What Are the Moral Issues Surrounding the Sale of Babies Out of Foreign Countries?


Quick Answer

The act of buying and selling babies out of foreign countries is fraught with moral dilemmas and questions, namely the method of acquisition, the physical and emotional treatment of the infants, the assumptions around wealth and privilege, and the inherent racism prevalent in baby trafficking. While many people advocate for a complete ban on foreign adoptions from countries that tolerate corrupt adoptions, history shows that doing so merely shifts the demand to new suppliers.

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Full Answer

Often, biological parents are subject to deception, mistreatment and outright lies in order to relinquish their children. In many impoverished countries, children receive care, housing and food in an orphanage or hostel under the guise that they are returned once the family can afford such necessities. Once the babies are there, however, the orphanage owners sell the infants to adoption agencies, netting a large profit without the parents' permission or knowledge.

Many pregnant mothers in poor countries receive false assurances that if they sell their baby for a minimal price, they can have continual contact with their child after adoption, as well as ongoing financial support. Some are also told that they can immigrate to the West and live with their child once the child is older. While this serves as a motivation for low-income, desperate parents, it is entirely false.

Another concern brought forth by some foreign adoptions is the notion that wealth or ethnicity constitutes a better upbringing. Such sales suggest that it is more important for a child to be raised with a wealthy, Western family rather than with the biological family.

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