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Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage in Washington State Says Paid Surrogacy Raises Ethical Concerns

My Northwest,  Dec 19, 2012

December 19, 2012

An opponent of same-sex marriage in Washington is not only fighting to defeat marriage equality in the state, but also the proposal for paid surrogacy.

Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington says his concerns stem from the illegality of selling organs as opposed to donating, and the ethical concern of monetary motivation to be a surrogate. He cites for-profit surrogacy as an enticement for women to rent out their bodies “to do something for financial reasons that they would not otherwise do”.

A bigger concern? He opposes paid surrogacy for the opportunity it provides gay men to have a biological child when it would otherwise not be possible. He fears a child will become an “item of commerce”; that gestational surrogacy would be carried out for financial gain and the child’s well-being would be ignored.

A gestational surrogate carries the pregnancy of another couple, the intended parents. The embryo can be the sperm and egg of the couple, or donor gametes as in the instance of same-sex intended parents. Where legal, paid surrogacy ranges from $18,000 to $30,000.

Despite the fact that surrogate contracts are legal in the state of Washington, the Uniform Parentage Act prohibits compensation other than typical medical and legal bills acquired during the pregnancy.

Those supporting the legislation for paid surrogacy believe proper education, consent, and screening of surrogates would eliminate monetary motivation and would assess the surrogate’s preparedness to deliver the child to the intended parents. Currently, egg donors as well as surrogates are psychologically evaluated for mental fitness before they are accepted into the respective programs.

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