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Title: A relational defence of surrogate motherhood
Author: Everett, Pauline
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores surrogate motherhood using Christian ethics within a relational framework. A surrogate mother is a woman who has a child for a commissioning couple who are usually infertile. Chapter one explores how surrogacy is presented in three secular and three Church reports by focusing upon the surrogate, the commissioning couple and the child. The key theological and ethical objections to surrogacy are briefly explored: that it undermines motherhood, involves baby selling, coercion, exploitation and commodification. Chapter two analyses motherhood according to three secular feminists and three theologians. The secular feminists are criticised for not recognising the complexity of motherhood. By contrast, motherhood in Christianity is presented as multidimensional. Chapter three analyses whether paid surrogacy commodifies, exploits and coerces the participants. Theologically the chapter explores human beings as created in the image of God and as having dignity, which can mean that payment does not always have to lead to commodification, exploitation or coercion. Chapter four explores whether paid surrogacy involves baby selling. Theologically the chapter explores the concepts of the self and other in Augustine and Aquinas. It also explores agape in Anders Nygren and Gene Outka, arguing that self-interest and altruism can co-exist with care for the self and the other in a relational framework without detriment. Comparisons are made with blood donation to suggest that paid and unpaid surrogacy can operate together without paid surrogacy being regarded as baby selling or the purchase of parenthood. Finally, chapter five outlines three models towards surrogacy: a contract model, an adoption model and my relational approach, influenced by Louis Janssens’ personalism. My relationalism aims for a more sophisticated ontology of the relationship between the self and the other and calls for various solutions in a surrogacy custody dispute.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Surrogacy. Surrogate Motherhood.