'Repellent to proper ideas about the procreation of children': Procreation and motherhood in the legal and ethical treatment of the surrogate mother

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Abstract:

This paper explores how biological and social definitions of the family and appropriate maternal behaviour are conflated in the legal and ethical treatment of the surrogate mother with specific reference to genetic surrogacy. It is argued that the discourse of child welfare reinforces biological definitions of procreation and maternal behaviour through a narrow definition of the family in which women are tied to men in order to be classed as appropriate social mothers. The construction of the surrogate mother as the monstrous feminine in perpetuating gender roles is explored in the distinction between altruistic and commercial surrogacy. Ultimately it is argued that the controversy over surrogacy centres upon the innate challenge it presents to biological and patriarchal notions of procreation and appropriate maternal behaviour.

Keywords: CHILD WELFARE; MATERNAL; NATURAL; PUBLIC/PRIVATE; SURROGACY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616660050200896

Affiliations: ScHARR, Sheffield

Publication date: August 1, 2000

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