On Black Friday, a surrogacy agency in Ukraine called BioTexCom offered a fun new deal: three percent off your next baby. The discount, according to the ad, applied to hiring Ukrainian women to be surrogate mothers, to IVF, or whatever mixture thereof.
If the name BioTexCom sounds familiar, it’s because this is the agency saddled with nearly 100 stranded babies in a Kiev hotel, to be cared for by a handful of nurses, at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. That happened because the babies legally belonged to the wealthy Western couples who bought them but couldn’t pick them up due to travel restrictions. The babies’ Ukrainian mothers weren’t allowed to care for the babies after the birth – they weren’t their “property” anymore.
That situation, and this tacky Black Friday discount, illustrate something crucial. Whatever feels icky about “three percent off a new baby” is still there when it’s full price. Industrialized assisted reproduction turns both women’s bodies and babies into commodities on Black Friday and every other day. God made us for so much more.