Legal and ethical issues with surrogacy

Topics: Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Assisted reproductive technology Pages: 6 (2147 words) Published: October 19, 2013
Legal and Ethical Issues with Surrogacy
Surrogacy is the means of reproduction in which a woman consents to give birth to a child that she will not raise but impart to someone who is inept. Surrogacy is done by contract. It is an alternative to infertility. It is another option for those who can’t conceive but would want children. Having a surrogate mother or practicing surrogacy is very controversial. In this paper I will discuss the history of the issue with surrogacy as well as ethical and legal issues, alternative solutions, and potential effects of surrogacy in the future.

Surrogacy dates back to biblical times. The most credible records are dated in the middle of the 20th century. Surrogacy first went public in the 1970’s. The first artificial insemination clinic was introduced by Noel Keane and Dr. Ringold. The first paid surrogacy was to Elizabeth Kane. She agreed to be a surrogate for $10,000. Her indisposition to exit the agreement without the baby led to many legal impediments. She was stricken of custody due to a signed contract. Baby M. is another controversial result of surrogacy. It occurred in1986 where an agreement was made with a surrogate and she refused to give up the baby. (MEDSTAR, LLC, 2012). The surrogate mother’s unwillingness to give up the baby after it is born is a persistent issue in the history of surrogacy. It is also a misconception because surrogates already have children of their own. It is a qualification for them to have at least one child of their own before being involved in the surrogacy agencies. There are also other problems such as medical complications and unpaid medical bills. The hospital holds the surrogate liable for any unpaid medical bills when the intended parents do not pay. There are numerous reasons why women would want to consider getting a surrogate mother. For instance, if she has medical problems in her uterus or has had a hysterectomy. There also may be conditions that make pregnancy impracticable or medically risky. There are some women who consider getting a surrogate mother after several unsuccessful endeavors to conceive while also assisted with other reproductive techniques such as IVF. Surrogates make parenthood possible for people who are not able to adopt due to their age, marital status or even sexual orientation. (MD Gaither, 2013).

Traditional and gestational are two types of surrogate mothers. Traditional surrogates are the ones who made surrogacy feasible. A traditional surrogate is a woman who is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. The woman carries the baby and delivers it for the parents. A traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the child because her eggs are used and fertilized by the father’s sperm. Donor sperm can also be utilized for traditional surrogacy. Gestational surrogates have no genetic ties to the child but they are known as the birth mother. In vitro fertilization (IVF) harvests the eggs from the female that is incapable of conception. The eggs are fertilized with the father’s sperm and then they are placed into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. The gestational surrogate carries the baby until birth. Gestational surrogacy is less complex legally because both parents have genetic ties to the baby. It is more common than a traditional surrogate. According to about 750 are born each year using gestational surrogacy. (MD Gaither, 2013). Intended parents and surrogates have to consider what type of surrogacy arrangement they are comfortable with. There are two types of arrangements: commercial and altruistic. Commercial surrogacy arrangements are compensated. The surrogate is compensated for her time and effort. She may also be compensated for any traveling, and related medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. Pay scales ranges are between $0-$20,000. (Clark, 1999-2013) The potential surrogates determine how much they want to charge. The payment varies on how many times...

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013, September 10). What is Assisted Reprductive Technology? Retrieved September 16, 2013, from
Clark, V. (1999-2013). How Much Do Surrogate Mothers Get Paid? Retrieved September 15, 2013, from
Einstein Industries, Inc. (1997-2013). Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Procedures. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from
Keefer, A. (1999-2013). Pros and Cons for Surrogacy. Retrieved September 16, 2013, from
MD Gaither, K. (2013, September 9). Using a Surrogate Mother: What You Need to Know. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from WebMD:
MEDSTAR, LLC. (2012). History of Surrogacy. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from Find Surrogate
Pozgar, G. D. (2013). Legal and Ethical Issues 3/e. Burlingto, MA: Jones and Bartlet Learning.
Trimarchi, M. (2013). Types of Surrogacy. Retrieved September 15, 2013, from
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