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Joe Bryant

Ethics Question - Commercial Surrogacy

What is your opinion on surrogacy?  

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Posted (edited)

This is another of my "see what the board thinks" questions.

As many of these do, this came up in a conversation among my friends and I wanted to bounce it off a larger group.

Quote

 

Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child's parent(s) after birth.

People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wish to have a child. Surrogacy is considered one of many assisted reproductive technologies.

In surrogacy arrangements, monetary compensation may or may not be involved. Receiving money for the arrangement is known as commercial surrogacy. The legality and cost of surrogacy varies widely between jurisdictions, sometimes resulting in problematic international or interstate surrogacy arrangements. Couples seeking a surrogacy arrangement in a country where it is banned sometimes travel to a jurisdiction that permits it. In some countries, surrogacy is legal only if money does not exchange hands. (See surrogacy laws by country and fertility tourism.)

Where commercial surrogacy is legal, couples may use the help of third-party agencies to assist in the process of surrogacy by finding a surrogate and arranging a surrogacy contract with her. These agencies often screen surrogates' psychological and other medical tests to ensure the best chance of healthy gestation and delivery. They also usually facilitate all legal matters concerning the intended parents and the surrogate.

 

Important note. For this discussion, assume it's commercial surrogacy.

Also - Sometimes this discussion is affected by high profile cases where gay couples obtain a baby this way. As Anderson Cooper recently did. For the sake of this discussion, please consider this completely independent of what you think about gay couples and children. Just assume the new parents are loving parents. 

Some people are very much against surrogacy saying it's essentially babies for sale.

Others are very much ok with it saying it's not much different than normal adoption. 

What is your opinion on surrogacy?

I would ask -

For the folks that are good with it, how do you answer, the "Isn't this just babies for sale?" question?

For folks that are not good with it, how do you answer the "Isn't it just mostly like adoption?" question?

Edited by Joe Bryant

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Just now, parasaurolophus said:

How are the medical costs handled? 

Whatever is negotiated.

In the cases I've seen, the person who will get the baby agrees to pays for the medical costs for the mother plus additional fees.

 

 

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I am OK with it in principle.  There are so many different circumstances out there, I am sure surrogacy fills a need.  I fear situations where things could get messy...imagine someone backing out once the process has begun, for example.  Emotions and perspectives change during the process which could complicate matters.

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1 minute ago, Joe Bryant said:

Whatever is negotiated.

In the cases I've seen, the person who will get the baby agrees to pays for the medical costs for the mother plus additional fees.

 

 

As long as the costs cant be pushed onto taxpayers, it doesnt bother me. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

I would ask -

For the folks that are good with it, how do you answer, the "Isn't this just babies for sale?" question?

For folks that are not good with it, how do you answer the "Isn't it just mostly like adoption?" question?

I guess my return question is what is wrong with babies for sale (assuming its for good reasons and not trafficking, slavery, etc)?

 

Someone wants a child and someone can give them one.  For lack of a better analogy it is similar to pets.  Paying for pure bred (commercial surrogacy) vs going to the pound (regular adoption).  It's sounds bad to put it that way but it is similar.  There are reasons to do both options.

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Just now, Gally said:

I guess my return question is what is wrong with babies for sale (assuming its for good reasons and not trafficking, slavery, etc)?

 

Someone wants a child and someone can give them one.  For lack of a better analogy it is similar to pets.  Paying for pure bred (commercial surrogacy) vs going to the pound (regular adoption).  It's sounds bad to put it that way but it is similar.  There are reasons to do both options.

I am sure there is a lot of gray area on what constitutes a "good reason".

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1 minute ago, Galileo said:

I am sure there is a lot of gray area on what constitutes a "good reason".

I don't think so.  In my context I am taking illegal things as being bad reasons.  Seems fairly black and white.

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Ha. I thought this topic was going to be about the practice of men putting their companies in their wive's names and installing her as the CEO so they qualify for MWBE contracts.  

I'm strongly against that and the programs that foment it, but oddly enough, OK with actual commercial surrogacy.

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Just like anything else regarding sex, sexuality, and baby making, it’s not of my business.

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2 minutes ago, ChiefD said:

Just like anything else regarding sex, sexuality, and baby making, it’s not of my business.

But one still has an opinion on it. (even if it's on the fence). What would you vote on the choices?

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Posted (edited)

I don’t see how it’s a “baby for sale” if the people that pay the surrogate are responsible for the pregnancy in the first place.  Maybe I don’t really understand what the “baby for sale” argument is.

I voted “absolutely OK.”  I don’t see much difference between a couple paying a doctor to help them have a baby and a couple paying a surrogate to help them have a baby.

Edited by fatguyinalittlecoat
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I’m Absolutely OK with 2 (or more) consenting adults doing anything with each other 
 

real life, I have a group of good friends, one of them agreed to be a surrogate for the other couple.  I don’t believe there was any compensation other than covering medical bills and I know they got her a housekeeper for like a year.  May have been more but honestly I didn’t ask

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It is an interesting question I think. One can sell their blood or hair and nobody cares. But one can't legally sell a kidney.

