Harri Blankfield is currently staying in a ₤ 260-a-day suite at London’s Hilton Hotel.
She is an overweight, rich, short-necked American mother of two, regarded by some as a monster, by others as their pathway to fulfillment.
Personally, I see her only as a shrewd, avaricious business woman.
Mrs. Blankfied runs a business called Miracle Program which hires out female bodies to couples comprising of fertile husbands married to barren wives. Harriet Blankfield acts as the intermediary between the desperately childless and women prepared to rent out their wombs to be fertilized by the sperm of a stranger and ten to hand over the commissioned baby to the client and his wife.
The hired body paid of with ₤6,000 and Mrs. Blankfield gets ₤10,000.
British couples are said to be queueing up in their thousands for what I believe is a monstrous proposition, using women like rented storage dumps and treating babies as saleable luxury goods.
If this beastly money-making concern masquerading under the guise of compassion gets off the ground in Britain, sooner or later there will be a severely retarded child.
A wife will be committed to bringing up a handicapped baby that is no her own in the bitter knowledge that she and her husband paid ₤16,000 for the privilege, when children’s homes are overflowing with retarded children desperately needing a loving family.
There will be couples who will reject the children and demand their money back. There will be surrogate mothers who will find at the end of the nine months they cannot bear to hand over the babies. There will be ruthless greedy men who will offer their wives as baby-producing machines.
The child, healthy or otherwise, will inherit half its character from its mother and I would be concerned about the genetic stability of any women prepared to rent out her body as an incubator and sell her baby for profit.
The arguments of the childless, of course, are bristling with passion, emotion, and underlying hysteria.
‘You don’t understand,’ they say ‘ I don’t feel like a real women. I feel a failure.’
I quite frankly believe that to be balderdash, and I think it’s time somebdy said so. You are not a ‘real woman,’ whatever that might mean, merely because you mechanically have an efficient reproductive system.
But we’ve become the instant gratification society which says’ if I want a baby, I MUST have a baby otherwise my life is ruined.’ This is why disturbing people like Harriet Blankfield are able to flourish.
Fifty years ago it wasn’t thought a tragedy if you couldn’t have children: the tragedy was having too many.
It was a period that produced some of our greatest head-mistresses who were to rule and influence the lives of generations of women.
Of course, children frequently bring the most enormous rewards in love, in gratification, in pride and fulfillment.
But in an era when childless women seem increasingly, to believe that they feel diminished, I must point out that there is another side, that isn’t all a TV commercial fantasy of an apple-cheeked baby laughing in a field of daisies.
Motherhood also means restriction, loss of liberty, loss of any spare emotional strength or creativity.
‘Look at the greatest writers,’ Compton Mackenzie said before he died, ‘you will see they do not have children,’ and one only has to think of Iris Murdoch, Jean Rhys, Jane Austen and Muriel Spark, to be convinced.
Asked why she had achieved so little professionally in recent years, a women poet said ‘because the emotion I needed for my work I have expended on my children. There is nothing left.’
Most women relinquish that willingly with neither regret nor bitterness, and I write as somebody who has juggled with home and career for many years, probably to the detriment of both. There has been a lot of joy, but there has also been heartache.
And equally there are two sides for women who will not have children. There is inevitably an occasional sense of loss, of sadness, of envy, but it’s tragic only if those transient emotions become obsessive and corrosive, because the advantages are equally manifold in freedom, in creativity in emotional reserves.
Having children fills you with fear that never leaves you, fear for their safety, fear for their future, fear for their happiness, fear for the day when they will leave you. And behind that fear is guilt, because you feel their happiness depends on you.
‘I don’t feel complete,’ says women who can’t have children. In truth, although children bring untold happiness, they also stop you feeling free and complete, because part of you is with them forever.