Fair trade international surrogacy

Developing World Bioethics 9 (3):111-118 (2009)
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Abstract

Since the development of assisted reproductive technologies, infertile individuals have crossed borders to obtain treatments unavailable or unaffordable in their own country. Recent media coverage has focused on the outsourcing of surrogacy to developing countries, where the cost for surrogacy is significantly less than the equivalent cost in a more developed country. This paper discusses the ethical arguments against international surrogacy. The major opposition viewpoints can be broadly divided into arguments about welfare, commodification and exploitation. It is argued that the only valid objection to international surrogacy is that surrogate mothers may be exploited by being given too little compensation. However, the possibility of exploitation is a weak argument for prohibition, as employment alternatives for potential surrogate mothers may be more exploitative or more harmful than surrogacy. It is concluded that international surrogacy must be regulated, and the proposed regulatory mechanism is termed Fair Trade Surrogacy. The guidelines of Fair Trade Surrogacy focus on minimizing potential harms to all parties and ensuring fair compensation for surrogate mothers.

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