Surrogacy: is it harder to relinquish genes?

J Law Med. 2011 Mar;18(3):614-33.


Surrogacy has produced some positive outcomes by creating an opportunity for otherwise childless couples to realise their dream of parenthood. However, it has also been problematic, particularly where the surrogate mother fails to relinquish a child born as a result of the surrogacy arrangement. This article examines whether a surrogate mother who is genetically related to the child she delivers is less likely to relinquish the child than one who has no genetic ties. An examination of empirical evidence provides support for this argument. Legislation and case law in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom are examined to determine which, if any, of these jurisdictions take into account the existence, or otherwise, of a genetic link between the surrogate mother and the child she bears. The article concludes that surrogacy legislation should, subject to exceptional circumstances, encourage surrogacy arrangements where the child and the surrogate are not genetically related.

MeSH terms

  • Child Custody / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Surrogate Mothers / legislation & jurisprudence*