Introduction?At the bright center is the individual. And radiating out from him or her is the family, essential unit of closeness and of love. For it’s the family that communicates to our children, to the twenty first century, our culture, our religious faith, our traditions and history. – George Bush, Republican presidential nomination acceptance speech, 1989?My topic is surrogate motherhood, and specifically the issue- the central issue in the controversy over surrogacy- whether contracts of surrogate motherhood, that is contracts whereby a woman agrees, in exchange for money, to become impregnated through artificial insemination and to give up the newly born child to the father, should be legally enforceable, whether by damages or specific performance. I shall not consider whether such contracts are enforceable under existing law, nor the intricate legal questions that such contracts even when enforceable could be expected to raise, but whether they should be enforceable.?Beginning with the earliest theorists such as Lewis Henry Morgan, Emile Durkheim, and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown and continuing with the work of contemporary theorists such as David Schneider, Marilyn Strathern, Jane Collier, and Sylvia Yanagisako, kinship theory has been considered one of the principal area of study in anthropology.?It can be said, then, that surrogate motherhood is consistent with American kinship ideology in the sense that biogenetic relatedness is achieved (for the father) and that the birth of the child transforms the couple into a family. But although biogenetic relatedness is one of the most important aspects of the surrogate arrangement and is its goal, biogenetic relatedness must be deemphasized during the insemination process and throughout the pregnancy in order to highlight, or place in the foreground, those elements of the relationship that are held to beconsonant with American kinship ideology and with “traditional” reproduction.?I conjecture that three factors are key in explaining the growing popularity of the practice. The first is scientific advances in the field of reproduction, which make infertile couples less prone to resign themselves to their infertility. The second (and I think related) factor is the decline in convectional attitudes toward sex and the family. The third, and perhaps most important factor is the acute shortage of babies for adoption. ( Imean of healthy, white infants- there is no shortage of black, handicapped, or older children for adoption, but this is because there is unfortunately, very little demand for such children.?The case for allowing people to make legally enforceable contracts of surrogate motherhood is straightforward. Such contracts would not be made unless the parties to them believed that surrogacy would be mutually beneficial. Suppose the contract requires the father and his wife to pay the surrogate mother $15,000 (apparently this is the most common price in contracts of surrogate motherhood) The father and wife must believe that they will derive a benefit from having the baby that is greater than $15,000, or else they would not sign the contract. The surrogate must be believing that she will use the money for) that is greater than the cost to her of being pregnant and giving birth and then sundering the baby.However, there is no persuasive evidence or convincing reason to believe that, on average, women who agree to become surrogate mothers underestimate the distress they will feel at having to give up the baby. Granted, Mrs. Whitehead, the surrogate mother in the baby M case, understand estimated that distress. But we must be wary of generalizing from a single case. There is no indication that Mrs. Whiteheads experience is a typical of surrogate mothers. hundreds of babies have been born to surrogate mothers and since very few of these arrangements have been drawn into litigation ones guess is that most surrogate mothers do not balk when it comes time to surrender the baby. Newspapers and magazine interviews with surrogate mothers confirm this impression. Oblique but important corroborative evidence is that most surrogate mothers already have children and that few are under 20 years of age. A mature woman who has borne children should be able to estimate the psychic cost to her of giving up her next baby.?Finally, the enormous publicity that the baby M case has received should provide additional warning of the perils of surrogacy, if any is needed, to women contemplating it.