An examination of exploitation in international gestational surrogacy contracts

Dissertation, McGill University (2009)
Abstract
This thesis aims to determine whether international gestational surrogacy contracts are exploitative, and whether they should be prohibited. I chose a group of women working as surrogates at Kaival Maternity Home and Surgical Hospital, in Anand, Gujarat, India as a study group. After examining their life circumstances, I argue that these women live in unjust circumstances caused by institutional sexism and poverty. I critically assess arguments launched against surrogacy, organ trade, and prostitution and find that none of these are sufficient for demonstrating that contracts involving the sale of the body are necessarily exploitative. I find that surrogacy is exploitative because of a complex set of social conditions. Further, the contracts are beneficial to both the woman acting as surrogate and to the couple hiring her. I conclude that international gestational surrogacy is exploitative yet mutually beneficial, and prohibiting surrogacy would be harmful unless accompanied by drastic social change
Keywords Surrogacy  Feminist Ethics  Exploitation  Political Philosophy  Bioethics
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