Recently there has been a lot of talk about surrogacy and ethics. There are those out there who argue that surrogacy shouldn’t be legal. They say that it is exploitation. They claim that women would never make this choice for themselves if they were of their right mind, properly informed, and not put under pressure to move forward with this.
Let’s make this clear.
Can surrogacy exploit women?
But does surrogacy exploit every woman who chooses it?
I’m Sharon LaMothe, two time surrogate, and industry professional for over 20 years. Over the next couple of weeks, I want to talk about what surrogacy is, what it is not, and most importantly, why it does not exploit women.
As we move forward over the next several weeks, I will explain in great detail how ethical surrogacy agencies (agencies like Family Inceptions) remove the possibility of exploitation from the equation. But in order to do that, we have to start by explaining what an ethical surrogacy agency is, and how it differs from the rest.
So, what IS an ethical agency? Ethical agencies work tirelessly to adhere to constitutionally binding laws passed by politicians as well as non-binding ethical codes and best practices established by professional organizations like the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
The ASRM bring leaders in the field of reproductive medicine together to talk about issues in the field, and to make recommendations about how to keep the best interest of those involved a constant priority. Things like what type of woman can qualify to become a surrogate, how many times she may act as a surrogate, and how many embryos a doctor should be able to place inside of her uterus are all discussed. Then, ethical agencies abide by these guidelines as if they were legally binding law.
Ethical agencies are accountable to their clients as well as lawmakers and the public and operate with full transparency in relation to their costs, programs, and the status of individuals in that program. Financially, ethical agencies will work with private escrow agents to ensure responsible management of funds and give full transparency to how they were dispersed and spent.
Ethical surrogacy agencies are selective not only in the surrogate applicants that they’ll accept into their program but also of the intended parents that they’ll work with. Ethical agencies never operate under the assumption of, “if they can afford it, they can have a child.”
If you remember nothing else, remember this: ethical surrogacy agencies put the needs of the unborn child first, their clients second, and their bottom line last.
The USA vs the World
We’ve all heard the stories of surrogate mothers living apart from their families and completing their pregnancies as a way of gaining financial advantage. If you notice, these stories are always from world locations that are not within the United States.
While surrogacy is not regulated in the USA on a national level, most states do have laws that keep agencies from exploiting women in the first place. Even if those laws did not exist, the vast majority of professional surrogacy agencies in the United States are operating ethically and with the best intention of surrogates and intended parents in mind.
When we come back in a week, we’ll start exploring surrogacy and exploitation of women. You’ll notice that almost every argument that I make begins with or contains the phrase, “ethical surrogacy agency.” Because yes, when surrogacy is completed without the ethics that we’ll begin discussing, it absolutely can be exploitive. It just doesn’t have to be. And I can’t wait to show you why it isn’t exploitation with us.
To read more about ethical surrogacy, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of “Surrogacy is Not Exploitation of Women. Here’s why.”