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Freedom for Surrogates

Here’s a letter to the editor of tothesource:

Arguing against allowing women to be paid to be surrogate mothers, Jennifer Lahl asserts that “commercial surrogacy, whether done legally [or illegally] is still selling babies” (“Babies for Sale, Buyer Beware“).

Not so.

Surrogate mothers are paid to assist infertile couples to have children.  Each surrogate mother is compensated for choosing to give her time; for choosing to bear medical risks; and (if she still chooses after giving birth) for parting with her parental rights in the same way that each and every mother who gives her child up for adoption parts with her parental rights.

On the other side of each of these voluntary exchanges is a couple desiring a child so fervently that they willingly pay a large sum of money to a woman who helps them navigate around the curse of infertility.  Most of these couples have already paid huge sums of money to infertility clinics in unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant – yet, rightly, no one calls the voluntary exchanges that couples have with infertility clinics “baby selling.”

To label voluntary, mutually advantageous contracts between surrogate mothers and infertile couples “baby selling” is a grotesque mischaracterization, one that masks reality behind a blanket of hysteria.

Children brought into the world through surrogacy contracts are no more “sold” than are children brought into the world through infertility treatments.  Why should couples for whom infertility treatments fail be denied the joys of parenthood if they and willing surrogate mothers voluntarily agree to terms that bring new human beings to life?

Donald J. Boudreaux

Many years ago I held forth, in the Cato Journal, on the larger issue involved here.