Ethics is one thing that keeps changing from time to time. Let us examine an incident from real life. A typically American family. Tom and Jane happily married. They wanted to have a baby. They tried the natural way but to no avail. They then contacted a gynecologist. After a detailed examination they were told about the results. Jane can’t have a baby the normal way. She has a block in her fallopian tube. But the doctor has some good news too. Jane was otherwise normal and was able to ovulate that is she is able to produce an egg. Tom was healthy and could produce healthy sperms for the fertilization.
The doctor suggested invitro fertilization. In lay man language it is popularly called test tube baby method. In this process the egg is extracted from the woman and the man provides the sperm. The fertilization is effected in a laboratory and the fertilized egg is inserted into the womb of the woman and the normal pregnancy is allowed.
But here is the twist. Jane was quite apprehensive about her health condition. She requested her mother, Mary to carry the baby for her. Mary too was apprehensive. But the gynecologist assured her that she (Mary) was fine and that she could be a surrogate mother (womb for rent).
Mary, Jane and Tom entered into a written agreement. Mary was to be provided a healthy sum for carrying the baby for nine months. Mary had a normal pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy. Jane was overjoyed with her baby. Her own baby! She could not wait to take the boy in her hands.
But Mary dropped a bomb. She had developed a bond with her baby and did not want to give it to Jane and Tom. Jane and Tom pleaded with her. Mary was firm. She delivered the baby and the baby was hers. After a lot of deliberation Jane and Tom took Mary to the court.
The presiding Judge never had a case like this. The egg and the sperm belonged to Jane and Tom. So the basic building blocks of the baby belonged to Jane and Tom. Mary’s case too was strong. She had the fertilized egg in her womb for nine months. You are the judge, what judgment would you deliver. Give the baby to Jane and Tom or let it remain with her grandmother/mother? You can post your answer till 31st January 2011. On 1st February 2011 I will reveal the judgment.