Pregnancy Surrogacy, Wrongful Conception and Ethical Issues in Medicine

A. Is being a Surrogate Mother Ethically Correct?

B. Factors that Cause Infertility

C. Methods to Help Couples Conceive

Infertility and Surrogate Mothers Continued

A. Screening a Potential Surrogate

B. Surrogacy Options Leading to Children

C. Surrogacy is a Billion Dollar Industry

When Surrogacy Goes Wrong

A. The Baby M. Case

B. Downward Spiral in Mrs. Whitehead giving Baby M to the Sterns

C. Whitehead Family runs off With Baby M., Baby M Returned Final Custody


Analyze the ethical principles of human dignity, compassion, non-malfeasance and social justice.

Discuss the elements of autonomy, fidelity and confidentiality.

Explain the legal rights of individuals as they interact with health care services.

Explain the process, including cultural diversity, for ethical decision making.

Analyze the monitoring systems that ensure human rights, legal aspects, and quality health care.

Discuss the implications of the Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Analyze selected ethical and legal case studies that have promulgated precedent setting decisions.

Must include an introductory paragraph with a succinct thesis statement.

Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.

Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph.

Must use at least five outside resources.

Must use APA style as outlined in your approved style guide to document all sources.

Must include, on the final page, a Reference List that is completed according to APA style as outlined in your approved style guide.


Infertility and Surrogate Mothers

Is it ethically correct to help infertile couples conceive a child with a surrogate egg donor? Some think it is morally and ethically incorrect to tamper with human nature; helping infertile couples conceive is a noble gesture, but can sometimes lead down the road to disaster and heartbreak. We will examine the many new and innovative ways surrogate parenting has advanced in the new millennium. Couples are now putting off having children at a later time in life, when they are more financially stable to have children; however waiting in your mid thirties to early forties brings a high risk of infertility into play. A number of things can cause infertility issues, being overweight, drinking, smoking, lack of exercise or prior sexually transmitted illness are just a few of the causes. Now more than ever couples who want to have children, can do so with the help of infertility specialist and modern medicine. A common known medical fact, is the older a women gets the less eggs she produces for insemination; this is why it is always best to have children as early as possible. There are quite a few methods to help get a couple pregnant, I will only examine three. The most common being IVF, in vitro fertilization.

The female patient is given a drug to stimulate her ovary production, once matured the doctor retrieves the eggs from the patient and put into a dish and mixed with her partner's sperm, once insemination is confirmed the eggs are placed back into the patient, to see if the pregnancy will take. The second route a doctor may take is introcyplastmic sperm injection, in this method a single sperm cell in introduced into a fertile egg and transplanted into either a healthy uterus or fallopian tube. If all else fails, this is where a surrogate may be suggested; if a women cannot conceive at all or she is unable to carry a pregnancy full term for health reasons. She may have poor eggs or good eggs and no uterus to bring a child to maturation. A women should not be punished for not being able to have a baby, however society would have you think that a childless women is not a compassionate person, frigid or just plain selfish.

This is why so many couple will go above and beyond to conceive children and end up paying the ultimate price, which ends in heartache.

 Infertility and Surrogate Mothers Continued A surrogate mother is put through a medical and mental health screening process, before being picked by a couple to carry their child. There are quite a few factors to consider when couples choose a surrogate mother; Is this person smart, drug free, honest, has no major chronic illnesses. Surrogacy can got two ways medically, they may opt to use the surrogate as a gestational carrier or an egg donor. In scenario one the female partner may have healthy eggs and no uterus, after the doctor combines her eggs with her mates sperm, the zygote is transferred to a surrogate mom to carry on a normal nine month gestational period. On the opposite end of the spectrum the same procedure is performed with the male partners healthy sperm and the donated eggs of a surrogate. Quite a few people on either end of this medical issue will say it is wrong to play God and mess with nature; in addition they will say the world is over populated and there are so many children that need adopting. All humans have one selfish need; to have children that are biologically related to them, that is why surrogacy is a billion dollar business on both ends, it is lucrative for the doctors and poor women who loan their bodies out like human guinea pigs and rent their wombs, so to speak to make a living. With this being such a lucrative business money wise, scam artists looking to make a fast buck by opening up fly by night companies to match egg donors and surrogates to poor unsuspecting couples looking to become parents. “SurroGenesis is one of a number (does anyone have any idea how many?) of for-profit surrogacy agencies that essentially act as a brokers and facilitators.  They locate surrogates and intended parents, as well as egg donors.   They connect them up with each other and, at least ostensibly, deal with a host of details.   Perhaps most important for the moment, they hold the money that is to be paid the surrogate. Except, of course, in this case they didn’t hold the money.  They took it.   Perhaps as much as two million dollars all told.   For some couples this means they’ve paid SurroGenesis and lost their money. “

When Surrogacy Goes Wrong

The baby M case is a good example of surrogate parenting gone wrong. In 1982 an initial contract was signed between one Mary-Beth Whitehead and the Stern family. Mrs. Whitehead agreed upon giving birth to the baby she carried to full term, that she would surrender her rights and turn the baby over to the Sterns to raise as their biological child. The surrogate pregnancy went on normally and she gave birth to Elizabeth in March of 1986. She handed over the baby on March 30th, two days after giving birth.

