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Contract Pregnancies Exposed: Surrogacy Contracts Don’t Protect Surrogate Mothers and Their Children

The current debate over surrogacy in the United States has two main positions. One side argues we should allow the practice with regulations. The other side argues it should be prohibited altogether. All parties in the debate generally acknowledge that there can be abuses and exploitation, and that the best interests of the children produced should be considered.

Is a contract that involves the exchange of money for the gestation and delivery of a child against public policy? The debate over this question both fuels and is fueled by competing ideas on parenting, family configuration, women’s rights, and the human desire for children. In recent decades, a new, commercial, profit-making industry has emerged, making the regulation vs. prohibition debate ever more pressing.

The crux of the disagreement is over what should be done in order to minimize the harms to those women who serve as surrogates and to the children who are produced from these contract arrangements. How can we protect all the stakeholders, including the intended parents? Many trust that regulations, laws, and contracts will provide sufficient protection. My position, however, is that regulations, laws, and contracts do not—in fact, they cannot—protect women and children. The only way forward is to pass laws to stop surrogacy now.

Milestone “Traditional” Surrogacy Cases

The first surrogacy arrangements were what are now called “traditional” surrogacies, in which the child the surrogate carries is genetically related to her—that is, created using her own egg. These early surrogacies were achieved by artificial insemination, generally with the sperm of the intended father. More common today are “gestational” surrogacies, arrangements in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. In such cases, either donor eggs are used, or the egg of the intended mother is used. The sperm may come from the intended father (or fathers, in the case of gay male couples), or from a sperm donor.

Read more at The Public Discourse.

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