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Surrogacy, Law & Human Rights

Surrogacy: a marvel of modern biotechnology, or a threat to the inherent dignity of women and children? This paper explores the human rights implications involved with the process of splitting motherhood across two or more parties. The compromise of principles that should protect female bodies from exploitation as ‘gestational ovens’, accompanied by factors that pose serious risk to women’s health, bears alarming consequences for women across the world. Such is particularly accented by the experience of women in developing countries, typically hired for their wombs by wealthy westerners. Equally, a child carried via surrogacy faces severe violations of their rights – including through their sale upon birth and deprivation of access to their true identity. After investigating the outcomes faced by the most vulnerable parties in a surrogacy arrangement, this paper analyses global patterns of surrogacy laws and provides recommendations for policy-makers looking to deal with the complex issue.

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