What's the real issue with commercial surrogacy?

Xavier Symons
30 Aug 2014
Reproduced with Permission

In the wake of the recent Thai surrogacy scandals, commentators are debating how the practice of surrogacy should be reformed.

Many say that we should make commercial surrogacy legal in Western countries. In Australia, researchers from Surrogacy Australia, the Canberra Fertility Centre and Monash University are campaigning for compensation for Australia surrogates.

Fertility specialist Dr. Martyn Stafford-Bell says that overseas surrogacy arrangements expose both surrogates and babies to serious health risks. "Such adverse outcomes could be avoided if access to surrogacy was facilitated within Australia", he commented in a recent interview. Australian Surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page agrees :

"The reality is if Australians are going in such great numbers to developing countries, such as India and Thailand, with the possibility of exploitation, sure it's much better to have it here, where it can be regulated".

But others are questioning the very practice of commercial surrogacy. Feminist Renate Klein sees it as "heartless, exploitative, capitalist enterprise". Writing in the Canberra Times , Dr. Klein argued that we should get rid of commercial surrogacy all together:

"There is no right to a child; children are not commodities, and surrogates are not just "suitcases" or "angels" (depending on your point of view) … Introducing commercial surrogacy in Australia is not the answer. Reducing demand for all types of surrogacy is."