American Journal of Bioethics.

Transnational Gestational Surrogacy: Does It Have to Be Exploitative?

This article explores the controversial practice of transnational gestational surrogacy and poses a provocative question: Does it have to be exploitative? Various existing models of exploitation are considered and a novel exploitation-evaluation heuristic is introduced to assist in the analysis of the potentially exploitative dimensions/elements of complex health-related practices. On the basis of application of the heuristic, I conclude that transnational gestational surrogacy, as currently practiced in low-income country settings (such as rural, western India), is exploitative of surrogate women. Arising out of consideration of the heuristic’s exploitation conditions, a set of public education and enabled choiceenhanced protections, and empowerment reforms to transnational gestational surrogacy practice is proposed that, if incorporated into a national regulatory framework and actualized within a low income country, could possibly render such practice nonexploitative.

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Volume 14, Issue 5
May 2014