Just Sociology

The Legal Ethical and Feminist Issues of Surrogacy

Surrogacy has become a topic of debate, particularly in terms of its legal and ethical implications. Surrogacy is the process by which a woman carries a child for a couple or an individual who is unable to have children on their own.

In this article, we will explore the legal and ethical issues surrounding surrogacy, as well as the different perspectives of feminist theories. Additionally, we will examine the benefits and limitations of surrogacy, particularly in relation to economic inequality and patriarchy.

Legal and Ethical Issues Surrounding Surrogacy

The legal and ethical issues surrounding surrogacy vary depending on the country or state. In the United States, surrogacy is legal and paid surrogacy is available.

In the United Kingdom, only expenses can be reimbursed, but the act of surrogacy is not illegal. The primary ethical concern with surrogacy is the potential exploitation of women.

Critics argue that surrogate mothers may be forced into surrogacy due to financial desperation. Additionally, the potential emotional and psychological harm to surrogate mothers is a matter of concern, particularly in cases where the surrogate mother becomes attached to the child.

Kim Kardashian and Kayne West’s decision for surrogacy highlights the issue of medical reasons for surrogacy. Pregnancy carries inherent risks, and in some cases, medical conditions may prevent a person from carrying a child.

Surrogacy provides an opportunity for individuals or couples to have a biological child without risking their own health. However, the use of surrogacy for non-medical reasons, particularly for convenience or vanity purposes, is a source of controversy.

Feminist Perspectives on Surrogacy

Feminist theories vary in their views of surrogacy. Liberal feminism views surrogacy as a means of empowering women who desire careers or who are unable to carry children.

For example, surrogacy would allow couples to have a child without the need for the mother to take time off from work. Liberal feminism also sees surrogacy as an opportunity for couples where one partner may be infertile.

The male partner’s sperm fertilizes the female partner’s egg, and another woman carries the child to term. Marxist feminism, on the other hand, views surrogacy as an example of economic inequality.

Critics argue that surrogacy exploits the financial desperation of surrogate mothers. Wealthier couples can afford to pay for surrogacy, whereas financially desperate women may feel compelled to become surrogate mothers.

In this sense, surrogacy exploits the labor of women and undermines the notion of bodily autonomy. Radical feminism is perhaps the most critical of surrogacy.

Radical feminists argue that surrogacy commodifies women and reinforces the patriarchal view that women are objects to be used for male sexuality and reproduction. Additionally, some radical feminists argue that surrogacy perpetuates violence against women, as women’s bodies are viewed as objects that can be bought and sold.

Benefits and Limitations of Surrogacy

Surrogacy has several benefits, particularly for couples or individuals who are unable to have children. Surrogacy provides a means of having a biological child without relying on other methods such as adoption.

Additionally, surrogacy provides an economic opportunity for surrogate mothers, particularly in cultures where women are underpaid or have limited job opportunities. Critics argue that surrogacy is a form of labor for women, and that surrogacy reinforces the notion of women’s bodies as objects.

However, surrogacy has several limitations. Surrogacy does not address the larger issue of economic inequality for traditionally female work, as surrogate mothers are often underpaid.

Additionally, surrogacy does not combat patriarchy or violence against women. Critics argue that surrogacy commodifies women’s bodies, reinforces the patriarchal view of women’s bodies as objects, and may contribute to violence against women.

Conclusion

Surrogacy remains a topic of debate, particularly due to its legal and ethical implications. While feminist theories vary in their views on surrogacy, the benefits and limitations of surrogacy are also a matter of concern.

Surrogacy provides an opportunity for couples or individuals who are unable to have children, while also providing an economic opportunity for surrogate mothers. However, surrogacy can also reinforce patriarchal views of women’s bodies as objects and commodify women, contributing to economic inequality and violence against women.

In conclusion, the legal, ethical, and feminist issues surrounding surrogacy present a complex and multifaceted debate that deserves our attention. While surrogacy provides an opportunity for couples who are unable to have children or individuals who cannot bear children due to medical reasons, it also commodifies women’s bodies and contributes to economic inequality and violence against women.

As society continues to grapple with the complexities of surrogacy, it is important to approach the issue with nuance and sensitivity.

FAQs:

Q: Is surrogacy illegal?

A: It depends on the country or state. In the United States, surrogacy is legal, while in the United Kingdom, only expenses can be reimbursed, but the act of surrogacy is not illegal.

Q: What are some of the ethical concerns with surrogacy? A: The potential exploitation of women, emotional and psychological harm to surrogate mothers, and commodification of women’s bodies are all ethical concerns with surrogacy.

Q: Do all feminist perspectives view surrogacy negatively? A: No, there are varying perspectives within feminist theories regarding surrogacy.

Liberal feminists view surrogacy as an opportunity for women’s empowerment, while Marxist and radical feminists view surrogacy negatively due to the potential exploitation and commodification of women. Q: What are the benefits of surrogacy?

A: Surrogacy provides an opportunity for couples or individuals who are unable to have children, and it also provides an economic opportunity for surrogate mothers. Q: What are some of the limitations of surrogacy?

A: Surrogacy does not address the larger issue of economic inequality for traditionally female work, and it also does not combat patriarchy or violence against women.

Popular Posts