Article Discussion Question

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Article Title: Regulating the international surrogacy market: the ethics of commercial surrogacy in the Netherlands and India

Q1. Compare and contrast the ethical considerations relevant to altruistic and commercial surrogacy, with specific attention to how the principles of beneficence, respect for persons (autonomy), and justice might be upheld or violated in each case. Why do you believe most nations only allow altruistic surrogacy? Based on your evaluation above, should legalization of commercial surrogacy be embraced internationally?

Q2. Consider the discussions on the coercive effect of high pay and inequities in bargaining power as well as arguments that commercial surrogacy reduces reproductive labor, women and children to mere commodities that can be bought and sold. Do you believe that exploitation and commodification are inherent to commercial surrogacy? Within your reasoning, please reflect on one of these quotations from the reading:

  1. “It then becomes clear that the exploitation issue arises not because of the nature of commercial surrogacy, but because of the nature of an unequal society.” (Blazier & Janssens, 2020, p.624).
  2. “It is well-established that human beings themselves are degraded if they are commodified. This rests on the Kantian argument that humans have an inherent dignity which must be respected, and in order to respect it, humans must be treated as ends in themselves, never as a means only.” (Blazier & Janssens, 2020, p.624).

Q3. Alongside recommendations to increase state and international regulations governing commercial and cross-border surrogacy (CBS), Blazier & Janssens (2020) proposes that surrogacy payment systems in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) should operate under Fair Trade mechanisms. Is this option more ethically justified than paying the minimum-wage of that country or setting a universal standard based on minimum-wages in high-income countries (HIC)? Why?

Reference:

Blazier, J., & Janssens, R. (2020). Regulating the international surrogacy market:the ethics of commercial surrogacy in the Netherlands and India. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 23(4), 621–630. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-020-09976-x

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