Enhancing autonomy in paid surrogacy

Bioethics. 2008 Jun;22(5):269-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00629.x.


The gestational surrogate--and her economic and educational vulnerability in particular--is the focus of many of the most persistent worries about paid surrogacy. Those who employ her, and those who broker and organize her services, usually have an advantage over her in resources and information. That asymmetry exposes her to the possibility of exploitation and abuse. Accordingly, some argue for banning paid surrogacy. Others defend legal permission on grounds of surrogate autonomy, but often retain concerns about the surrogate. In response to the dilemma of a ban versus bald permission, we propose a 'soft law' approach: states should require several hours of education of surrogates--education aimed at informing and enhancing surrogate autonomy.

MeSH terms

  • Bioethics*
  • Coercion*
  • Decision Making
  • Ethical Analysis
  • Fees and Charges*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personal Autonomy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surrogate Mothers / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Surrogate Mothers / psychology