argument top image

Should surrogacy be legal? Show more Show less
Back to question

Surrogacy refers to the process through which a woman intentionally becomes pregnant with a baby she does not intend to keep, instead carrying the foetus for its intended parent or parents, usually because the parent is unable to do so without her. Surrogacy may be altruistic where the surrogate is not paid, or commercial where she is. Countries and states often have unclear legislation on surrogacy. Should surrogacy be legalized? Under what conditions should surrogacy be legal?

It depends: surrogacy should be legal only under certain conditions. Show more Show less

Conditions regarding the surrogate mother of the prospective parents.
< (3 of 3)

Only altruistic surrogacy should be legal

If no money is involved, than surrogacy is pure generosity.
< (1 of 1)


Many countries accept altruistic surrogacy but not commercial surrogacy because it is the financial aspect (exploitation of the mother and commodification of the baby) of the surrogacy that seems problematic. If no money is involved, then surrogacy is altruistic. While it is illegal to pay someone to be a surrogate in the UK, intended parents are expected to cover expenses.

The Argument

By attaching financial incentive to surrogacy, a market is created in women's bodies. This is ethically wrong and leads to situations of exploitation where women are utilising their bodies in a deeply intrusive way due to a need for money. However, altruistic surrogacy, where there is not a financial incentive, should be allowed. Women should be able to have children out of the goodness of their hearts, in order to do a good deed for those who may not otherwise be able to have them.

Counter arguments

In reality, “altruistic” surrogacy means that a woman goes through exactly the same thing as in commercial surrogacy, but gets nothing in return. It demands the woman to carry a child for nine months and then give it away. She has to change her behaviour and risk infertility, a number of pregnancy-related problems, and even death. She is still used as a vessel, even if told she is an angel. The only thing she gets is the halo of altruism, which is a very low price for the effort and can only be attractive in a society where women are valued for how much they sacrifice, not what they achieve. Countries that ban commercial surrogacy have the opposite desired effect by encouraging citizens to travel overseas for surrogacy.



[P1] Involving finances in surrogacy makes it exploitative. [P2] Women should be able to become surrogates, as long as it is an altruistic act.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Only allowing surrogacy without payment only ensures that women are not valued for the labour they are providing.



Not sure yet? Read more ↑


This page was last edited on Thursday, 5 Mar 2020 at 10:55 UTC