The Pros and Cons of Commercial Surrogacy Essay Example
The Pros and Cons of Commercial Surrogacy Essay Example

The Pros and Cons of Commercial Surrogacy Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1114 words)
  • Published: October 29, 2018
  • Type: Essay
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The advancement of technology in relation to artificial reproductive techniques have thrown open a social debate that has wide-ranging implications. The society is challenged to find a balance between new commercial opportunities and their moral underpinnings. In this essay, salient points in favor and against such reproductive practices will be presented from a neutral perspective.

One of the clear dangers of scientifically engineered reproduction is the unprecedented social and moral complications entailing a cloned human being. The debate on cloning is a subject in its own right and hence this essay will only pertain itself to surrogate motherhood in its traditional and modern versions which categorically excludes the concept of cloning.

It is believed that nearly one in eight heterosexual couple in the United States


cannot have babies due to infertility of one or the other. Reproducing and having a family of one’s own is a basic human objective. In this context, artificial reproduction techniques will prove to be a blessing for these couple, who are perfectly capable of raising a healthy child, if only they can have one. But, there is a catch though, as the following paragraph will show (Annas, 1998).

While it is perfectly agreeable to facilitate infertile married couple to have a child of their own, the process gets complicated if the surrogate mother is hired. The passion associated with the act of copulation is an essential ingredient that binds the couple emotionally. When this act is mechanized, as is usually the case with surrogacy, then it is equitable to prostitution. Feminists would argue that this is one more way in which me

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try to control women and their concern is not unfounded (Callahan, 1999).

Another objection that is raised against artificial reproductive techniques is that it will lead to making babies and surrogates mere commodities. There are already certain websites in the Internet that offer these services and it won’t be long before it spawns an industry of its own. It is appalling to think of a commercial enterprise in which price tags are attached to human eggs, ovaries and surrogate mothers. This will undermine the long-standing tradition of family values and relationships. A renowned anthropologist raises questions about unusual relationship dynamics that could unfold in the future, thus:

“A woman can give birth to her own grandchild, for example, by carrying a pregnancy from her daughter’s egg. Embryos can be frozen and a child brought into the world long after its genetic parents are dead. The existence of such choices makes once apparently secure connections between biology, folk biology, conception ideology, and kinship categories less stable than they were.” (Konrad, 2002)

But, people who welcome commercial surrogacy have more to say. The conventional option for infertile couple is adoption. But the process of adoption had become increasingly more complicated in the modern world. The red tape involved can also be quite tedious. Moreover, the adopted baby will not be genetically related to the couple. Some studies have shown that the available pool of babies for adoption is also decreasing. Commercial surrogacy on the other hand can off-set or mitigate these drawbacks.

The skeptics make a pertinent objection when they say that commercial surrogacy can lead to deepen the

social fissures existing in the contemporary world. They point to a particular statistic in the surrogacy cases registered so far in the United States to support their argument. For instance, most of the surrogate mothers who offer their service are almost always from the lower strata of society. They opted to this mode of “employment” not because of altruistic or humanitarian reasons but for basic sustenance. Another relevant fact is that most women are either of African American or Hispanic lineage. If this phenomenon is left unchecked, there will come a time in the near future when a separate demographic category of surrogate women would develop, which would comprise the racially oppressed and economically backward women participating unwillingly in a baby-making industry (Mcewen, 1999).

The above argument is countered in equal measure by the following rationale in support of artificial reproduction methods. To quote:

“Means of assisted reproduction are also used frequently with couples who have difficulty conceiving or gestating a child, including women who have no uterus, have miscarried, or have conditions such as hypertension and diabetes that could be worsened by pregnancy. Surrogacy also affords parenting opportunities to women who suffer from illnesses, such as phenylketonuria (PKU), or HIV or AIDS that could damage the fetus either during gestation or the birthing process. Women now have the benefit of assistive techniques such as artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, cryopreservation, and surrogacy.” (Levine, 2003)

But it has to be remembered that the surrogate mother loses her right over the baby as soon after she delivers it. This can be very painful for both biological and gestating surrogates,

although the pain of severance from her baby must be more intense for the former. Since this is a commercial enterprise, she can be tried for breach of contract, if she were to show attachment toward the baby, however natural this might be. So, this can be inhumane and cruel to the surrogate mother and this is one of the more pressing issues that should be debated and discussed by the general public (Naraya, 2000).

On the other hand, the financial compensation that the surrogate mother receives from her patron is quite substantial. The lump sum that she receives will take care of her basic expenses for a long time to come. Even legislations are made to ensure that the surrogate mother gets paid for miscarriage and partial term completions. More importantly, according to updated law, she is entitled to full compensation even if the child is stillborn. So, the judicial climate is quite favorable to women who participate in commercial surrogacy (Daly, 1994).

In conclusion, we have to admit that this is a complex debate – one that concerns a broad range of social institutions. The foremost among them will be the ethical and legal implications of commercial surrogacy. There are strong arguments cited both in support and in opposition to this modern day concept and it is not easy to take a decisive stance on the issue. Contemporary society and its public intellectuals need to debate and discuss in earnestly so that the conundrums posed by commercial surrogacy are resolved in favor of the future human generations.


Annas, G. J. (1998). Death

without Dignity for Commercial Surrogacy: The Case of Baby M., The Hastings Center Report, 18(2), 21+.

Callahan, S. (1999). The Worth of a Child., The Hastings Center Report, 29(3), 44.

Daly, L. K. (Ed.). (1994). Feminist Theological Ethics: A Reader (1st ed.). Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press.

Human Life a Gift, Not a Commodity. (2002, November/December)., Canadian Speeches, 16, 14+.

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