Pregnancy for Sale

Being told that your body will never be able to reproduce is beyond painful – I’ve been there. But should procreation become a business at any cost?

In a recent New York Times article, we are introduced to a gay couple from Portugal who became parents through surrogacy because it was illegal in their country. According to the article, the United States is one of the few countries that allow paid surrogacy.

While parenthood through surrogacy has become increasingly popular, especially among celebrities, it is not without risk. Contrary to what people believe, there are a greater percentage of intended parents who abandon and reject the babies or pregnancies than there are surrogate mothers who refuse to relinquish their maternal rights after the baby is born. It seems that everyone wants a “perfect” baby which is totally unrealistic.


The thought of “paying” more money for eggs and sperm of models and Ivy League grads is sickening. What do you do if the child doesn’t get into Harvard? Ask for a refund? The article discusses a case where a couple wanted a surrogate mother to terminate the pregnancy at 21 weeks because the fetus appeared to have a cleft palate which later proved to be wrong.

Babies who are born in the U.S. and brought back to foreign countries by their international parents face a myriad of problems. Is the baby a U.S. citizen or a citizen of the parents’ country? For gay international couples, some countries will not provide a birth certificate unless there is a mother and father identified, not two fathers or two mothers.

The cost of surrogacy is not cheap and amounts as high as $150,000 has been quoted. These fees include the cost of the surrogate mother, the donor eggs and the agencies involved. At present, this “industry” remains unregulated, partly because it comes under the jurisdiction of state law. Therefore, there is no protection for the surrogate mother, the intended parents or the baby.

Since the Supreme Court has such a profound interest in a woman’s body regarding who pays for her birth control, they might also be interested in what happens to babies born on U.S. soil who are taken abroad.

Does the United States really want to be viewed by the world as a breeding ground for hire? Please share your thoughts.