Bioethics News

Who decides what to do when a foetal abnormality is diagnosed; surrogate mother or contacting parents?

The “professional model” defends the right of the surrogate mather to decide whether or not she wishes 
to have an abortion

As we know, surrogacy consists in initiating a pregnancy in a woman other than the biological mother, with the intention that, when the child is born, he or she is to be handed over to the contracting parents. This usually takes place in couples with infertility issues, single people or even homosexual couples.

There are two well-differentiated types of surrogacy: altruistic and commercial. In the latter, the surrogate is paid to accept the pregnancy, while in the former, acceptance is for any other reason, generally altruistic.

Surrogacy is known to present a multitude of medical, social and ethical problems (read HERE), not least of which is knowing what to do when abnormalities of any type are detected in the unborn child that presuppose that it may suffer objective medical problems after birth, many of them serious. Should the pregnancy be continued? Should an abortion be performed? And in this case, to whom does the responsibility fall? The woman carrying the child? Or the biological parents? In the event that the pregnancy must be continued, who should be responsible for the child born disabled?

These are all serious objective issues that very much need reflection, and, if possible, the establishment of objective action guidelines.

An interesting article has recently been published on this topic in Bioethics (29; 529-535, 2015).

The article discusses the difficult moral dilemma that arises for the biological parents and the surrogate if a foetal abnormality is diagnosed: What should be done with the child?

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.