Taking the ethical microscope to surrogacy tourism 

When the biological parents are incapable of bearing a baby of their own, they take recourse to surrogacy. But even if they wish to avail this service, legal restrictions and lack of availability of sophisticated treatment infrastructure in home country force them look beyond the border. Many countries with lax regulations in surrogacy laws have turned out to be attractive destinations for these couples. Above all, the high quality IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) treatment facilities and the support in plush hi-end clinics have been luring the intending parents mostly from developed nations to avail this service.

 Surrogacy- its necessity:

parents turn infertile

There may be a number of reasons why parents turn infertile like the following:
– The eggs of the mother are too weak to fertilize.

-The mother is unable to produce eggs.

– The mother’s womb might not be conducive to carrying a baby and giving birth.

-Same sex couples longing for a child.

In such cases, there are females available who professionally hire out their wombs to carry the fertilized embryos of parents. They nurture the baby in their womb and eventually give birth. They are after all not the biological mother. Of course, the surrogate mother is compensated for her invaluable service.

Proliferation of surrogacy:

surrogacy is banned

Surrogacy is not a new phenomenon but is deep rooted in history. However, the surrogate mothers were themselves the biological mother too. But the gestational surrogacy, which has bloomed into a multibillion dollar industry, the surrogate mother just acts as a carrier giving a paid service to the needy couples. Surrogacy, in ethical terms, is considered as an altruistic service where compensation comes as a reward. It is not labeled as the paid service. But due to a sharp rise in infertility cases and legalization of gay cohabitation in some countries, paid or commercial surrogacy especially cross-border surrogacy has proliferated often ignoring the basic ethics of a service and other humanitarian factors. Keeping this in view, surrogacy is banned in many countries.  In Germany it is a punishable offence while in some parts of US surrogacy for money is not approved.

Surrogacy – A service or profession?

A service or profession

In many underdeveloped and developing countries where people belong to the lower economic bracket, some women have opted this service as a route to survival. Surrogacy has turned into a large scale profession. Consequently, affluent infertile parents having difficulty in getting a baby through surrogacy in their home country due to legal barriers look for these poor countries as a potential destination for achieving their dreams. Fly to Thailand and Cambodia and pay the surrogate mothers and get a healthy baby. The financial ambition of these women could be pretty low compared to the western standards making them the key fulcrum in this multibillion dollar industry. They are more than happy from what they get from their western clients. So much of physical and mental endurance simply gets buried under compensation pay cheques. Isn’t there something highly obscene and unethical element looming over the entire system?

Ethical surrogacy – Beneficial to the giver and taker:

Beneficial to the giver and taker

If the surrogate mothers are the victims of an unethical system, the intending parents also share the misfortune of being victimized in many cases. The act of surrogacy is apparently a service run on noble objectives to help childless couples. But if viewed from a closer angle one might be shocked to realize that this service is run as an industry in many clinics under the pretext of social service. In reality, the intent is money making using an unscrupulous route violating the basic codes of medical ethics. Unethical practice of egg splitting and cost saving is observed in many cases, and switching of the collected female eggs from one client to the other seems rampant.

The surrogate mother is often an insignificant nut in a corrupt machine being exploited just like the clinics exploit the intending parents. Many a time, the surrogate is paid a paltry amount or is forced to undergo successive womb hiring neglecting her basic health issues. Often, the baby born becomes the subject of dispute. Parents often reject the baby if it is not healthy born. Immigration issues and lack of proper custodian laws makes the baby the most vulnerable target.

The childless couples get cheated too. After a long and tiring emotional journey where social alienation and a feeling of incompetence have been constantly gnawing at their psyche, they become prey to unscrupulous intermediaries and clinics. They are forced to return back home heart-broken after giving in to exorbitant money extortion.


For many intending couples, surrogacy tourism can be the only way to achieve parenthood but maintaining the ethics should be given the topmost priority.

Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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