Surrogacy refers to an arrangement whereby a woman carries a pregnancy for another person, especially for individuals who cannot give birth. The rapid rise in outsourcing surrogacy has raised concern among people around the world. Some of the issues that develop from the practice include ethical concerns on women who offer themselves as surrogates, the women paying for surrogacy services, the agencies that contract such women, the government authorities, and the medical practitioners who build their practice around the practice. It is essential to identify the factors that contribute to the rise of surrogacy and outsourcing surrogacy, especially in less developed nations, such as India.
The women who avail themselves as surrogates from the middle and low-income families seek to increase their revenue from the practice. Surrogate motherhood among Indian women is seen as an economic transaction to improve the standards of living. There has been a growing trend in outsourcing surrogacy among Indians since they offer the services at lower prices than other countries. Studies indicate that Indian agencies perform the task for as low as $25,000 compared to the prevailing price of $160,000 in the United States of America. It is essential to note the difference in prices between the two countries; it is evident that Indian women are exploited since they are poor. The agencies pay the women who agree to be surrogates approximately $700; this amount of money is more than the average Indian woman can acquire in a decade. Desperation makes women agree to the terms to enable them acquire funds required to satisfy their needs.
Most women in India do not become surrogates out of free will; this hinder them a chance to choose on whether to be surrogates or to engage in other activities. The high levels of poverty lure them into signing the surrogacy contracts. According to some medical practitioners in India, the amount of money they receive from surrogacy activities are more than they earn during their entire lives. Failure to receive the huge sums of money offered may expose such women to lifetime poverty levels.
The external responsibilities of Indian women are negatively affected by the surrogacy. Women’s roles as wives and mothers are interrupted by the gestation periods, which hinders efficiency in the performance of household tasks. Some family members encourage Indian women to participate in the act to earn income. Other families, however, suffer emotional stress when their women engage in the surrogacy act.
The surrogacy process involves emotional intimacy, which raises an ethical concern among women who avail themselves as surrogates (DasGupta, S., & Dasgupta, D, 2014). Taking care of pregnancy for nine months and then giving it up increases emotional complexity among women. Exploitation of reproductive organs for monetary benefits is unethical. Child bearing is morally viewed as a spiritual process among several communities. The women lack control of the reproductive capabilities, as they act as owned property of the rich women contracting them as surrogates. The Indian women lack custody rights for the children, which makes them act as tools for enhancing the delivery process (Blyth, 2008). Lack of proper counseling sessions for surrogates may cause emotional stress. The rich women who pay for surrogacy services are usually from other countries, and they only pay for surrogacy services. According to Bailey (2011), the poor Indian women cannot afford professional counseling services to help them deal with the surrogacy situation, which causes both physical and mental stress.
The ethical issues from the women paying for surrogacy services differ from the opinions of the surrogates. Most of the women who pay for such services come from the developed nations. Some argue that the surrogacy practice is ethical since both parties benefit. The ethical aspect is derived from the fact that most women in this case are unable to give birth, which gives them the right to pay for surrogacy. Catering for the pregnancy by paying for medical services makes it ethical to outsource surrogacy. The women paying for surrogacy argue that the surrogacy is a mutual agreement between the two parties, which makes the process ethical (Armour, 2012). It, however, is evident that the poor Indian women get low wages for the services compared to women in other nations. The unethical practice in this case is the fact that the rich women from developed countries manipulate the poor Indian women for their personal gain. The rich women prefer to use the Indian surrogacy services since they are cheaper than in other countries, which make the practice unethical. It is immoral to leverage poverty to attain service, which would otherwise not been offered under different circumstances.
The Health Ministry under the Indian government formulated the first law regarding the surrogacy issue to enhance efficiency in the practice. Some of the regulations included the minimum age for the surrogacy, and the number of times a woman can be a surrogate. These laws led to a rise in the number of surrogate births to 1500 in 2010, which was a 50% increment from the previous years (Malhotra, A., & Malhotra, R. 2013). The government supports surrogacy to increase the disposable income among the citizens. This measure is unethical due to the health risks involved. The government authorities should implement alternative strategies to increase employment opportunities to alleviate poverty in the country. Allowing surrogacy practices is likely to increases chances of exploitation cases in the country. The surrogates will be not being healthy to take care of their families, which will tend to increase poverty levels among the affected groups.
The government officials should initiate strategies to ensure the rights of its citizens are well catered for; the policies can help to safeguard the custody rights among the surrogates (Ahmad, 2011). The government failure to intervene in the surrogacy exercise is believed to be a sign of democracy. The public administrators argue that the surrogacy is a personal choice, which guarantees Indian women to make decisions regarding their reproductive choices (Moorthy, 2011). It, however, is essential to protect such women’s rights by ensuring that the surrogacy agencies and the people paying for such services do not exploit them. Introducing alternative sources of income for women can help to reduce the desperation among the Indian populations willing to be surrogates at low wages.
According to Nelson (2013), various doctors have established clinics to benefit from the increasing surrogacy trend. They are paid for the surrogacy services in accordance with the agreed terms between the paying women and the surrogates. Doctors in India acquire more money from the surrogacy process than the surrogates do, which makes the practice unethical (Pelzman, 2013). The surrogates may acquire poor maternity care, as the doctors attempt to increase their profitability margins. Doctors act unethically when they do not reveal the health risks related to surrogacy (Bardale, 2009). According to recent studies, doctors gain approximately $20, 000 for one surrogacy operation; this is almost thrice the price a surrogate in India gets for the service. It is unethical to maximize utility in a situation where the clients are willing to pay any price due to desperation. The doctors exploit women who cannot bear children by making them pay high prices for surrogacy exercise.
Outsourcing surrogacy in India has raised various ethical concerns from diverse perspectives. Women from the rich nations prefer using the affordable surrogacy services. This measure has led to exploitation of the desperate Indian women, who are struggling to satisfy their daily needs. It is unethical to use the reproductive organs for economic benefits, as it involves intimacy complexities. The government is behaving unethically by allowing its citizens to be exploited by wealthy foreigners for surrogacy services. The medial doctors do not observe moral ethics when they exploit the desperate women who cannot give birth. The medical professionals provide low quality maternal services to the Indian women to maximize profits, which is against the medical ethical guidelines.
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