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date: 30 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Commercial surrogacy is widely criticized as exploitive, as baby selling, or as even trafficking in persons. Less well-explored questions concern whether surrogacy is problematic in itself, a form of bodily labor that it is impermissible for one person to perform for another. This chapter argues first that grounds advanced for judging surrogacy as impermissible bodily labor sweep too broadly. It then rejects claims that surrogacy impermissibly burdens the autonomy of the pregnant woman or the intended female parent, that surrogacy wrongly devalues the child-to-be, or that surrogacy disrespects the parent–child relationship. With appropriate protections against exploitation and coercion, both commercial surrogacy and altruistic surrogacy are ethically appropriate.

Keywords: surrogacy, commercial surrogacy, traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy, parent–child relationship, Baby M, bodily labor, pregnancy

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