Should surrogates be paid for carrying a child?
What we will be exploring…
A common ethical question is whether you can put a price on human life. This creates the argument or, when paying surrogates, are you paying the mother for their service or are you ‘purchasing’ the product, or the life of the child you will be receiving.
Commoditizing Women’s Bodies:
In many places in today’s society, one may see the commercialization and objectification of women’s bodies. One side of the anti-surrogacy argument is the idea that surrogacy is the commoditization of a woman’s body- if paid, it is simply nothing more than a money maker. Though the surrogate is the one carrying the child, it is likely that the decisions made for her body are not being decided by her, but rather the people who are paying her to carry their child. A woman’s autonomy is a controversial topic when it comes to the issue of pregnancy and childbirth, surrogacy being a small piece of a larger feminist argument. If not paid, a woman is allowed to carry out a pregnancy on her own terms, possibly putting the baby at risk or inciting conflict between the future parents and surrogate mother over the treatment of the pregnancy.
Labor and Payment
Surrogacy involves many physical and mental strains. Because of these strains, many consider surrogacy to labor that should be paid. However, the argument arises that pregnancy is not like a working job that requires manual labor but instead is a natural bodily function. For example, organ donors do not get paid for their donations simply because their organs were functioning. Furthermore, a surrogate cannot simply work 9-5. Pregnancy and birth take around 9 months, creating abnormally long “work hours” for a surrogate mother. However, others treat surrogacy as a traditional job. The surrogate’s autonomy is, in many ways, taken from them while carrying the child. Many demands are placed upon them such as doctors’ visits and health habits, much like the responsibilities of an employee in the workforce.
Who’s Baby is this?
The most prevalent issue in the courts today involves the issue of custody. Depending on the type of surrogacy carried out, the surrogate mother may or may not have a genetic link to a the child. In cases where the surrogate mother passes her genes to the child, does she have the right to file for custody at birth/at any point up to the child’s 18th birthday? Not only does the mother have the right to, but will she win in that case? Genetically and legally, she has paternal rights over the child. Should the surrogate have the right to change her mind and keep the child? In instances where the mother has no genetic link to the child, should the fact that the surrogate held the baby throughout the entire gestation period have any bearing on her parental rights to the child?
Application of Bioethical Principles
Dive In: A Case Analysis: Johnson Vs. Calvert
If you are unable to listen, here is a link to a transcript!
Conclusion— Share YOUR thoughts!
In conclusion, I’d like to share my own personal thoughts around the question, “Should surrogate mothers be paid for carrying children?”. Overall, I believe there are pros and cons to both sides, depending on one’s own perspective as well as the intentions of the people surrounding them. Firstly, to address the issues of the commoditization of babies and women’s bodies, one may assume the position that they are not paying for the child or the use of the women’s body, but rather they paying the surrogate a courtesy fee for the physical labor and pain she will endure during the pregnancy. If viewed from that perspective, the issue of putting a price on human life is waved. In my opinion I believe that surrogacy should be viewed as a traditional job due to the labor and long work hours of the pregnancy, therefore they should be paid similar to a traditional job. Following along with that concept, this implies that a clear work contract must be written and agreed on by both the surrogate parents and the surrogate mother. If terms and conditions are clearly stated from the get-go, most, if not all, legal complications regarding who the baby truly belongs to will be abolished. I do understand that emotional attachment to the surrogate child due to hormones or other causes are likely, however, if stated in the contract prior to the birth, this threatens a lawsuit on the grounds of breech of contract, deterring any custody battles. All in all, I firmly believe that surrogacy should remain legal and paid.
Disagree? Agree or have something to add? I’d love to hear from you!—
Email Me!: email@example.com