What You Can Do

  • Invite us to speak to your staff, board or community members about DNA databases
  • Join our expanding network of advocates from multiple sectors who care about this issue
  • Invite us to write a guest blog or article for your newsletter, or co-write an article with us
  • Explore the possibility of partnering with us to do some policy advocacy or community-based research
  • Look for our upcoming report on surrogacy in the summer of 2011

Surrogacy is one of the most controversial and contested of reproductive genetics issues. It tends to evoke powerful concerns about “outsourcing” baby making, the exploitation and vulnerability of women for their wombs, and the privilege and wealth of intended parents. Public calls to regulation or ban surrogacy abound at the state, national and international level. Rather than starting the discussion about surrogacy at the point of regulation, this project is about creating a guidance document compiling best practices and recommendations for all the people involved in considering a surrogacy arrangement.

What’s the Issue?

Surrogacy – an arrangement, usually monetary, in which a woman agrees to carry and deliver a child for another couple or person – is a contentious and provocative topic that is often in the news. Some argue that surrogacy is just an extension of reproductive freedom for some and a necessary practice for others (i.e. gay men) who would have no chance of having a biological connection to their child. The practice of surrogacy has been criticized for the exchange of money involved, for the risks to the woman carrying the baby, the ethics of the practice, and the trend in “outsourcing” where affluent couples from the US and Europe are inexpensively hiring women in India and other poor countries to carry their children.

The debates about surrogacy tend to focus only on two stakeholders: the intended parents and the women carrying the children, otherwise known as surrogate mothers, surrogates or gestational surrogates. Missing are two additional stakeholders—the gamete donors, egg and/or sperm donors and the future children born through the procedure. Their voices and perspectives are often underrepresented, if not invisible. In this project, we ask: What if all four stakeholders were to take each other into consideration and treat each other as family? Would people think about and practice surrogacy differently if they were aware of the needs and perspectives of all four stakeholders (not just their own) and worked to treat each other with respect, care and dignity?

What We’ve Done

Generations Ahead is using an approach to that contextualizes surrogacy using real people’s lives, respecting their reproductive decision-making and gives them the tools, information and resources to make the best decisions for themselves that take into consideration the other stakeholders. We are researching and writing a document that will speak to the power issues inherent in surrogacy arrangements and ask all stakeholders to treat each other as family members worthy of respect and consideration. It will touch on the ethical dilemmas surrogacy poses and present practical recommendations designed to increase stakeholders’ awareness and encourage them to make mindful decisions.