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While surrogacy is often presented positively in the media, scholars argue that considering race and surrogacy alongside one another tells us another story. Dorothy Roberts and Alys Eve Weinbaum suggest that surrogacy is akin to slavery, during which women were forced to reproduce to meet the demands of an economy dependent on slave labor. Drawing from Black feminist legal scholars, Weinbaum argues that slave breeding is “a conceptual antecedent for surrogacy.” Put more directly, surrogacy would be conceptually impossible if not for forced reproduction under slavery. In the cases of slavery and surrogacy alike, “in vivo reproductive labor power and reproductive products have been engineered for profit.” It is precisely this connection that scholars say helps us to understand why Black people “make up a disproportionate number of infertile people avoiding reproductive technologies.” Beyond being largely inaccessible to people of color due to its exorbitant cost, Black people, Roberts says, distrust genetic technologies due to a long history of being told they are genetically inferior. According to Roberts, many Black people “are skeptical about any obsession with genes” because “they know that their genes are considered undesirable.” In short, surrogacy carries the weight of hundreds of years of racism in the U.S., something that informs who decides to be a surrogate and who decides to hire a surrogate. 

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