Is Commercial Surrogacy Baby‐selling?

Journal of Applied Philosophy 7 (1):45-50 (2008)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT This essay considers a common objection to commercial surrogacy on the grounds that the child is treated as a commodity for sale by the surrogate and the commissioning couple. I analyse one prevalent argument for the view that commercial surrogacy is a kind of baby‐selling, not service‐selling. I conclude that this argument rests on an implausible interpretation of what the reproductive services are. I defend an alternative interpretation of typical surrogacy agreements. Furthermore, I argue that this interpretation fails to support the conclusion that the surrogate is primarily or exclusively selling a baby, rather than her reproductive services. My primary concern is to diagnose a conceptual error in an argument against surrogacy. However, the interpretation of surrogacy arrangements that is defended helps to shift the focus from the issue of whether or not the child is degraded to the issue of whether or not the surrogate degrades herself or is degraded by the commissioning couple.

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