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

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?

Yes, surrogacy should be legal. Show more Show less

Everybody should have access to parenthood and women can decide what they do with their bodies. Surrogacy should be legal.
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Surrogacy is about a woman's bodily autonomy

Women can utilise their bodies however they choose, including surrogacy.
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The bodies of women have long been political battlegrounds subject to laws on what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

The Argument

Women should have full control of their bodies, and this includes being able to choose surrogacy. Women may become surrogates because of financial gain or due to the pleasure that comes from an altruistic act. The state should not act to remove this choice which comes from a paternalistic attitude that assumes women can’t make a decision themselves.

Counter arguments

Women should not be able to “sell their bodies” and to do so is immovably exploitative and wrong. An act that serves to exploit women is not a truly free choice - it is an act of exploitation that should not be allowed.


[P1] Women should be allowed autonomy over what they do with their bodies. [P2] Women should be allowed to choose surrogacy, either altruistically or for financial gain.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Women who enter into surrogacy do not do so entirely out of free will. A woman cannot freely 'choose' something which is inherently exploitative.

Further Reading

Baker, B. (1996) A case for permitting altruistic surrogacy. Hypatia, 11(2), 34-48 Ekman Kajsa Ekis (2013) Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Sef, Spinifex: Melbourne. HumanRights Campaign. Krawiec and Busby, K. & Vun, D. (2009) Revisiting The Handmaid's Tale: Feminist Theory Meets Empirical Research on Surrogate Mothers, 26 CAN. J. FAM. L. 13(44). Teman, E. (2010) Birthing a Mother: The surrogate body and the pregnant self. Los Angeles: University of California Press. van den Akker, O. (2017) Surrogate Motherhood Families.London:Palgrave MacMillan. Yehezkel Margalit, In Defense of Surrogacy Agreements: A Modern Contract Law Perceptive, 20 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 423 (2014),


    This page was last edited on Monday, 21 Sep 2020 at 12:51 UTC

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