We’re very aware of issues related to the ethics of gestational surrogacy, and we take a conservative approach to ensuring the well-being of the children we help conceive. We take our responsibility very seriously.
SENSIBLE trusts parents to make the right choices regarding their families, but we also ask that they inform themselves of possible risks before starting a surrogacy journey.
In cases where the parents have disclosed a potentially life-threatening condition, we ask that they consult with their doctor to understand their risks (and to help us understand the risks as well). Once a client has consulted with a doctor, we assume they are making an informed decision; and they’re free to continue. In some cases, we may ask the client to provide a letter from their doctor stating that they have been adequately informed.
We admit that some possible clients may find our caution to be unnecessary. But at the very least, basic ethics of surrogacy requires that couples who disclose a potentially life-threatening condition should inform themselves before starting a surrogacy program. We don’t believe this is discriminatory, because SENSIBLE accepts all couples into the program if they’ve taken the basic steps to understand the impact of their decision on their future children.
In the end, the parents have the right to decide whether to conceive a family. As the facilitator of that choice, we only ask that they take the time to consult with their personal doctor before making a decision that will dramatically impact the life of a child.
Ethical Treatment of Surrogates
SENSIBLE is also deeply concerned with the ethical care of surrogates, their families and their community. We believe surrogates should have autonomy over their own bodies while respecting the rights of Intended Parents whom they have promised to support.
In the United States there are clearly defined guidelines surrounding the qualification of surrogates, including to ensure ethical surrogacy. It is foundational that all surrogates understand what’s being asked of them, and they should have complete autonomy in their decisions.
In lesser-developed countries, many surrogate candidates are not only lacking the ability to give informed consent regarding their own health, but they are also less likely to be able to care for themselves and the unborn babies they are asked to carry. Part of the decision process before opening an international service is both the level of medical care and also of educational opportunity.
To protect the women from financial coercion, would-be surrogates from the lowest financial rungs should be removed from consideration. At the very least, all potential surrogates are entitled to independent medical and legal counseling.
SENSIBLE was founded by former surrogates and surrogacy parents. Li,e you, we’ve struggled with the ethics of surrogacy and our responsibilities. Our personal experience with surrogacy ethics can be explored online.
At its best, gestational surrogacy creates families. But an agent’s obligation goes beyond just introducing a baby to a childless couple. Surrogacy creates extended families by introducing the surrogate as a sort of ad-hoc family member. And like our families, intended parents and surrogates owe each other a high degree of care and fair treatment.
NOTE: SENSIBLE does not recommend or offer services in sketchy, unregulated countries without legal protections for our surrogates or intended parents. We don’t accept legal or ethical “grey areas” — our programs are transparent, legal and secure. We stand by the side of every client until they are home safely and securely with their newborn baby.