less than 1 minute read

Surrogate Motherhood

Surrogate motherhood is a practice in which one woman (the surrogate mother) intentionally becomes pregnant and gives birth to an infant who will be adopted by another woman (the adoptive mother), as arranged by a legal contract prior to conception. The surrogate mother may be impregnated by artificial insemination with the adoptive mother's husband's semen or may have implanted in her uterus an embryo conceived in vitro (outside the body). The contract frees the surrogate mother of parental rights and responsibilities; it may guarantee financial support and payment of medical costs but does not involve a direct payment for the child. Relevant ethical issues include reproductive freedom and rights, informed consent of the surrogate mother, and the best interests of the child. Roman Catholicism and Islam object to the procedure. In practice, some problems have occurred when surrogate mothers have been reluctant to give up children, and some adoptive parents have refused to accept children.


American Academy of Pediatrics. Committee on Bioethics and Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. "Policy Statement." American Academy of Pediatrics News 9, no. 7 (1992).

Jean Mercer

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 8