"Our Baby, Her Womb" by Arlie Russell Hochschild
One. What is a typical surrogate mom situation?
A woman hits about 40 because she's worked during that time, she has a lot of financial resources, and she realizes she's too old to bear a child, so she seeks a younger, less financially endowed woman.
The dynamic of power is someone with money buying someone's body and that body belongs to a someone of modest financial means.
An aside: Just like the documentary we saw on temporary work, whenever we're short on financial resources we find ourselves vulnerable to sacrificing our bodies to survive.
I'd rather be a surrogate mother than work in a chicken farm.
The total cost is $80,000, and this includes psychological evaluations. However, in India, the total cost is $10,000.
Two. What are the typical steps at attempting pregnancy?
First, the husband and wife have a doctor implant their embryo in a surrogate's womb.
If step one doesn't work, step two is combining the husband's sperm with a surrogate's egg (a donor egg) and implanting into another surrogate's womb.
In the case of Dr. Patel, she increases the chances of success by implanting "about five embryos at at time, aborting fetuses if they numbered more than two."
Three. What common abuses exist in the surrogate market?
See this essay about surrogacy and child abuse.
See this essay about allegations of an unfit father.
Four. What are some ways people might defend surrogacy?
Surrogacy provides a moral solution if safeguards are met. However, one may counter-argue that the legal safeguards are too vulnerable to be upheld.
Surrogacy is evil, but in poor countries it can be the lesser of two evils where families otherwise would make no income. Some may counter-argue that the monetary benefits are short-term and are cancelled by the long-term harm done to the surrogate mother who is often forced into surrogacy by her father.
Surrogacy is sometimes done by a loving family member, a sister, a cousin, for two examples, and the final result is joy for all concerned. Some may counter-argue that these cases are the exception, not the rule, and we shouldn't make policies based on rare occurrences.
In the context of “Our Baby, Her Womb,” support, defend, or complicate the argument that surrogate motherhood is a moral abomination.
A close examination of the surrogate motherhood industry reveals it to be a moral abomination evidenced by _______________, ________________, _______________, and ___________________.
Thesis That Defends Surrogacy
With the right regulations, surrogate motherhood can be a viable alternative for couples who depend on this method as way of becoming parents. We're not going to stop the business, so we should regulate it. We shouldn't deprive couples of free choice. In the free market, the transaction can be mutually beneficial.
Thesis That Condemns Surrogacy
Aspiring parents tempted by the promises of surrogacy, do not be deceived. Technology is not a Fairy God Mother who grants us our procreation wishes. Money is not a ticket to gratify our prenatal dreams. Neither technology nor money can cure the moral and legal woes that make surrogate motherhood a deal with the devil worthy of abolishment. That surrogacy must be abolished is evident when we examine _______________, __________________, ___________________, and __________________.
Another Thesis That Condemns Surrogacy
While I want to be fair and acknowledge that there are some instances of healthy surrogate births, the overwhelming evidence shows huge opportunities for abuse for all parties involved. My research shows that children of surrogates suffer from high degrees of depression, surrogate mothers want the child and create a legal nightmare for the family, surrogate mothers and their children alike are treated like commodities, many surrogate children, deemed undesirable, are abandoned, and worst of all, situations bringing up abortion can present a legal tangle, pedophiles traffic these surrogate children around the world with near impunity.
Summarize the pros and cons in your introduction: 250 words.
Thesis: 150 words.
Four supporting paragraphs 150 each 600 and 400 for 1,000 subtotal.
Two counterargument-rebuttal paragraphs: 300 words. 1,300 total.
Conclusion, a restatement of your thesis: 100-200 words: 1,400-1,500 word total.
Example of an Essay That Never Uses First, Second, Third, Fourth, Etc., for Transitions But Relies on "Paragraph Links"
Stupid Reasons for Getting Married
People should get married because they are ready to do so, meaning they're mature and truly love one another, and most importantly are prepared to make the compromises and sacrifices a healthy marriage entails. However, most people get married for the wrong reasons, that is, for stupid, lame, and asinine reasons.
Alas, needy narcissists, hardly candidates for successful marriage, glom on to the most disastrous reasons for getting married and those reasons make it certain that their marriage will quickly terminate or waddle precariously along in an interminable domestic hell.
A common and compelling reason that fuels the needy into a misguided marriage is when these fragmented souls see that everyone their age has already married—their friends, brothers, sisters, and, yes, even their enemies. Overcome by what is known today as "FOMO," they feel compelled to “get with the program" so that they may not miss out on the lavish gifts bestowed upon bride and groom. Thus, the needy are rankled by envy and greed and allow their base impulses to be the driving motivation behind their marriage.
When greed is not impelling them to tie the knot, they are also chafed by a sense of being short-changed when they see their recently-married dunce of a co-worker promoted above them for presumably the added credibility that marriage afforded them. As singles, they know they will never be taken seriously at work.
If it's not a lame stab at credibility that's motivating them to get married, it's the fear that they as the years tick by they are becoming less and less attractive and their looks will no longer obscure their woeful character deficiencies as age scrunches them up into little pinch-faced, leathery imps.