Surrogacy is a little different as it's more "renting" but it seems to be a hotter topic. Which of course makes sense as it's about human life. 

For the folks ok with surrogacy, do you think one should be able to sell a kidney? If not, why not? If so, why?

 

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41 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

As long as the costs cant be pushed onto taxpayers, it doesnt bother me. 

 

How would the cost of having a kid be pushed on the tax payer in this case be any different than anyone else having a kid?

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5 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

It is an interesting question I think. One can sell their blood or hair and nobody cares. But one can't legally sell a kidney.

Surrogacy is a little different as it's more "renting" but it seems to be a hotter topic. Which of course makes sense as it's about human life. 

For the folks ok with surrogacy, do you think one should be able to sell a kidney? If not, why not? If so, why?

 

I would still say yes.  Just comes down to my belief that consenting parties should be able to do what they want

i do think it would lead to a lot of people making bad decisions though (e.g. someone out of work decides to sell their kidney to make ends meet) but it’s not my responsibility to legislate people from making bad personal decisions 

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9 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

For the folks ok with surrogacy, do you think one should be able to sell a kidney? If not, why not? If so, why?

Yes.  Assuming that there is no coercion involved and that the person selling the kidney is made fully aware of health risks, etc.

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3 minutes ago, Dan Lambskin said:

I would still say yes.  Just comes down to my belief that consenting parties should be able to do what they want

i do think it would lead to a lot of people making bad decisions though (e.g. someone out of work decides to sell their kidney to make ends meet) but it’s not my responsibility to legislate people from making bad personal decisions 

I do think as a society we want to discourage a market where wealthy people can buy body parts from poor people. Something feels wrong about that.

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I'd be mostly okay with selling kidneys, but I'd have to think/research on whether or not it would inadvertently make it so only the rich could receive new kidneys. Would too many people that would normally donate a kidney turn to selling them?

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Just now, Ilov80s said:

I do think as a society we want to discourage a market where wealthy people can buy body parts from poor people. Something feels wrong about that.

To me the answer to this is to reduce income inequality, not to take away opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions.

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Just now, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

To me the answer to this is to reduce income inequality, not to take away opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions.

Sure but that’s not going to happen in this country 

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7 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

For the folks ok with surrogacy, do you think one should be able to sell a kidney? If not, why not? If so, why?

Risk factor.

Pregnancy is a relatively low-risk endeavor, and after ~9 months you are pretty much back to normal, with no reduction in your life expectancy.

Kidney removal is a comparatively riskier operation, and also requires a lifetime commitment to healthier living, and also reduces your life expectancy.

I don't think it's ethical to incentivize the poor to trade health for money.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

How would the cost of having a kid be pushed on the tax payer in this case be any different than anyone else having a kid?

I dont know how it works.

If the surrogate was a poor single woman that has subsidized healthcare and the couple that is paying her is wealthy the costs should be covered by the couple.

Eta: birth and pregnancy visit costs are what i am referring to. 

 

 

Edited by parasaurolophus

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3 minutes ago, parasaurolophus said:

I dont know how it works.

If the surrogate was a poor single woman that has subsidized healthcare and the couple that is paying her is wealthy the costs should be covered by the couple.

 

 

That’s fair though the amount of times this happens is so small that it’s pretty irrelevant how the health care is covered. 

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Just now, Ilov80s said:

That’s fair though the amount of times this happens is so small that it’s pretty irrelevant how the health care is covered. 

I have no idea how often it happens. It was just something i thought of and was the only objection I could come up with. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

For the folks ok with surrogacy, do you think one should be able to sell a kidney? If not, why not? If so, why?

 

I’m okay with it.  You posted above it’s like selling babies and while I wouldn’t put it that way, I do consider it a win win.  Loving couple become loving parents.  Oftentimes the surrogate needs the money.  I see this as victimless.

selling a life giving organ to the highest bidder would significantly hurt, potentially kill, another, poorer, person in need of an organ donation so that’s completely different.  

Edited by guru_007

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2 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

I got this from 3 seconds of googling but this site says costs are around $70,000. With about $30,000 to $40,000 going to the mother. https://southernsurrogacy.com/intended-parents/program-fee/

I have no idea if that's accurate. 

I know a retired commercial surrogate very well. I was speechless when I found out in addition to her three kids, she delivered four more for money. She wanted to be a stay home mom. Her husband agreed. They did it once for 50k. Honestly... decided they wanted to put in a pool and she (now a proven baby maker) was paid 75k. The last time was about a year ago, delivered twins, 100k. They are a happily married couple. The stories of the couples they helped get a child are touching. I was agin it before I was fer it.

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21 minutes ago, guru_007 said:

You posted above it’s like selling babies and while I wouldn’t put it that way, I do consider it a win win.

I did not. I wrote: 

Quote

Some people are very much against surrogacy saying it's essentially babies for sale.

 

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As a semi-libertarian I approve in most cases. Last thing we need is getting the government involved in yet another thing.

