Surrogacy is prohibited in almost all Western countries, but the industry of surrogacy continues to grow. Recently, for example, New York State (US) legislation announced its support for commercial contracts between the surrogate mother and the intended parents, who may or may not be the child’s biological parents. Institutions defending women’s and children’s rights are strongly opposed to this practice. Indeed it is the first time that surrogacy is legalized with a commercial contract in Western countries. We have published several articles on this subject, which our readers can read HERE.
Last March, an issue of the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Volume 258 – Pages 1-8) published a review article entitled Bioethical issues and legal frameworks of surrogacy: A global perspective about the right to health and dignity.
The main question is if surrogacy is prohibited in so many Western countries, how do we explain the rapid increase in the number of surrogate children in these same countries? In this respect, our Observatory published two articles showing the medical, ethical, and social difficulties of surrogacy (read HERE). We have also published a scientific paper in The Linacre Quarterly, entitled Gestational Surrogacy: Current View.
Could be cross-border surrogacy legalization an ethical solution?
The authors of the aforementioned review propose a solution: “The lack of regulation on cross-border surrogacy in low-income countries can undermine the dignity and rights of women as even modest economic compensation determines a significant purchasing power. The international effort should be aimed at creating an international regulatory framework from which guidelines useful to national governments derive. An international agreement would provide a solid legal basis for the protection of surrogate women. In order to limit the economic interests linked to procreative tourism, so as to truly protect global health and women’s rights, legislative uniformity is, therefore, necessary between the various states [our emphasis]”.
From our perspective, the authors’ proposed solution of creating “guidelines useful to national governments” would legalize a practice that has objective ethical problems, namely the objectification of the mother and child and the well-known bioethical difficulties of ART. In our opinion, only an international agreement that also prohibits cross-border surrogacy could resolve this humanitarian difficult issue that involves so many economical interests.