Bioethics Blogs

Consequentialism and surrogacy

A recent news article reports on a study by researchers at the Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. The study found that “in the longer term surrogates do not experience psychological problems as a result of being a surrogate.” 34 women had initially been surveyed 1 year after being a surrogate and this study was a follow up of 20 of those women 10 years after being surrogates. They were a mix of women who had been genetic surrogates and gestational surrogates. The study found that the majority of the women had remained in contact with the child that was born from the surrogate pregnancy and had a good relationship with the parents raising the child. They also found that all 20 women had normal or above average self-esteem and none had signs of depression.

It is interesting to think about what one might conclude from such a study. One conclusion which is suggested by the headline of the article is that surrogate mothers have no adverse consequences from carrying a surrogate pregnancy. Another conclusion that was not overtly stated in the article but which seems to be implied is that surrogate pregnancy seems to be a good thing to do since no adverse effects were found for the surrogate mothers and the majority of them had positive relationships with the child born of the surrogate pregnancy.

However, I think that there are some concerns about making these conclusions. The first concern is that it is hard to make any conclusion from such a small study with a very high dropout rate.

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.