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    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wilkinson, S. (2016), Exploitation in International Paid Surrogacy Arrangements. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 33: 125–145. doi: 10.1111/japp.12138 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/japp.12138/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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  • japp12138

    Rights statement: © 2015 The Author. Journal of Applied Philosophy published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society for Applied Philosophy. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Exploitation in international paid surrogacy arrangements

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Applied Philosophy
Issue number2
Volume33
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)125-145
Publication statusPublished
Early online date14/07/15
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Many critics have suggested that international paid surrogacy is exploitative. Taking such concerns as its starting point, this paper asks:

(1) How defensible is the claim that international paid surrogacy is exploitative and what could be done to make it less exploitative?
(2) In the light of the answer to (1), how strong is the case for prohibiting it?

Exploitation could in principle be dealt with by improving surrogates’ pay and conditions. However, doing so may exacerbate problems with consent. Foremost amongst these is the argument that surrogates from economically disadvantaged countries cannot validly consent because their background circumstances are coercive. Several versions of this argument are examined and I conclude that at least one has some merit.

The paper’s overall conclusion is that while ethically there is something to be concerned about, paid surrogacy is in no worse a position than many other exploitative commercial transactions which take place against a backdrop of global inequality and constrained options, such as poorly paid and dangerous construction work. Hence, there is little reason to single surrogacy out for special condemnation. On a policy level, the case for prohibiting international commercial surrogacy is weak, despite legitimate concerns about consent and background poverty.

Bibliographic note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:Wilkinson, S. (2016), Exploitation in International Paid Surrogacy Arrangements. Journal of Applied Philosophy, 33: 125–145. doi: 10.1111/japp.12138 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/japp.12138/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.