Bioethics Blogs

Buy Buy Baby? The Ethics of Crowdfunding Babies

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By: Elizabeth Yuko, Ph.D.

Between adoption and advancing reproductive technologies, there are ever-increasing options for individuals and families who wish to have a baby. Recent reports indicate that the high costs associated with these processes have resulted in some using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.com and GoFundMe.com to raise money for fees associated with adoption, surrogacy, and assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Indeed, certain forms of assisted reproduction raise ethical questions in and of themselves, but in this case, our concern is whether it matters how funds for these processes are raised, and who provides the funding. In other words, is utilizing a crowdfunding website an ethically acceptable way to raise funds for adoption, IVF, and surrogacy? If so, is it significant who pays for these processes? Is anything owed to the people who contribute?

Like most ethical issues, this is a question of where to draw the line. Is receiving contributions from family members, from strangers via a church raffle, or from strangers via the Internet morally distinct? Prospective parents may presume, for example, that in situations where funds are being raised from family or members of their own community or church, that the financial supporters are likely to share our values about an issue as important as creating a family. Should they feel discomfort in not knowing the values of strangers on the Internet who will play such an important role in bringing a child into their life?

It is also important to consider the extent to which prospective parents should consider the privacy rights of the child being adopted or conceived.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.