Is Surrogacy Right In Buddhism?

Question: Is surrogacy morally right or wrong in the Buddhist perspective?

Answer: Surrogacy in short is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a couple who wants to have a child – usually by transfer of embryo (gestational surrogacy), or by natural or artificial impregnation (traditional surrogacy). It is usually used as one of the last resorts to have a child. There are varying laws on it in different countries due to possible complications, such as the following –

[1] Potential exploitation of surrogate mother (including rape) and born child for profiteering.
Will all terms be agreed upon, fair to involved parties and carried out?

[2] Potential of abortion if arrangement is called off.
Will the surrogate mother definitely be responsible for the unborn child?

[3] Potential of parents-to-be rejecting child if ill or deformed.
Will they definitely be responsible for the (un)born child?

[4] Potential confusion or deceit on child’s roots when growing up.
Will the child be expected to be filial to the surrogate mother too?

[5] Potential conflict of parental and child rights.
Will the surrogate mother and child be allowed to meet if they wish?

The Buddha taught that trade in sentient beings, including human beings is not a right livelihood, as this almost always involves exploitation that causes suffering. However, as long as the primary purpose of being a surrogate mother is out of compassion instead of for profit, as long as being one, or engaging the help of one does not break any precepts, while the above issues (and possibly more) are well taken care of, it should be alright.

We should note that there should be no killing at any point (so as to observe the first precept), no stealing (such as by snatching the child away from the surrogate mother without permission, so as to observe the second precept), no sexual misconduct (such as through extramarital sex, so as to observe the third precept), and no lying (on the child’s surrogate mother’s identity, so as to observe the fourth precept).

Related Article:
Prenatal Dharma Education For Those To Be Born

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