Currently, a large amount of surrogacy happens overseas in developing nations due to restrictive surrogacy laws in Western countries. For instance, more than 25,000 children are now born to surrogate mothers in India each year. These women are often kept in undesirable conditions while pregnant. By introducing restrictive laws on surrogates, prospective couples or individuals looking to have children through surrogacy are driven to find surrogates overseas. This boosts the surrogacy economy in countries like India, which boast large amounts of surrogate births for Westerners with questionable conditions for surrogates themselves. By legalising surrogacy, we are able to ensure surrogates are given rights and are not working under exploitative circumstances.
Legalising surrogacy in Western countries would not stop the exploitative conditions of surrogate mothers overseas. Surrogate services in developing countries would remain cheaper than in Western countries and people would still use them. Additionally, legalising surrogacy would then move the exploitation closer to home, opening up opportunities for women in Western countries to also be exploited as those in developing countries are.
[P1] In places where surrogacy is illegal, those desiring surrogates are increasingly driven to using surrogates in developing countries. [P2] Consistent legalising of surrogacy would lower rates of surrogacy in developing countries (with potentially exploitative environments) and place them into an arena in which circumstances can be monitored.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P2] Legalising surrogacy would still mean women are being exploited - it would just be women domestically who are exploited.
Baker, B. (1996) A case for permitting altruistic surrogacy. Hypatia, 11(2), 34-48 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.