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Surrogate Motherhood

Recent increases in the popularity of surrogate motherhood as a solution to the desire for a family in infertile couples has also led to considerations of what constitutes a family and what the important parts of the kinship system are seen to be within American society. Helena Ragone speaks of "the importance of the blood tie as articulated in Euro-American kinship ideology" (112), and biogenetic relatedness is usually considered an important element in the establishment of the family. Even with the prevalence of adoption and the increasing acceptance of adoptive families as "real" kinship systems, adopted children as also increasingly encouraged to seek out their biological parents, if only to learn the nature of potential genetic health problems. Blood ties remain important in kinship structures, as they, unlike marriages or other social relationships, can never be severed; biological kin remain biologically related even if they never have any contact again.

Children complete the traditional picture of the family, expressing as they do "the symbolic unity of the couple" (Ragone 110), and childless couples are not always viewed as a real family unit because they do not include any means of perpetuating the relationship. A husband and wife may support and love each other unequivocally, but, if they do not have a child to symbolize that lasting commitment, they are often seen as less than permanently devoted. The actual child stands as a tangible representation of "the single most significant attribute of parental love, . . . love for what one has given" (Talbot "Egg" 42).

1B. Socio-economic conditions, especially those outside the mainstream, white culture, have powerful influences on the place of love, support, and biogenetic relatedness in the kinship system. While families at every income level unquestionably share love and support their blood relations, economics changes the ways in which these associations are (or...

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Surrogate Motherhood. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:29, May 28, 2020, from