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Surrogacy is an agreement where a woman will carry and deliver a baby for another person. The surrogate mother could be the child’s mother genetically which is referred to as traditional surrogacy or she could have an embryo put in her uterus to which she has no genetic connection. The latter is known as gestational surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy means that the mother receives sperms from the male partner of the intended parents and then carries the pregnancy for nine months before delivery. She therefore is the genetic mother to the child. In gestational surrogacy however, the mother has no genetic connection with the child since both the sperm and the egg are taken from the parents of the intended child.The parents to whom the child belongs are supposed to provide the surrogate mother with the necessary needs such as medical care or any other basic need. Some women offer their uterus to other people for a pay which is referred to as commercial surrogacy. The surrogate child can be conceived through in-vitro fertilization where previously frozen or fresh sperms are put in a test tube that contain the female eggs and then put in the woman’s womb. The other way is by feeding the male sperms into the woman’s uterus directly to fertilize the eggs.
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There are several reasons why surrogacy was introduced and continues to thrive in our society today. These include female infertility, homosexuality or other medical conditions which could have made the normal pregnancy and delivery impossible or risky. These conditions include a case where a woman has a malformed uterus or the uterus is not there at all. The uterus could have been removed due to relentless hemorrhage where a caesarian section had been performed. In addition, women who have experienced recurring miscarriages would also opt for surrogacy. Apart from these medical conditions there are other social or physical reasons why people go for surrogacy. These include those who feel that the state of being pregnant and consequently delivering is not desirable or pleasant to them. They may feel like it would hamper their careers or their appearance and therefore they decide to find a surrogate mother. The future parent could also be an unmarried woman or man who wishes to have their own biological kids.
Surrogate mothers are generally encouraged to be financially secure in order to ensure that they don’t become surrogates just to earn a living. It also ensures that they are not exploited by other people out of their financial needs. In fact under normal circumstances parents will look for a financially stable surrogate to bear their future child or children.
There is a very thin line between surrogacy being right or wrong. The official aspects used to regulate surrogacy are often very complicated and therefore make it very difficult to determine the morality of the procedure. According to Kharb, the donation of eggs or sperms or even the renting out of a womb in order to bear a child contradicts the harmony of marriage as well as the dignity of human being procreation (Kharb, 1). He notes that surrogacy contradicts human ethics in several ways such as the creation of life in a laboratory, disposal of excess embryos, the ability to select embryos, selective annihilation of embryos and creating unnatural surroundings for the embryos just to mention a few. He believes that the frozen embryos could develop to human beings if they were given a chance and therefore killing them is the same as performing abortion. In most societies abortion is considered unethical and inhumane consequently making surrogacy immoral. In addition, the default legal assumption in most cultures is that a child legally belongs to the mother who gave birth to it. However, in some cases surrogacy is acknowledged by the law and therefore the intended parents could be recognized even before the birth of the child. This creates differences which could turn ugly with dire consequences. Due to such complications, some societies promote child adoption. This however is not preferred by couples who want a child that they are genetically connected with. Furthermore, adopting a child is by no means easy due to the long and tedious procedures that come with it (Tuininga, 185-206). Therefore many get discouraged to adopt a child. As already mentioned, surrogacy revolves around complex social and emotional issues which could lead to court battles. Sometimes the surrogate mother could develop emotional attachment to the child and hence become unwilling to give the child back to the ‘real’ parents once it is born. In addition, critics feel that surrogate mothers use their reproductive organs for their own financial benefit which makes it unethical. This makes it crucial for anyone to think well before taking the step of either becoming a surrogate or outsourcing the services of one.
The issues discussed above in addition to others, makes it very necessary to make regulations that ensure that surrogacy is not abused or used to the detriment of other people. In India for instance before one is allowed to be a surrogate, they are subjected to a rigorous and thorough medical check up that seeks to ensure the success of the procedure. These check ups include the age which has to be between 21 and 35 years, and they must be married with normal deliveries of healthy babies in the past. Their family, personal, medical and surgical history is also scrutinized closely in every aspect (Medical Tourism Corporation, p4). They should also not be women who have experienced repeated miscarriages or any other pregnancy complication. These tests are done in order to ensure that the proposed surrogate has the highest chances of delivering a health and normal child.
According to Scot Carney India has become a nation of choice to many people across the world since surrogacy legalized there in 2002 (Carney, 1). Surrogacy tourism has improved considerable making construction of world-class hospitals that serve clients from the USA and many European nations. Many factors have led to this surrogacy boom in India over other nations. One factor is the availability of many women who have taken up these positions due to their financial incapacity. These women have left their villages after learning through the newspapers that one can earn up to $6,000, an amount they consider good enough for just carrying a baby for someone else. The clinics further claims that the women have a better life there than at their homes. At the clinics the women are not allowed to move freely but stay in guarded premises until they deliver through caesarian section. The money they earn is paid by the owner of the clinic who charges his clients between $15,000 and $20,000. This shows how much more the clinic owner makes using the poor surrogates. Foreigners consider this fee a bargain since such services would cost them not less that $50,000 and sometimes up to $100,000 in America for instance in those states that have legalized surrogacy. Scot also notes that many across the world prefer India because the women there are not involved in behaviors that could harm the pregnancy or even the child, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. He says that though such behaviors are outlawed by the contracts between the surrogate and the client, people in India are more reliable than in America for instance. This dependability has wooed clients from all spheres of life to India. This has made hospitals score big shots in the surrogacy business thus attracting even more women who want to become surrogates.
In conclusion, man has been given the aptitude and freedom to choose what is good and practice it. However, in the making of choices we must ensure that we do not demean others in our efforts to get what we want. Surrogacy being the way by which a woman offers her womb in order to give birth for another woman it must be used properly for everyone to see and enjoy its benefits. As we have discussed, surrogacy has its positive side and its negative sides. It helps those people who have the inability to carry their pregnancies up to birth to have children through someone else. Although this procedure is helpful to some people, others consider it unethical because according to them commercial surrogacy demeans children to items of barter through putting a price tag on them. As the case in India, some women are forced into the trade by their spouses for cash. In addition doctors here have the leeway to implant up to five embryos into a surrogate in contrast with other European nations where most limit to one or two embryos in a surrogate. This shows that there is partial application of this technology which is propelled by financial variations and regulations by the authorities. Just like many other man’s inventions surrogacy has its pros and cons and must be used in a positive way in order to have its full benefits.