Why is a surrogate mother a controversial issue
What is a surrogate mother? Surrogate mother is a process where a woman is hired to carry and deliver a child for another woman or couples with an agreement that the baby will be given to them after the birth. Medical science has really progressed over the years and today there are two types of surrogates, Gestational Surrogate and Traditional Surrogate. A gestational surrogate is a process where egg and sperm from intended parents or from unknown donors are put together using In Vitro Fertilization or IVF to create an embryo. Once the embryo is created it will be implanted into the surrogate mothers uterus for her to carry until the birth. Traditional Surrogate is when a sperm from the intended father or sperm from an unknown donor is inserted or implanted into a woman uterus for the natural fertilization to take place.
Surrogacy is believed to have been around for over a hundred years as explained by some individuals who have been studying about the topic for several years. Surrogacy also referred to as artificial insemination, was allegedly believed to have been used by royal families as a way to manage their male fertility that will keep the family blood line intact for many years. Practice of surrogacy at that time was not something to be proud about or brag about and it was generally kept a secret. Couples who were given the donor sperm didn’t tell other families, friends and the children themselves that a donor sperm was used.
The first formal arrangement of surrogate mother that was recognized in the United State happened in 1976. Since then an estimation of over 5000 surrogate children have been born. In 1980, the first surrogate mother case of “Baby M" caught the nation’s wide attention and it stirred up major controversies among the people around the world.
Today, “Surrogate mother is euphemistically referred to as “hiring a womb"" (“Surrogate Mother-Is it allowed in Islam?"). Detractors of surrogate mother describe it as “baby selling and a vehicle for the exploitation of poor women" (“Does Surrogacy Involve Making Families or Selling Babies?"). What started out as an act of love between family members has now turned into commercial business. Surrogate mother has violated the blessedness between, mother, father, and a child. It causes postpartum depression because of the emotional attachment between the surrogate mother and a child and it’s not in any way in the best interest of a child. Woman who can conceive on her own should not consider the service of surrogate mother.
Despite the growing number of surrogate babies born every year, there continues to be much controversies and debates surrounding surrogacy. Issues such as the morality and the ethical aspect of the practice have been argued between both advocates and detractors on the topic of surrogate mother. Inappropriate use of surrogacy is another argument between the pros and cons on this topic. Because there is a monetary payment involved, some argue that surrogate mother has become a business of some sort. One process or one birth from a surrogate mother can cost up to $60,000. This amount of money is an average annual salary of a person with good job. Comparing this amount to Palau, it is more than an annual salary of a person holding a very high governmental position. The cost includes the agency’s fee for screening and finding a potential surrogate mother, the medical procedures, and compensation fee for the surrogate mother that will be given to her after the birth of the child. With this knowledge, poor but healthy woman are drawn in by the money and offer themselves to serve as surrogate mother. Because money can buy a surrogate mother to carry a child for whoever, rich couples and women view it as “convenience" way to have a child or children (http://humupd.oxfordjournal.org). If I can afford to avoid nine months of pregnancy mood swings, stretch marks, and fatigue, why not? “Allowing this type of surrogacy to continue will result in poorer women of every country “selling" their wombs for financial gain and ending up becoming nothing more than a class of “breeder women"" (Kerns, 2010). Regardless of some illegality of surrogacy in the United States, there are surrogate agencies who are making a lot of money from couples or women who seek the service of surrogate mothers by offering them exclusive deals in selecting traits for the baby they want and finding a perfect surrogate mother for them. An article on the Fertility Race, Psychologist Hillary Hanafin compare the whole process of surrogate mother as “like cherry picking, like you’re creating a child through a catalog" (http://american radioworks.publicradio.org). Washington Lawyer and activist Andrew Kimbrell on the same article say “it is the attempt to commodify the act of child bearing and to commodify children. It is baby selling pure and simple which is forbidden in all 50 states"(http://american radioworks.publicradio.org).
Together with the increasing cost of using surrogate mother, there are also considerable emotional facts about surrogacy. The entire process can be physically and emotionally stressful to the surrogate mother. Nothing is more hopeful and joyous than bringing a life into the world. A very real possibility that a surrogate mother will get emotionally attach to the baby she is carrying needs to be considered. In fact most cases of surrogate mothers where centered on emotional attachment from the surrogate mother to the baby. This can create great amount of suffering on all sides," not to mention potentially leading to a long and messy legal battle" (Lounsbury). There’s a special bond that happens during the pregnancy that reasons to the attachment to the baby. Surrogate can develop a close bond to the unborn baby and will feel devastated when she has to hand the child over to the intended parents. This can cause stress that lead to postpartum depression and it will require medical attention. Some women were asked about what they think about surrogate mother and one in particulars Justy said that “ I don’t think I could be a surrogate. I could not have a part of me out there that I’m not taking care of" (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org). Other concerns are the created harmful effect on the child. The child may be affected by feelings of being born by unknown donors. Any child has the right to know his/her biological parents. What happen to a child who was conceived by unknown donors? What is to become of his/her identity? (Dougherty, 3).
With the advancement and progressed of medical science technology to allow infertile people to have children, still nothing can control the outcome of births. When a traditional surrogate is performed meaning a donor sperm is to be injected inside the surrogate mother uterus for the natural fertilization to take place, it can result in multiple births. What happens if the intended parents only wanted one child? What is going to happen to the other child? In case a surrogate child is born with disability and the intended parent changes their mind because they don’t want to take care of a child with disability, what is going to happen to the child? Who is responsible to take care of her/him? Sometimes during pregnancy, the surrogate mother faces complications resulting in miscarriage. Who is responsible for medical bills?
Surrogate mother may have started with good intentions but it has turned out to be a controversial issue and has stirred up all different opinions around the world. Legal experts warn that paid surrogacy is illegal (Keefer, 2011). Michigan state was the first to make it a felony of any contract of surrogate mother with money involve and fine of up to $50,000 or 5 (five) years imprisonment is a punishment for the offense. I discourage people and/or families not to consider or support services and the inappropriate use of surrogate mothers. Yes, family is important and some women may feel incomplete without a child or children in their lives but is surrogacy the solution? Adoption is a different way and legal way to have a child. World is over populated by children who have lost their homes, who have lost their parents, who were abandoned from birth. These children need home and loving people to take care of them. By choosing adoption over surrogate mother, you will not only fulfill that empty void in your life but you also help that child by providing him/her a place to call home and tender love and care he/she is most deserve.
Dougherty, Charles J. “What’s Wrong With Surrogacy? Center for the Study of Religion and
Society. Vol. 3 . http://moses.cregihton.edu
Keefer, Amber. “Pros and Cons for Surrogacy." eHow Contributor. 01 Feb. 2011
Kerns, Michelle. “Surrogate Mother Facts." Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 21 April 2010
Lounsbury, Delwyn. “What are the Pros and Cons of Surrogacy?".
“Surrogate Mother." Online. Internet. Available:
“Surrogate Motherhood: A House for the Baby to Grow In." Online. Internet. Available: