Rent A Womb: Surrogate Selection, Investment Incentives And Contracting
The authors develop a model of gestational surrogacy, in which a childless couple faces heterogeneous prospective surrogates. High-type surrogates add more value but also have higher outside options. Surrogates can make specific investments for the overall well-being (care) of the unborn child. They show that, under non-contractibility, surrogates invest less (take less care) than the first-best. Couples are also more likely to choose low-type surrogates, who need less compensation for foregoing cheaper outside options. Hence the popular practice of making surrogacy contracts unenforceable might put the unborn child at risk. It might also lead to exploitation of needy women by couples.