• Bartosz Płotka Nicolaus Copernicus University
  • Cristina Iulia Ghenu Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Faculty of Management
  • Kamila Rezmer Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University
Keywords: surrogacy, market logic, economic thinking, morality, Sandel


In What Money Can’t Buy and Justice – What’s the Right Thing to Do Michael Sandel argued that nowadays we face the loss of our collective moral compass caused by the increasing role of markets in our lives. In his view, when market and moral values compete, some aspects of everyday life become corrupted. One of the author’s examples is the case of surrogacy, presented as a service which corrupts parenthood. In this article we follow Sandel’s argument and argue, step by step, that its logic cannot be fully applied to surrogacy and, there where it can, it is utterly wrong. That is because in fact Sandel’s argumentation is not strictly economic but personalistic, as we demonstrate in the article. Our conclusion is that Sandel’s personalistic approach to surrogacy cannot be generalized over all cases and cultures, and even where it is used, it is offending and discriminating against both women who want to be surrogates and the intended parents.


ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) (2012). Multiple Pregnancy and Birth: Twins, Triplets, and High-order Multiples. Retrieved from

Bachryj-Krzywaźnia, M. (2017). Antropodoksa polityczna jako kategoria teoretyczna i przedmiot badań. Wrocławskie Studia Politologiczne, 23, 21-40.

Benatar, D. (2006). Better Never to Have Been The Harm of Coming into Existence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Berend, Z. (2014). The Social Context for Surrogates' Motivations and Satisfaction. Reproductive BioMedicine Online,

i(4), 399-401.

Darnovsky, M., Beeson, D. (2014). Global Surrogacy Practices. International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, 11-13 August 2014, The Hague, Netherlands.

Ekman, K. (2014). Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self. Melbourne: Spinifex Press.

Hughes, J. (2009). TechnoProgressive Biopolitics and Human Enhancement. In Progress in Bioethics, J. Moreno, S. Berger (Ed.). MIT Press, 163-188.

Kass, L. (1997). The Wisdom of Repugnance. The New Republic, 2, 17-26.

Kymlicka, W. (2002). Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Roache, R., Clarks S. (2009). Bioconservatism, Bioliberalism, and the Wisdom of Reflecting on Repugnance. Monash Bioethics Review, 28(1), 4.1-4.21.

Sandel, M. (2009). Justice. What’s The Right Thing To Do? New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Press.

Sandel, M. (2013). What Money Can’t Buy. The Moral Limits of Markets. London: Penguin Books.

Sera, J. M. (1997). Surrogacy and Prostitution: A Comparative Analysis. Journal of Gender & the Law, 5(2), 315-342.

Söderström-Anttila, V., Wennerholm, U. B., Loft, A., Pinborg, A., Aittomäki, K., Romundstad, L. B., Bergh, C. (2016). Surrogacy: outcomes for surrogate mothers, children and the resulting families—a systematic review. Human Reproduction Update, 22(2), 260-276.

Tremblay, R. (2015). Surrogates in Quebec: The Good, the Bad and the Foreigner. CJWL, 27(1), 94-111.

Whittaker, A. (2014). Merit and Money: The Situated Ethics of Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in Thailand. The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 7(2), 100-120. (2018). Why is Surrogacy Illegal in Quebec? Retrieved from