you from originally?
Where do you live now?
2. When did you start working as a baby maker? Do you have other occupation aside from
this?; where?; doing what?
3. What prompted you to decide to enter this kind of job? What experience have you had
with commercial surrogacy?
4. How did/does your current situation affected your decision to enter this kind of job
wherein you are engaging into commercial surrogacy?

Interview #2
1. Please read the definition of commercial surrogacy which was defined by studies.

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

(provided by the researcher)


a. What do you think of that definition?
b. Does that definition match your understanding?
c. Do you think there is something missing?
In your own view, commercial surrogacy?
What put you into doing this?
What is your view about commercial surrogacy?
What is your over all affect into this?
Tell me about the way you feel during those cases when giving birth to the child is

already near. What was on your mind during those times?


7. Tell me about the way you feel during those cases that you are going to relinquished the
child to the intended parents?
8. Tell me about the way you behave during those cases that you are going to relinquished
the child.
9. What do you think other people think of you?