A more egregious reason for marrying is to end the tormented, off-on again-off-on again relationship, which needs the official imprimatur of marriage, followed by divorce, to officially terminate the relationship. I spoke to a marriage counselor once who told me that some couples were so desperate to break-up for good that they actually got married, then divorced, for this purpose.
Other pathological reasons to marry are to find a loathsome spouse in order to spite one’s parents or to set a wedding date in order to hire a personal trainer and finally lose those thirty pounds one has been carrying for too long.
Envy, avarice, spite, and vanity fuel both needy men and woman alike. However, there is a certain type of needy man, whom we'll call the Man-Child, who finds that it is easier to marry his girlfriend than it is to have to listen to her constant nagging about their need to get married. His girlfriend’s constant harping about the fact their relationship hasn’t taken the “next logical step” presents a burden so great that marriage in comparison seems benign. Even if the Man-Child has not developed the maturity to marry, even if he isn’t sure if he’s truly in love, even if he is still inextricably linked to some former girlfriend that his current girlfriend does not know about, even if he knows in his heart of hearts that he is not hard-wired for marriage, even if he harbors a secret defect that renders him a liability to any woman, he will dismiss all of these factors and rush into a marriage in order to alleviate his current source of anxiety and suffering, which is the incessant barrage of his girlfriend’s grievances about them not being married.
Indeed, some of needy man’s worst decisions have been made in order to quell a discontented woman. The Man-Child's eagerness to quiet a woman’s discontent points to a larger defect, namely, his spinelessness, which, if left unchecked, turns him into the Go-With-the-Flow-Guy. As the name suggests, this type of man offers no resistance, even in large-scale decisions that affect his destiny. Put this man in a situation where his girlfriend, his friends, and his family are all telling him that “it’s time to get married,” and he will, as his name suggests, simply “go with the flow.” He will allow everyone else to make the wedding plans, he’ll let someone fit him for a wedding suit, he’ll allow his mother to pick out the ring, he’ll allow his fiancé to pick out the look and flavor of the wedding cake and then on the day of the wedding, he simply “shows up” with all the passion of a turnip.
The Man-Child's passivity and his aversion to argument insure marital longevity. However, there are drawbacks. Most notably, he will over time become so silent that his wife won’t even be able to get a word out of him. Over the course of their fifty-year marriage he’ll go with her to restaurants with a newspaper and read it, ignoring her. His impassivity is so great that she could tell him about the “other man” she is seeing and he wouldn’t blink an eye. At home he is equally reticent, watching TV or reading with an inexpressive, dull-eyed demeanor suggestive of a half dead lizard.
Whatever this reptilian man lacks as a social animal is made up by the fact that he is docile and is therefore non-threatening, a condition that everyone, including his wife, prefers to the passionate male beast whose strong, irreverent opinions will invariably rock the boat and deem that individual a trouble maker. The Go-With-the-Flow-Guy, on the other hand, is reliably safe and as such makes for controlling women a very good catch in spite of his tendency to be as charismatic and flavorful as a cardboard wafer.
A desperate marriage motivation exclusively owned by needy, immature men is the belief that since they have pissed off just about every other woman on the planet, they need to find refuge by marrying the only woman whom they haven’t yet thoroughly alienated—their current girlfriend. According to sports writer Rick Reilly, baseball slugger Barry Bonds’ short-lived reality show was a disgrace in part because for Reilly the reality show is “the last bastion of the scoundrel.” Likewise, for many men who have offended over 99% of the female race with their pestilent existence, marriage is the last sanctuary for the despised male who has stepped on so many women’s toes that he is, understandably, a marked man.
Therefore, these men aren’t so much getting married as much as they are enlisting in a “witness protection program.” They are after all despised and targeted by their past female enemies for all their lies and betrayals and running out of allies they see that marriage makes a good cover as they try to blend in with mainstream society and take on a role that is antithetical to their single days as lying, predatory scoundrels.
The analogy between marriage and a witness protection program is further developed when we see that for many men marriage is their final stab at earning public respectability because they are, as married men, proclaiming to the world that they have voluntarily shackled themselves with the chains of domesticity in order that they may be spared greater punishments, the bulk of which will be exacted upon by the women whom they used and manipulated for so many years.
Because it is assumed that their wives will keep them in check, their wives become, in a way, equivalent to the ankle bracelet transmitters worn by parolees who are only allowed to travel within certain parameters. Marriage anchors man close to the home and, combined with the wife’s reliable issuing of house chores and other domestic duties, the shackled man is rendered safely tethered to his “home base” where his wife can observe him sharply to make sure he doesn’t backslide into the abhorrent behavior of his past single life.
Many men will see the above analysis of marriage as proof that their fear of marriage as a prison was right all along, but what they should learn from the analogy between marriage and prison is that they are more productive, more socialized, more softened around his hard edges, and more protected, both from the outside world and from themselves by being shackled to their domestic duties. With these improvements in their lives, they have actually, within limits, attained a freedom they could never find in single life.