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

Nov 3, 2017 by

by Jennifer Lahl, Public Discourse:

The United States currently has a hodge-podge of state-level legislation regulating surrogacy. High-profile disputes over surrogate pregnancies demonstrate this is not a workable solution. Regulating surrogacy does not protect women and children. It only commodifies them more.

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.

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