Surrogate Motherhood

surrogate mother

surrogate mother, a woman who agrees, usually by contract and for a fee, to bear a child for a couple who are childless because the wife is infertile or physically incapable of carrying a developing fetus. Often the surrogate mother is the biological mother of the child, conceiving it by means of artificial insemination with sperm from the husband. In gestational surrogacy, the wife is fertile but incapable of carrying a growing fetus; the child is conceived by in vitro fertilization using the wife's eggs and her husband's sperm, and the resulting embryo is implanted in the surrogate mother's uterus.

Surrogate motherhood has raised complex ethical and legal issues, and lawsuits over custody after the child's birth have resulted from both types of surrogacy. In the highly publicized Baby M case (1986–88), Mary Beth Whitehead, the surrogate (and biological) mother, sued William and Elizabeth Stern, the baby's father and his wife, for custody of the child. Although the surrogate mother was not awarded custody in the Baby M case, she was granted visitation rights. Several European countries and a number of states have passed laws banning paid surrogacy.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Expecting Trouble: Surrogacy, Fetal Abuse, and New Reproductive Technologies
Patricia Boling.
Westview Press, 1995
Gestational Surrogacy: Nature and Culture in Kinship
Levine, Hal B.
Ethnology, Vol. 42, No. 3, Summer 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Children of Choice: Freedom and the New Reproductive Technologies
John A. Robertson.
Princeton University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Collaborative Reproduction: Donors and Surrogates"
Having and Raising Children: Unconventional Families, Hard Choices, and the Social Good
Uma Naraya; Julia J. Bartkowiak.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Family Ties: Rethinking Parental Claims in the Light of Surrogacy and Custody"
Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: Cases and Questions
Dolores Dooley; Joan McCarthy; Tina Garanis-Papadatos; Panagiota Dalla-Vorgia.
Berghahn Books, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Surrogate Pregnancy"
Family Values and the New Society: Dilemmas of the 21st Century
George P. Smith II.
Praeger, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Artificial Insemination, Surrogation, and In Vitro Fertilization"
Feminist Approaches to Bioethics: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Applications
Rosemarie Tong.
Westview Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Feminist and Nonfeminist Perspectives on Surrogacy"
Encyclopedia of Reproductive Technologies
Annette Burfoot.
Westview Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 49 "Surrogacy"
Surrogacy: All the Features of a Relationship That Could Go Wrong?
Szoke, Helen.
Melbourne Journal of Politics, Vol. 28, Annual 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Mortal Peril: Our Inalienable Right to Health Care?
Richard A. Epstein.
Perseus Books, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Alienability and Its Limitations: Of Surrogacy and Baby-Selling"
Body/Politics: Studies in Reproduction, Production, and (Re)Construction
Thomas C. Shevory.
Praeger, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "(Re)Constructing Public and Private Life through Surrogacy Contracts"
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