From there things went downhill, Mrs. Whitehead called the Sterns and threatened to harm herself if the baby was not returned to her care immediately.

It took the Stern family months of back and forth legal wrangling to get baby M back. A few months later Mr. Stern went to the residence of Mrs. Whitehead with a court order in hand and served it on Mrs. Whitehead; unbeknownst to him Mrs. Whitehead’s spouse, Richard had run off to Florida and went into hiding with baby M in tow. Some three months later in July, the Rbaby and the Whiteheads were found by the authorities. Baby M was reunited with her legal parents on July thirty- first of that year; however the courts did grant Mrs. Whitehead visitation rights as she was the baby’s natural birth mother, pending the final outcome of the courts; eventually the New Jersey Supreme Court granted Mrs. Whitehead parental rights to baby M, while full custody was granted to the Stern family, in the best interest of said minor child. As with anything that goes against the grain of nature, there is and always will be an ethical issue. In this case the natural birth mother bonded with the child she carried for nine months and did not want to surrender custody of the baby to the birth father, even though she had already signed away her rights to the baby in a binding legal custody document agreement, terminating her parental rights. In this case the court sided with the birth mother to a certain extent, that a child should not be separated and taken away from a birth parent, he or she has already bonded with. This decision was overridden by a higher authority. This case certainly caused a sensation when it came to light, twenty-five years ago.

Should Doctors Tinker Wth Life and Play God?

Many conservative Christians and others will say doctors, should not play God and create life in a laboratory dish. Tinkering with life can open up a whole can of worms, so to speak. One such case is the the so called, Octo mom Nayla Suleman. Suleman was an unmarried woman and had trouble conceiving children, she went to seek out the help of a fertility specialist, and ended up having fourteen kids in all. This would fine and well, if she was married and could afford to care for them on her own; not to mention that some of the children have serious birht defects. This in itself is very troubling, because it makes us wonder if all the drugs and tampering with human gene cells did not play a role in injuring these children.

Some would say, just let nature take it's course naturally; while others who are childless and suffering from the outside looking in will do whatever is necessary to become parents. Often times these people will shell out thousands of dollars; sometimes they get results, but more often it ends in heartbreak. We end having unscupulous people who see this as a business, and end up scamming these poor couples who are unable to conceive children naturally.

“It may seem shocking to some people, but there are plenty of surrogacy “scams" on the web.  These are perpetrated by con artists who prey on the desire of individuals and couples to have a child of their own. But it’s easy to see why so many people turn to the Internet when they begin to seriously consider surrogacy; after all, we turn to the Internet for practically everything in this day and age.  But it’s critical that if you’re seeking a surrogate, you not fall for the scammers. When a couple is in search of a surrogate or a reputable agency, they need to do the proper investiagtion to make sure the company is above board, how may years have they been in existence, and can we interview previous clients for positive feedback?, is the questions that needs to be asked by prospective anxious parents to be.

The Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Creating Life

Things with surrogacy and creation of life is now getting out of hand to the point, that two years ago the national council on adoption started advocating for the right of frozen embryos to be adopted by loving families. The families in question after the approved adoption process was completed, use the eggs to get pregenant and carry the child to term, give birth and raise the child as their own if the pregnancy was a success. However rthe starnge thing with this story is, the embryos are in limbo and in fact not even human beings at all but at the zygote stage and not alive as we know it. Under the law an embyo is treated as a possesion, property so to speak. Again this brings up the question, when does life begin? Conception, first trimester, second trimester? That is a question that may never have a correct answer. As a person who decides to adopt and brinag an embryo to maturation, ask yourself this question;

What are the genetic traits of the donors? Where they stable and normal people. The thing about dealing with life and conception, it is like a mixed bag of nuts, you never know what your getting; years down the line you don't like the child for whatever reason and want to give it back because of a birth defect or personality character disorder or flaw. This is why human life should not be manaufactured and traded away so easily, because we are after all talking about a human being that technically did not exist until someone decided to play God and transfer an embryo to an unfertile couple, who in reality did not realize that they might be getting something that turned out to have a flaw.

“Do genetic parents of people who are born into their families through embryo placement have a similar right to control the release of their identifying information? According to property law, they would at the time of placement, but the embryo that was treated as property becomes a person with rights. Does that person have a right to know his genetic origins? If so, is that right absolute, or should there be exceptions? Genetic parents' a rguments for maintaining privacy would not seem to be as sympathetic as that of birthparents', but what if they would only agree to the placement if they can do so confidentially? How should the law resolve this issue? “ Atwood (2008)