Kinship and Surrogacy Motherhood Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1706 Words
Date:  2022-04-04


There has been a separation between the genetic and gestation link between children and parents due to the different advancements in reproductive technology. The link between social and interpersonal ties within a family has been interchanged to fit today's society. The meaning of family and family ties has evolved over time with major changes depending on culture. Families have become complex. The introduction of surrogacy has further made family more complexes. Some consequences occur due to people carrying and delivering women who are not biologically related to them. Numerous couples are seeking to create a family through surrogate motherhood (Ragone, 2014). This paper will try to analyze how individuals who use surrogacy define elements of family and kinship and how they maintain family ties regardless of this inconsistency.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Surrogacy Motherhood

Individuals consider the production of children as a means for the continuation of lineages. Issues of infertility are a major source of concern to parents who are trying to have children, and hence they seek other means of gaining fulfillment that is achieved through getting children. In vitro fertilization and other medical advancements have helped many women to gain back their fertility and hence conceive. There are some though that these methods do not work on them. There are also couples where the father is the one with the infertility issue. The solution to this is surrogacy. This can be achieved through artificially inseminating the donor with the father's sperm and then the surrogate mother carries the baby to term. It can also be achieved through a gestational surrogate. This is where the eggs of the mother and fertilized with the father's sperms and the embryo are placed in the uterus of the gestational surrogate (Grilli&Parisi, 2016).

The introduction of surrogacy has brought fragmentation in the reproductive function. There has been a separation between reproduction and sex, and pregnancy and motherhood. There is also a disconnection between couples in that there is an inclusion of a third person in the family relationship. The use of contraceptive has been the main cause of the separation of sex and reproduction. This has brought about the issue of biological relatedness. The ideologies of the family have also been changed due to the issue of the third party in a relationship.

There has been a redefined the term family. Family status is not based on genetic relatedness but rather relationships. This complexity has been brought about by the ability of an individual to relinquish their baby to the client parents. The traditional structural functionalist's theory has defined family as an institution of intimate relationship and child-rearing. There is lack of uniformity in the structure and functionality of a family. This led to the term postmodern family that caters for the different characters of contemporary kinship and gender arrangement. The definition of motherhood has also changed. It is seen as the social concept for the creation of family (Ragone, 2014). Their biogenetic contributions to insemination and pregnancy phase are consistent with components of kinship. Emphasis is mostly on the intentionality, nurturance and choice aspect of motherhood. The importance of genetic and blood ties makes having a surrogate child to make the kinship relationship quite complex with the relationship between the surrogate and father being symbolically adultery.

The process of surrogacy shifts the ideology and structure of parenthood, reproduction, and conception. Before surrogacy, the process of motherhood was unified. It was the mother who conceived, carried the baby to term, gave birth and nurtured the baby. The use of birth control separates reproduction and intercourse; this is because reproduction can occur without the occurrence of sexual intercourse. There is also a separation between motherhood and fetus.

The biological nature of pregnancy and conception have been separated and connected through surrogacy. There is the need for the social mother to nurture the baby regardless of the biological conception. In a social setting, the surrogate mother acts like a mother of a baby who puts her baby for adoption to the client couple. The social mother, like adoptive mother, hashes a relationship with the baby outside biology but in law. The biological father becomes the social father too (Wallbank, 2002).

Ambiguity arises when on the status of the gestation mother. They are seen as a womb rental that the client parents implant biogenetic material into her body. They are not biogenetically related to the baby and only contribute legally or contractually. The relationship becomes more complex though when the sperms used to fertilize the eggs are from the father. It creates a de-emphasis on the aspect of geneticist which lacks when the biogenetic material is from both parents (Grilli&Parisi, 2016).

The law has not been clear on the issue of kinship in surrogacy. There are numerous cases where the surrogates have been given visitation rights based on the blood ties they have with the children. Many contracts thought that surrogates enter with parents disallow visitation. The law has had to reanalyze issues of kinship, motherhood, fatherhood, procreation, and marriage. The change in laws has not been consistent though with each case getting a unique ruling. Due to the difference in laws of surrogacy in different states, it is advisable that all intended parents and surrogate mothers arrange a legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected during the surrogacy period and after the birth of the child. The contract should include the compensation for the carrier (Wallbank, 2002).

