Surrogate Motherhood Essay

This essay has a total of 2561 words and 11 pages.

Surrogate Motherhood

Surrogate motherhood refers to that condition of a fertile (footnote) woman who has been
contracted to become impregnated via reproductive technologies such as donor or artificial
insemination. It is that condition wherein that fertile woman also has agreed to transfer
her rights on the child to the biological parents after giving birth. This is bounded by a
contract that was signed by the contracting parents and the surrogate. The reasons for
this generally fall into two categories. Either the contracting couple is unable to
produce a child or they would prefer to eliminate or enhance certain genetic traits. My
argument would apply to either case. For the purpose of this paper, the motivations are
irrelevant and the logic following applies to both. The possibility of surrogacy has
gotten people into quite a tizzy with furious debates concerning issues such as the
commedification of a woman's reproductive organs, the physiological & psychological harm,
and its social impacts on a religious definition of marriage. I will defend the claim that
surrogacy is an immoral action which places a socially constructed and therefore arbitrary
value on the natural phenomenon of human reproduction, the implications of viewing the
natural in terms of the artificial can be seen through the increase psychological and
health risks of the women that contract.

Prior to discussing the ethical issues, I must discuss the scientific process involved.
There are actually various types of reproductive technologies women can undergo. These
would include, as mentioned earlier, donor or artificial insemination, assisted hatching,
in vitro fertilization, gametra fallopian transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer,
intracytoplasmic sperm injection and embryo micromanipulation. These are actually the
technologies employed in the process of surrogacy (Hinman, 2001). Surrogacy or surrogate
motherhood, like reproductive technologies, can be further classified as gestational
surrogacy, traditional surrogacy, and egg donation.

Gestational surrogacy, as defined by various references, would refer to the surrogacy
condition wherein there in absolutely no genetic link between the child and the carrier.
This may be in the form of the following (Canadian Surrogacy Options, Inc.) Traditional
surrogacy, on the other hand, would refer to the surrogacy condition wherein the carrier
actually has a genetic link to the child. The surrogate concurs with the arrangement that
the intended father's sperm inseminate her and would transfer and or terminate her
parental rights over the child to the intended mother. It is also said that with this type
of surrogacy, the intended mother enters into a step parent type of adoption (Canadian
Surrogacy Options, Inc). Lastly, egg donation, would refer to the condition or process of
maintaining a database for potential egg donors (Canadian Surrogacy Options, Inc.) For the
purposes of this discussion, each of these engages in the commidification of the
reproductive agency and human reproduction by legally and socially justifying a condition
in which this capacity may become fungible.

Mother's egg, father's sperm - this type of surrogacy is usually employed in cases wherein
the mother is not capable of carrying a fertilized egg for medical reasons.

Donor egg, father's sperm - a type of surrogacy that is employed when there is doubt on
the quality of the egg or there are no available ovaries for fertilization.

Mother's egg, donor sperm - this is the opposite of donor egg, father's sperm. This is
actually taken into consideration when there is doubt in the quality of the father's

Donor egg, donor sperm - is the type of surrogacy chosen by intended parents who would
want to establish a genetic link with the child.

Surrogate motherhood became popular in the 1980's. This was popularized by the case of
Baby M, which primarily dealt on the ethical issues raised regarding reproductive
technology. Surrogacy is actually being used as a tool, medium, and or option taken by
infertile couples who would not want to engage themselves into the process of adopting a
child due to the failure of the wife or the husband or both to produce fertile gametes
that would enable them to procreate life (Squire, 1989).

Surrogacy, as mentioned earlier, is made possible via hiring a fertile woman who would
become the carrier of the said fertilized gametes and would be responsible of delivering
the offspring to the world after the nine months gestation period for the biological or
contracting parents.

Surrogate motherhood is now being practiced by developed countries like the US and some
other parts of the European continent and according to various references; surrogacy is
actually a legal practice. Women who have agreed to become surrogates are paid for their
participatory role and for the expenses they have incurred during the nine months
gestation period. However, although the said reproductive technology has been legalized it
entailed endless debates on whether it can be qualified as a moral and just act especially
on the part of the surrogates (Richardson, 1987).

Those who advocate the practice of surrogacy claim that it is a moral and just act since
people who are burdened by the frustration of not being able to procreate are actually
being addressed. With surrogacy, infertile couples are actually provided the joys of
parenthood. Likewise, it is also said that surrogacy does not necessarily have to be
equated with money. With the aid of laws and existing public policies regarding it, it is
also claimed that the possibility of commercialization and the development of a market for
it can be controlled and at the same time access to the said reproductive technology is
made possible for anyone who would like to avail it (

On the other hand, for those groups of people who strongly opposes the use such
reproductive technology, claim that surrogacy is wrong for it connotes baby selling,
reproductive organs are treated as a commodity, and so on and so forth. Likewise,
according to them, surrogacy makes parenthood become a fundamental right. Moreover, it
actually led to commercialization wherein fertile women where found to hire out their
wombs to the highest bidder. It could also lead to a confusing and damaging situation to
child once he or she discovers the nature of his or her birth. These are only few of the
main reasons why some people would take technology as unjust (Ragone, 1994).

Janet McDowell and others argue that surrogate arrangements are immoral because the act
itself deviates from the normal process of procreation which is the union of married
couples by means of sexual act or intercourse. Likewise, it not only reflects some
misunderstanding of the nature of procreation but also its fundamentals and primary
purpose as well as the responsibilities attached to it. Furthermore, love and commitment
of the surrogate to the child's biological father does not materialize as well as the care
of the surrogate to child she is bearing. Thus, this qualifies it to be considered merely
as biological procreation of babies and it degrades the dignity of human procreation and
human capacities (McDowell, Janet). Surrogate motherhood invalidates the religious
societal standard of having a marital relationship. Surrogacy may enable the existence of
same sex couples. This group argues that surrogacy is immoral because it sacrifices the
intended purpose of the union of a man and woman in the sacrament of matrimony, which is
to "go forth and multiply" or in other words to procreate. This argument, however well
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