The human mind is so constituted that it is nearly impossible for people to admit that they are in a sub-optimal situation or that they have done something regrettable, much less wrong. So long, at least, as their physical needs are met and they are not in any obvious pain or immediate distress.
I do not know if women are more inclined this way than men, though I suspect they are. (Now there would be an interesting psychological study, if it could be devised. Much more interesting than a study on how eye movements correlate with political opinions.) I do find in myself a constant tendency to try to find something to hang on to in any situation, some way of saying, "Well, think how much worse it could be," or, "At least there's this good thing that came out of it."
In debates about public policy or private morality, this human desire to make a virtue out of necessity has another consequence: Whenever some act is already done, even if it was arguably a wrong act, if a child results from that act, we are told that we must not say that the act was wrong, on pain of making the child feel bad. The child is here now. The child is a good thing. What's done is done, water under the bridge. Don't judge, or you'll stigmatize the child.
Unfortunately, what this means is that all sorts of discussions about everything from fornication to technological reproduction don't take place, or take place only with constraint, because of a desire to make the best of things and because of a fear of hurting the feelings of the innocent.
Here is one recent manifestation of this problem: New South Wales has new legislation about to go into force that will punish overseas commercial surrogate arrangements, which are already illegal in NSW itself. In such arrangements, prospective parents who for whatever reason cannot or will not bear their own children pay a poor woman in a third-world country to bear their embryos. (I would imagine that this could also be done with other forms of assisted reproduction, including having the surrogate also provide the egg.) One such mother refers to the surrogate's pregnancy by saying, "We are currently 14 weeks pregnant with twins." Well, not exactly. You're not pregnant, ma'am.
That same woman won't be punished in any way, as she will be grandfathered under the new legislation. But she plays the "stigma" card quite blatantly:
The Smiths are safe from prosecution, because the ban will not apply to those who have already started the process.
But Kara Smith is angry her children will still live with a stigma.
"It's extremely disappointing that the Government have gone down this path," she said.
"It's sending a clear message to the hundreds of families that have had children born via surrogacy arrangements that it's wrong and immoral. And it's heartbreaking."
The nerve! Sending a message that a particular way of making babies is wrong and immoral! How dare they!
Here's a question for Mrs. Smith: Suppose that it were to turn out that the women had not, in fact, agreed voluntarily to bear the children. (This is purely hypothetical.) Suppose that the government sent a "clear message" via legislation that those arrangements were "wrong and immoral." Would that not potentially, somehow, "stigmatize" the children? Should such legislation not therefore be introduced or passed?
Rape also sometimes brings children into existence, but obviously rape should be illegal even if children born of rape are "stigmatized" (when their origins are known).
I suggest we retire the entire argument about "stigmatizing." Throughout human history children have come into existence by way of acts that are "wrong and immoral." Whether such acts should or should not also be illegal is a matter for sober public debate about the type of act in question. Yes, some children conceived in these ways are already here, but that does not obligate us to go on as we have begun. The argument from stigma is a bad argument even when it involves children, and even when it appeals to the human instinct to make a virtue out of necessity.