The United States currently has a hodge-podge of state-level legislation regulating surrogacy. High-profile disputes over surrogate pregnancies demonstrate this is not a workable solution. Regulating surrogacy does not protect women and children. It only commodifies them more.
Is a contract that involves the exchange of money for the gestation and delivery of a child against public policy? The debate over this question both fuels and is fueled by competing ideas on parenting, family configuration, women’s rights, and the human desire for children. In recent decades, a new, commercial, profit-making industry has emerged, making the regulation vs. prohibition debate ever more pressing.
The most troubling aspect of such contracts is usually not the nuts and bolts, but the addition of all the whims and wishes of the intended parents. The intended parents get to direct nearly every detail of the surrogate’s life up to the moment of birth and surrendering the child. This makes the commercial use of the woman’s entire body for the duration of the pregnancy very clear.