Surrogacy - when is it not ok?

1566_insight-surrogacy-web-plasmaI was quite horrified to read of a recent case in the USA where a prominent politician offered significant financial inducement to  female staff to act as gestational surrogates for himself and his partner, then harassed and threatened them when they refused to agree to the arrangement.

Australian surrogacy legislation differs from what is permitted in most American states, but what is not different is the importance of free choice in the decision to enter into a surrogacy arrangement.  It is absolutely critical, for the success of the arrangement, and the welfare of all parties, including (and perhaps most significantly) the baby,  that a woman does not feel coerced or pressured to act as surrogate and the power differential between the parties is well managed.  There is potential for the power of either party to get out of balance in a poorly managed surrogacy, or in an arrangement where expectations have not been properly discussed.

If you are contemplating engaging in a surrogacy arrangement, make sure you have really thought about what is ok for you and undertaken comprehensive surrogacy counselling with an experienced fertility and surrogacy counsellor, so they can help make sure you are “all on the same page”.

Requesting that your employee to be your surrogate is unwise. An inherent power imbalance may result in an employee worrying that their job is at risk if they don’t comply with the request. Conflicts may also arise during the pregnancy and again place the employee’s job at risk.