In surrogacy debate, who should compassion be shown to?

I am disappointed that Mr Martin Piper's letter uses the concept of the compassionate society to push for the implementation of American policies in Singapore (Poor attitude against different family structures harm children the most; Jan 11).

The research may not necessarily be reliable. Testimonials given to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles in 2015 show that children of parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are under tremendous pressure to answer positively in such studies or face the wrath of political activists.

The act of surrogacy may not itself be demeaning, although Thailand and India, two of the most popular countries for surrogacy, have been working to legally limit the industry because it seems prone to abuse.

However, surrogacy for homosexual couples is a different issue. A number of homosexual couples have resorted to court orders to bar their adopted children from looking for their birth parents, out of fear that the children will reject them once the birth parents - even surrogates - are found.

For this reason, even many of the countries that have legalised same-sex marriage have not legalised homosexual surrogacy.

Where is the justice and equality for these children, who are banned by their foster parents from finding out their own family history?

It is also contradictory for Mr Piper to say that proper financial compensation should be given for the " gift" of surrogacy.

The economic definition of a commodity is a good or service that is exchanged in return for financial compensation. This makes the service of surrogacy a commodity.

Same-sex parentage denies the child from experiencing difference too. This is important as familial relations form the basis through which the child builds connections with the rest of society.

In the end, the debate is not over whether to show understanding and compassion; it is over who we should show it to.

Clement Wee Hong En

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'In surrogacy debate, who should compassion be shown to?'. Print Edition | Subscribe