Surrogacy . . . An Ethical Dilemma

    Surrogacy is a moral dilemma that has risen out of the advance of medical technology.  It is a practice by which a woman is hired to bear a child for another woman, or a couple, who are not capable of having children themselves (for whatever reason--the man or woman is infertile, the woman cannot carry the child, etc.)  In considering surrogate cases, it is useful to define certain terms:  the intentional mother or father is the one who wants to have a child (it may be a couple or an individual), the genetic mother and father are those who supply the egg and sperm for the embryo, the gestational mother is the woman who carries the embryo to term and gives birth to it, and the nurturing mother and/or father raise and nurture the child.  Though distinct names have been provided, the individual roles may overlap.  For example, the surrogate (gestational mother) may also be the genetic mother, the intentional parents may also be the genetic parents, or perhaps the genetic parents are neither the surrogate nor the intending parents.  With such a complicated arrangement of people, it is logical to see how complications might arise.  Moral dilemmas are faced in all stages of surrogacy.  Questions arise when considering who the intentional mother and father are.  Should there be an age limit?  What about someone who does not have the money for such an expensive procedure?  Secondly, once embryos have been fertilized, what should be done with the "extras"?  Whether they are frozen for later use, or found growing in the woman's womb, ethical decisions must be made.  In addition, after the child is born, what should be done if the surrogate (gestational mother) changes her mind?  These are just a few dilemmas that may surface when dealing with surrogacy.  The following web sites supply more information on the reproductive technology in general, as well as ethical considerations relating to the topic:


 Literature on Reproductive Technologies (
    A site with general information on reproductive technologies including RealVideo and Multimedia resources, PowerPoint presentations, religious documents, ethical information, additional resources, and input from the National Bioethics Advisory Committee.

 Surrogacy (
    A site sponsored by Baby Centre.  Contains information specifically about surrogacy including how it works, how long it takes, success rates, and positive and negative aspects of the procedure.

 Surrogacy Support....It's here! (
    Includes information on various agencies that deal with the reproductive technology, surrogacy laws, an ethical commentary by the author of the page, and various other links to sites about surrogacy.

 Legal Overview of Surrogate Laws by State (
    Shows a map of the United States with explanations as to where each state stands in regard to the issue of surrogacy.  States are divided based on whether they criminalize paid surrogacy, whether surrogate contracts are unenforceable, if the state recognizes surrogacy as legal, if they have a case law, or whether no law is available.

  Surrogacy Articles & Stories (
    A site that offers articles and stories from a medical, legal, and psychological perspectives.  Also includes personal stories and those from various agencies.


Medical Articles on Surrogacy (
    Medical articles about surrogacy compiled by The American Surrogacy Center (TASC).  Articles include, but are not limited to, "Embryo Transfer Clinics--A Critical Look," "Assisted Reproduction--A Christian Clinician's View," "Surrogacy:  Practical Medical Aspects," and "Types of Surrogacy."

 Medical Ethics and the New Reproductive Technologies (
    An article excerpted from the chapter, "Emotional and Ethical Considerations of Assisted Reproductive Technology," in the book, Choosing Assisted Reproduction:  Social, Emotional and Ethical Considerations.  Discusses the rights to reproduce versus the rights/best interests of the children involved, the rights to information regarding one's genetic origins, and the issue of liberation versus exploitation of women for reproductive purposes.

 Surrogacy: Exploitation or Violation of Intimacy? (
    An article by John Ozolins that supports the view that most ordinary instances of surrogacy are wrong.  He determines this by considering the morality of surrogacy in terms of respect due to other human beings and the importance of their intimate relationships with one another.  He feels that in order to look at surrogacy in these terms, we must first understand what it is to be a human person, and then come to understand why making relationships with other humans vulnerable to destruction is immoral.

 Surrogacy from a Feminist Perspective (
    Discusses the following topics:  models of surrogacy, trials of surrogate mothers,  and how surrogacy has turned a normal biological function of a woman into a commercial contract.

Surrogacy - Why Women Lose (
    A web page sponsored by Women's Issues and Social Empowerment (W.I.S.E.).  In an article by Christine Szikla, several issues regarding women are discussed, including the structural subordination of women, societal expectations of women as mothers, surrogacy, surrogate mothers vs. social mothers, and the exploitation of women.

 Personal Stories and Experiences (
    Personal stories and experiences about surrogacy, egg donation, infertility, in addition to advice on the topics.  A good way to get real life information upon which to base a decision on surrogacy.  Sponsored by TASC..