Ethics-PHI 220 03/16/2012 Ethical Decision Making Paper Case Study: From Santa Clara University There are two types of surrogacy. One type involves a surrogate mother who uses her own egg and carries the baby for someone else. The other type is a “gestational surrogacy” in which the mother has no genetic tie to the child she carries. In the case presented, a gestational surrogate is used. A woman, after a bout with uterine cancer had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus). Before, its removal, however, she had several eggs removed for possible fertilization in the future.
Now married, the woman wishes to have a child with her husband. Obviously she cannot bear the child herself, so the couple utilizes a company to find a surrogate mother for them. The husband’s sperm is used to fertilize one of the wife’s eggs, and is implanted in the surrogate mother. The couple pays all of the woman’s pregnancy-related expenses and an extra $18,000 as compensation for her surrogacy, and after all expenses are taken into account the couple pays the woman approximately $31,000 and the agency approximately $5,000.
Though the surrogate passed stringent mental testing to ensure she was competent to carry another couple’s child, after carrying the pregnancy to term, the surrogate says that she has become too attached to “her” child to give it up to the couple. A legal battle ensues. Step 1: Gather Relevant Information The Surrogate is carrying a baby that has no genetic ties to her. The Surrogate was paid quiet well to do a service and decides not to follow through with the service.
The surrogate now decides to keep the baby and the money because she has grown to close to the baby. Step 2: Type of ethical problem According to Markkula center for applied ethics, justice means giving each person what he or she deserves or, in more traditional terms, giving each person his or her due. Justice and fairness are closely related terms that are often today used interchangeably. There have, however, also been more distinct understandings of the two terms.
While justice usually has been used with reference to a standard of rightness, fairness often has been used with regard to an ability to judge without reference to one’s feelings or interests; fairness has also been used to refer to the ability to make judgments that are not overly general but that are concrete and specific to a particular case. In any case, a notion of desert is crucial to both justice and fairness. (SCU)
The most fundamental principle of justice—one that has been widely accepted since it was first defined by Aristotle more than two thousand years ago—is the principle that “equals should be treated equally and unequal’s unequally. ” In its contemporary form, this principle is sometimes expressed as follows: “Individuals should be treated the same, unless they differ in ways that are relevant to the situation in which they are involved. (SCU) By the surrogate keeping this baby, she is going against everything that was in the agreement.
This baby has no attachment to the surrogate; it is the egg of the husband and wife who paid her to carry their child. In the United States it is illegal to pay a person for non-replenish able organs. The fear is that money will influence the poor to harm their bodies for the benefit of the rich. Is there a parallel between this case and this law? Can allowing surrogate mothers to be paid for their troubles allow poorer women to be oppressed? On their website, the AMA says “that surrogacy contracts [when the surrogate uses her own egg], while permissible, should grant the birth other the right to void the contract within a reasonable period of time after the birth of the child. If the contract is voided, custody of the child should be determined according to the child’s best interests. ” (SCU) However this is not the case with this couple, the couple used their own egg and implanted it into the surrogate so should the same rules apply? Step 3: Apply Ethical Theories and Approaches Ethical theory is divided into two main types or approaches in this case which are virtue and duty ethics.
Virtue ethics begins by considering what makes a person (or his/her character or motives) morally good (Aristotle, Hume). Duty Ethics focuses on rules or acts and what makes them right (Mill, Kant, Rawls). (Ethical Theory) According to the both theories the surrogate should hand over the child to the biological parents. This surrogate has no real ties to the child and was paid for a service and is violating a contract by not providing the child she was paid to deliver. Step 4: Exploring Practical Alternatives
With this particular case there are not many alternatives. Option 1- being that the surrogate keeps the child and returns all the money she was paid to do the service and the money put out for her medical bills. The surrogate could also reimburse the couple for their time and heart ache. Option 2- The couple and the surrogate could go in front of a judge and have the judge decide what is best for the child and the people involved, and what the outcome shall be. Step 5: Complete the Action This is the most important step in the ethical decision making process.
This is where the actions are carried out. After reviewing all the details and options for this case the most ethical thing to be done is for the surrogate mother to give the baby, who has no biological attachments to her back to the biological parents. The surrogate can keep the $18,000 she was paid for compensation for her time and expenses, plus the money put out for all her medical expenses. Works Cited “Justice and Fairness. ” Santa Clara University. Web. 17 Mar. 2012. . “Ethical Theory. ” Web. .
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