Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Angie G. McEwen

First Page



While placing a monetary value on a product or service seems natural in many areas of society, it presents new challenges when introduced into the reproductive arena.' Society has confronted a similar debate before. Life insurance was once viewed as a form of trafficking in human lives. The acceptance of valuation in this and other areas represents a shift in cultural values that must now confront birthing arrangements.

The emergence of new reproductive technologies has ushered in new possibilities not only for women unable to bear children, but also for women willing to bear children for another, and for individuals interested in facilitating the introduction of these two groups for a profit. One product of this new technology, gestational surrogacy, has forced society to reconsider established notions about the beginning of life and the identity of the biological mother. In so doing, it has brought into question the ethics of paying women to bear children and the potential for exploiting surrogates through those payments. Faced with international gestational surrogacy arrangements and no corresponding policy to address them, the need for a comprehensive policy is exigent.

Part II of this Note describes the role of gestational surrogacy within the framework of new reproductive technologies. In Part III, a discussion of the international response to gestational surrogacy highlights the domestic approaches various countries have taken to control surrogacy arrangements within their borders (and notes those countries having no policies at all). A review of the transnational challenges presented by gestational surrogacy follows in Part IV, which cites examples of multinational surrogacy arrangements and addresses arguments both for and against enforcing these arrangements. Part V suggests an international approach to regulating gestational surrogacy based on rights and principles set forth in existing conventions and declarations.