Poor attitudes against different family structures harm children most

I was dismayed to read Ms Ho Lay Ping's letter (Ban surrogacy to protect the interests of children and women; Jan 5).

It contains inaccurate and harmful claims.

Research shows that children of same-sex couples do as well, or even better, than children of heterosexual couples.

This is because while heterosexual couples can have children they may not want or are unprepared for, same-sex couples deliberately and consciously plan for a child.

The claim that children of surrogates are separated from their biological mother also attacks everyone who adopts children because adoption is often of a non-biologically related child.

Such claims are a great disservice to people who adopt.

The act of surrogacy itself is not a demeaning one.

In a proper, legally regulated, consensual environment like the United States, surrogacy is a valuable, loving gift given by women to other less-fortunate people.

It should not be trivialised.

It is only fair that the time and effort of the woman providing the service is properly compensated for.

It is not "buying a commodity".

Years ago, people used very similar claims about mixed-race or mixed-religion families, incorrectly claiming that children needed parents who are of the same race or religion to thrive.

They would point to examples of mixed-race or mixed-religion families failing due to bullying in society, and use that to call for the banning of mixed-race or mixed-religion marriage.

That, of course, completely misses the point that it is the attitude of society that should change to be more understanding and compassionate.

We now all should know it would be wrong to try to ban mixed-race or mixed-religion marriages.

What actually harms the children of same sex couples or singles, or those who have been adopted, are poor attitudes against them; attitudes that are completely opposite to the ideals of a compassionate society that accepts diversity, justice and equality for all.

Martin Piper

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'Poor attitudes against different family structures harm children most'. Subscribe