Published On: 27/10/2014|Categories: 2013–2017, Vol.35 (2014), Vol.35 (3)|


The present study tested whether a technique that has already been implemented in studies on empirical bioethics was feasible in the context of surrogacy. It was motivated by the fact that legislation regarding surrogacy is very disparate from one country to another, and public opinion regarding the conditions of its acceptability is largely unknown. Participants (N = 79) were presented with a number of scenarios depicting the circumstances in which a couple of commissioners have contracted a surrogate mother, and they were asked to indicate the extent to which such a contract may pose a moral problem. The scenarios were created by varying four factors: the type of surrogacy (traditional vs. gestational), the surrogate mother’s level of autonomy, the family context in which the surrogate mother lives, and whether surrogacy was of the commercial or the altruistic kind. Overall, participants have not considered surrogacy as a generally acceptable procedure. In their views, this procedure is, at best, controversial, and, in most cases, poses a big moral problem; in particular, each time the surrogate mother lacks autonomy, and/or her husband disagrees with the procedure.

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