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Lots of people die every year because of organ shortages, and lots of people -- for whatever reason -- choose not to be organ donors.  If a person's estate could receive compensation for their heart, liver, corneas, or whatever, you have to figure that lives would be saved in the process.

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4 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Lots of people die every year because of organ shortages, and lots of people -- for whatever reason -- choose not to be organ donors.  If a person's estate could receive compensation for their heart, liver, corneas, or whatever, you have to figure that lives would be saved in the process.

I think Joe was asking about a living donor.

With respect to organs from dead people, I would make being an organ donor be the default that you needed to opt out of, rather than something people had to opt into.  That alone would make a huge difference.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

I think Joe was asking about a living donor.

With respect to organs from dead people, I would make being an organ donor be the default that you needed to opt out of, rather than something people had to opt into.  That alone would make a huge difference.

Yeah, I agree with your take on living donors.  I just wanted to add that society could benefit from deceased donors being able to "sell" organs too.

Edited by IvanKaramazov
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3 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

But one still has an opinion on it. (even if it's on the fence). What would you vote on the choices?

I didn’t vote. Nor really have a choice if I were to vote. When I was younger I pretty much had an opinion on everything. Good or bad you were gonna hear about it. As I’ve gotten older I have taken the angle of some things I really have no opinion about. Or really don’t care.

This is one of those subjects. My wife and I were extremely lucky to have three beautiful kids on our own volition. Who am I to judge how someone else does it.

Kids are beautiful, man. Especially if you are the kind to love them and care for them. How they get there is of no consequence to me.

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4 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

I got this from 3 seconds of googling but this site says costs are around $70,000. With about $30,000 to $40,000 going to the mother. https://southernsurrogacy.com/intended-parents/program-fee/

I have no idea if that's accurate. 

I have a client that has done this twice for couples in need and she was paid $30k each time through an agency.

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1 hour ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

I think Joe was asking about a living donor.

With respect to organs from dead people, I would make being an organ donor be the default that you needed to opt out of, rather than something people had to opt into.  That alone would make a huge difference.

the problem with this is some religious beliefs have issue with organ donation and having the default be harvesti g that could cause some serious issues by accident.  

 

I agree everyone should donate but I can understand why it isn't the default.

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Is there a "Not my life, Not my business" option? 

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Posted (edited)

I mean unless we are talking about factories with women laying on their backs... I'm good with it.

Edited by matuski

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Yeah, I agree with your take on living donors.  I just wanted to add that society could benefit from deceased donors being able to "sell" organs too.

My body is worth 2 scholarships for my kids or grandkids.

Deal.

Edited by matuski

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Joe's conversations with his friends are vastly different than me and my friends.....

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Before or after death, I pretty much feel that if you can donate it, you should be able to sell it. I lump womb rental, kidneys, blood, corneas etc. all together. So, I voted absolutely ok with it.

I admire people choosing to donate. I also don't believe being a donor should be the default.

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Voted absolutely OK and was a little surprised at the number of options.

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On 5/9/2020 at 10:47 AM, Gally said:

 

Someone wants a child and someone can give them one.  For lack of a better analogy it is similar to pets.  Paying for pure bred (commercial surrogacy) vs going to the pound (regular adoption).  It's sounds bad to put it that way but it is similar.  There are reasons to do both options.

This analogy was my thought process as well. There are lots of children/dogs available for adoption, so I’d personally rather go that route than add another child/dog to the population. But I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to drop some dough with a breeder. 

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As long as the government isn't paying (taxes), and no innocent 3rd parties are harmed, I'd generally prefer the government to let consenting adults do what they want.

Sell a kidney, rent your womb (I'm far less okay with selling kids after they're born), just make sure the parties involved pay for everything. 

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34 minutes ago, SFBayDuck said:

This analogy was my thought process as well. There are lots of children/dogs available for adoption, so I’d personally rather go that route than add another child/dog to the population. But I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to drop some dough with a breeder. 

Assuming the breeder is kept to a decent standard and not over breeding, I'll agree. 

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Havent read thread but my number one concern is that the recipient changes their mind. Now we have two potential parenting units who don't want the kid.

Second concern is the surrogate has twins but the requesters only want one kid.  I don't know if they should be allowed to choose tbh.

Third concern is if there are potential birth defects or autism gene markers  or other concerns.  Whose call is it to terminate a viable pregnancy?  Can the surrogate choose to terminate their contract and the birth mother choose to keep the child?  Etc etc

Seems like it should be codified and not left to a contract because there is a compelling interest in making sure the kids are taken care or even if the potential parents haven't negotiated well. 

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It didn’t even dawn on me that surrogacy could be thought of negatively.  Seems win/win and nobody is getting hurt.

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28 minutes ago, lakerstan said:

It didn’t even dawn on me that surrogacy could be thought of negatively.  Seems win/win and nobody is getting hurt.

There’s a pretty stout religious objection to it. 
 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Zow said:

There’s a pretty stout religious objection to it. 
 

Which is fine, the people who have strong religious objections shouldn't do it.

This isn't even like abortion where there's a somewhat reasonable argument that an innocent 3rd party is being harmed.

Edited by -OZ-

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