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Surrogate Mothers Must Not Be Allowed To Profit

1588 words - 6 pages

Surrogate Mothers Must Not be Allowed to Profit

 
    Infertility affects an estimated 6.1 million people in the United States, or 10% of the reproductive age population (1). For many couples, infertility carries a stigma with serious personal and social ramifications. Infertile couples face social rejection by friends and family with children and must also come to terms with the loss of lifelong dreams of rearing children. The psychological trauma associated with infertility has created a great demand for a solution, and the medical industry has responded with eagerness. Infertile couples spend millions of dollars on medical treatments, including in vitro fertilization, surrogate pregnancy, egg donation and a myriad of infertility drugs now on the market. Because of the extreme emotional suffering many infertile couples experience, these couples are particularly susceptible to exploitation by people - or an entire industry - purporting to have a solution for their problem. It is therefore important to question the ethics associated with reproductive technologies that try to provide "solutions" for infertile couples. While all of the treatments for infertility lead to ethical dilemmas, I will focus on the dilemma of surrogate pregnancy. Although surrogacy offers a possible solution to desperate infertile couples, the rate of success is low and the price tag is very high. Of even more concern are the costs not reflected in the monetary price. These costs include the possible exploitation of the couple and/or the potential surrogate, as well as the legal quandaries, both at the time of the contract and in the future, to which this "solution" gives birth.

 

Before tackling the problems of surrogacy, we must first define the situation. Three different surrogacy arrangements are currently available. In the first, a genetic surrogate provides both her uterus and her egg, which is fertilized with the sperm of the male from the infertile couple. The second type involves a gestational surrogate who provides only her uterus and goes through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) to have the embryo of the couple implanted for gestation. In the third arrangement the egg is donated from a third party, combined with the sperm of the male, and implanted in the uterus of the surrogate. The more parties that become involved, the less successful and more expensive the procedure becomes. For example, in the case of gestational surrogacy, 38% of surrogates became pregnant per initiated cycle. Of that 38%, 17% of those pregnancies resulted in spontaneous abortion (i.e. miscarriage) (2). Success rates are even lower for the more expensive egg donation/IVF combination. The medical procedures for this option are expensive, and the infertile couple monetarily compensates both the egg donor and surrogate. Furthermore, the health problems that can occur with the hyperstimulation of hormone levels during these procedures are rarely...

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