A radical new approach to surrogacy

24 August 2017

Towards a Professional Model of Surrogate Motherhood book cover

Towards a Professional Model of Surrogate Motherhood

Putting the interests of babies at the heart of surrogacy is the starting point for a new model being put forward by two University of Waikato researchers.

Dr Ruth Walker and Dr Liezl van Zyl have just published a book which challenges the current thinking about the increasingly popular form of assisted reproduction.  Instead of the altruistic (unpaid) or commercial (paid) forms, they want to see surrogacy move to a professional standing, legally regulated and with greater protection for intended parents, the planned baby, and the surrogate mother. It's not about building a career, but recognizing the surrogate’s caring motives, and compensating her for her work.

In New Zealand, paying a surrogate breaks the law. The complex system needed to get ethical approval is lengthy, confusing, and very often legally and ethically fraught.

Dr Walker says at the moment surrogacy isn’t safe for any of those involved. “Intended parents can pull out, leaving the surrogate literally holding the baby. The surrogate can in turn effectively hold the baby hostage.

“The Government needs to look at the current way of handling things. It is not in babies’ best interests, and there is no security for surrogates or intended parents.”

Dr Walker says their model of professional surrogacy is radical. “It’s dealing with issues around payment, and allowing the couple who want the child to be considered its parents -  legally and from the very start of the process.”

Dr Walker and Dr van Zyl’s book is titled Towards a Professional Model of Surrogate Motherhood.