Billie Jean, BBC and Surrogacy

I always keep an eye out for surrogacy in the news. It is usually with a fair amount of trepidation since media coverage is often not what I would hope and generally focused on the more sensational aspects. I set up a Google news alert about a year ago, and it has become part of my morning ritual to check our the stories listed.

For the past two weeks, my surrogacy news alert–just like every news alert–has been filled with items on Michael Jackson and his kids. You see, I had forgotten that one of his children (Blanket) was born via surrogacy; you could make a case that the older two were as well based on the arrangements with Debbie Rowe. But anyway, one child at least.

I groaned when I realized the connection to surrogacy, especially since there are now some legal questions involved about his official relationship to the children. This situation is perfect and crazy enough for the media to sink its teeth into. And frankly, I don’t want Michael Jackson to be the face of surrogacy. I don’t want the spotlight on his life to include surrogacy and color perceptions just as I don’t want the OctoMom to be the lens through which IVF is perceived and discussed. So far, the surrogacy angle hasn’t exploded, and I pray it stays that way. Maybe there is simply too much other crazy stuff about his life that surrogacy seems positively mundane.

It is frustrating, though, that the focus can’t be on normal people simply wanting to build a family. Celebrities have that right too, but they often seem to do more harm than good due to their fame. Poor Sarah Jessica Parker’s surrogate’s life was turned into a circus with the local police implicated in breaking into her home. Absurd!

Speaking of nice, normal people…If you are free on Sunday night, BBC America is airing a show called “Addicted to Surrogacy” about four British surrogates and their pregnancies and lives. I think they each have done at least 7 or 8 surrogacies. Oy vey. When I wished for coverage of normal people, this show wasn’t what I had in mind! BBC has an interesting, fun mix of serious journalism and sensationalism with hard-hitting shows such as “My Little Breasts and Me” and teenage male anorexics, so I expect nothing less from the surrogacy program.

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