Ethics of Surrogacy

Pregnant Model

Ethics of Surrogacy: Is maternal surrogacy ethical? In the relatively new and complicated world of artificial insemination and assisted reproductive technology, are there right and wrong ways to proceed?

The problem begins when a couple, for a variety of reasons, is not able to conceive and/or carry their own biological baby through pregnancy to birth.

Putting all of the complications of surrogacy aside, doesn’t everyone have the right to enjoy procreation and growing a family?

I am reminded of my Bible studies over the years. Even Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had her servant, Hagar, carry and deliver her first son, Esau. So, surrogacy isn’t new. It’s just more complicated these days.

I am not going to argue the ethics of surrogacy at length because it is so complex and there is no good answer on either side of the question.

Having said that, I will give my opinion on a few salient points.

Much has been learned over the past few years about avoiding the heartbreaking pitfalls of Surrogacy. Much more scrutiny and investigation goes into Surrogate selection.

The Ethics of Surrogacy Explained

A British study published in 2002 demonstrated that 43 couples unanimously had a good experience. None of the surrogates complained of having severe remorse over handing the baby to the legal parents. A few had a twinge of sadness, but nothing dramatic or noteworthy.

In that same study, the parents and children have evolved into stable and loving families. If this group is a sampling of the surrogacy process at large, concerns about the babies and the surrogates have literally been dispelled.

It is my opinion that if no one is hurt in the process, surrogacy is an acceptable way for Infertile couples to create a family.

The cost of surrogacy raises an entirely different set of problems. The most alarming is that Surrogacy is apparently only for the relatively wealthy who can afford the $50,000 plus price tag.

And, this financial burden leads us right into the question of commissioning International Surrogates. The primary consideration in discussing a surrogate from a third world or developing country, is the human “commodity” issue. Is the use of international surrogates a form of human trafficking?

The cost of an international surrogate is nearly one third the cost of a U.S. or U.K. surrogate. Investigations have demonstrated that the compensation to international surrogates is fair and relative in terms of standards of living.

All international surrogates have entered surrogacy arrangements of their own free will. And, like their U.S. counterparts, have had no remorse when giving the baby to the legal parent.

As we advance in our ability to select genetic features, the question arises about where lines should be drawn. If you can pay extra to select gender, eye color, and other features, are you playing God or manipulating nature?

Is it ethical for a woman who is perfectly healthy to commission a surrogate so that she can keep her youthful figure?

And, finally, who can make these decisions and enforce them?

Dr. Christine Strong, NMD

The Ethics of Surrogacy

If you would like a consultation with Dr. Strong, write to

Ethics of Surrogacy

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