The concept of infertility in one partner can greatly be implied in the process of surrogacy. In American kinship situation, the cultural motivation is to maximize relatedness and blood ties. This includes the use of nature and law to create a relationship that is lasting and without conflicts. Stigmatization mostly occurs when one of the partners can achieve genetic relatedness during surrogacy. Infertility tends to have a greater impact on male than a female with many women protecting men from the reality of infertility. There are many cases where the wife was assumed to be the infertile one. The issue of childlessness is experienced differently in male and female. Female are usually exposed to great stress while trying to pursue in vitro fertilization which is quite expensive and emotionally consuming when it doesn't succeed.

The process of surrogacy brings legitimacy and adultery issues. While the process of In vitro fertilization the biogenetic materials is still introduced, there is still genetic continuity of a normal family. Complex issues arise from the father's point of view how views another woman, who is not his wife having his children. There is no intercourse between the father and the surrogate; there is still a symbolic form of adultery which is felt. In situations where the sperms of the father fertilize the surrogate's eggs, the mother feels excluded from the situation. Issues of accommodation might still arise, as to where the surrogate will be staying. The husband must downplay their intimacy to the surrogate. The situation in most cases brings about a form of polygyny or polyandry relationship (Ragone, 2014).

There is also a significant issue of maternal bonding in surrogacy. Many individuals believe that maternal bonding is created when the child is in the womb. It is the expectation that mothers should be compelled to take care and nurture their children and the surrogates should resist the bonding they have with the children they carry (Grilli&Parisi, 2016). There have been researches that state that even if the eggs and sperms used for gestation are from the parents, their surrogates still pass down some genetic materials. This research is under the premise that the womb is not just a home for the child, but rather it has reprogramming effect on the child from the embryo till its time of being conceived (Ragone, 2014).

The emotional connection that is expected in families is also in question. According to research, children that are born of surrogate mothers tend to have more emotional difficulties as compared to those that have been carried by their biological mothers. The study showed that these children had difficulty coming to terms with the fact that they were carried to term by other women who are not their mothers. The fact that they are biologically related to their parents is also a bone of contention in these children (Innes, 2012).


Kinship ties in today's era have greatly changed. The definition of kinship, parenthood, and other terms has changed considerably to cater for the different cultural values and current laws. In social terms, motherhood and fatherhood definition have no connection to biological facts. There is a great disconnect between reproduction and intercourse. The delivery of children through surrogacy has been one of the main influencers to the change in the definition. Individuals are not considered the real parents of an individual based on their genetic connection but rather due to social ties. Though blood ties are important in any social setting, the issue of surrogacy is motivated by the relatedness of the cultural values of American kinship. The emotional implication of surrogacy can also not be ignored. There is a sense of adultery where the father views a woman who is not his wife as being the mother of his children. This notion has also been seen to affect the children themselves as they view the woman who gave birth to them as having no biological relationship with them. The law is quite vague about the rights of surrogate mother and client couples. With the developing technologies, they have tried to change the meaning of fatherhood and motherhood to cater to the needs of the clients. These issues need to be addressed for any family to chive the main objective of having children, to propagate the lineage.


Grilli, S., & Parisi, R. (2016). New Family Relationships: between Bio-genetic and Kinship Rarefaction Scenarios. Antropologia , 29-51.

Innes, E. (2012, June 19). Surrogate-born children are more likely to suffer depression than those carried by their real mother. Daily mail .

Ragone, H. (2014). Surrogate Motherhood and American Kinship. In D. Parkin, & L. Stone, Kinship and Family: An Anthropological Reader. Wiley BlackWell.

Schhneider, D. M. (2004). What is kinship All About? In D. Parkin, & L. Stone, Kinship and Family: An antropological reader. Wiley Blackwell.

Wallbank, J. (2002). Too Many Mothers? Surrogacy, Kinship and the Wellbeing of the Child. Grilli.

Cite this page

Kinship and Surrogacy Motherhood Essay. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism