Mary Beth Whitehead Surrogacy Case Essay

1110 Words Sep 19th, 2016 5 Pages
Basics of Bioethics
Katie Houp
Fort Hays State University
February 14, 2014

Basics of Bioethics
Introduction
Ethics is a term encountered in any professional field today. It refers to the moral principle that people are supposed to uphold. These moral principles are expected to guide people in making informed choices. Bioethics is moral principles that guide people, mainly in medical and biological research. There are several ethical questions that arise during researches such as biotechnology (Veatch, 2011). This paper discusses Mary Beth Whitehead surrogacy case.
The case study
Bill and Elizabeth Stern could not bear a child because of Elizabeth’s sclerosis (Veatch, 2011). This couple in 1985 decided to pay Mary Beth Whitehead
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The Whitehead’s were having financial difficulties. Is it completely unacceptable and unethical to bank on another person’s financial vulnerability for personal interest? It is evident that Whitehead’s felt they were pushed into the deal because of their financial situation. The Stern’s felt they were also placed in a difficult position as well. An opportunity for ‘renting’ Mary Beth’s womb presented itself, and they decided to do so. Some may hold a different stand on this, in this situation the Stern’s felt they were behaving in an ethical manner. According to Sanger (2007) at the time of the contract, surrogacy contracts were not allowed in New Jersey; however the contract was written in New York. It is the moral principle that drives people to respect the law. In this regard, it was immoral of both parties to get into a contract that was unlawful as both parties resided in New Jersey. The Stern’s however had a different point of view about the whole issue.
Sanger (2007) argues that determining whether surrogacy is moral is a hard question. Equating motherhood to financial value might be considered unethical to some; however for those unable to bear children in the traditional manner, this is not, nor was a consideration. For the Whitehead’s this decision eventually resulted in a divorce. Bill and Elizabeth Stern had other options like adoption but they chose to take the path of insemination in order to obtain…

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