There's an article in yesterday's New York Times today at on the continuing controversies re: gestational surrogacy and the lack of consistent laws governing it from state to state and country to country. To read it click here
Opposition to surrogacy from the conservative religious right and some women's rights groups (including the National Organization of Women) continues to influence legislators in certain states, while intended parents and surrogacy agencies argue that when the needs of all parties are attended to surrogacy is a huge benefit to all involved.
As a result, there are huge discrepancies from state to state (in six states surrogacy contracts are void and unenforceable while in others in surrogacy is legal, and in many others there are no laws one way or the other).
I've heard the argument that surrogacy should be banned because surrogates are coerced by the financial compensation exploited by the arrangement (and I must admit that from what I've heard about surrogacy in India--where destitute women are required to live in dormitories throughout their pregnancies--this can sometimes be the case!)
But the surrogates that I know are not desperate for the financial compensation, and actually drive a huge emotional/psychological benefit from being able to fulfill the long-cherished dreams of the intended parents.
Psychological screenings to determine whether this is the case for any particular prospective surrogate is critical in determining whether this is, in fact, the case.
At the clinic where I work, extreme financial need would disqualify the woman from becoming a surrogate because the risk of exploitation is simply too great. And the surrogates who do enter into contracts with intended parents are very well cared for emotionally and psychologically by the agencies they work with.
And the intended parents are also screened to insure that their is a true medical necessity for the use of a surrogate (and not a simple preference not to undergo the inconvenience of pregancy) they are not emotionally detached from the surrogate and her family.
I'm a former infertility patient, psychotherapist and author of Unspeakable Losses (WW Norton and HarperCollins).