Can you legally pay people to mate and make super babies?

Assume you are a very wealthy man or woman who wants a large and genetically elite family, and let’s assume further you are single and you are sterile.

If you identify a young man and woman who met your desired genetic specifications of being extremely intelligent, genetically healthy, and superb physical specimens, would it be illegal in any way to pay them to mate, and then further pay the woman a large sum to carry a child conceived from that mating to term, which she would then turn over to you, and whom you would adopt?

Assume you do this at the same time with ten different “super couples” until you have 10 children within the span of a few years.

Anything in that arrangment which violates the law?

I’m not too familiar with adoption law but that sounds a lot like buying babies, which is pretty illegal. There might be a way to make it a legal adoption but I’m not sure.

If you filmed it, and distributed that as porn, would it legally protect it?

I don’t see how that is much different from combining the concepts of donated sperm, donated eggs and a surrogate mother. Those things are already legal. I don’t know if it is illegal to combine them though exactly the way you describe but the result is the same if you can.

There are no actual laws or cases regarding this sort of thing, other than indirectly.

The closest thing is surrogacy, not a WAG about “buying babies”. Surrogacy arrangements are legal in at least 6 states, depending on the exact circumstances, and at least 3 states allow surrogacy for compensation. Most states appear to require the agreement to be between a couple and an individual, but I am not aware of any states that require that the couple be the recipients instead of the donors, nor of any states that require the male to provide his own sperm.

Of the states that don’t have specific laws, the courts would obviously have to decide. States without laws in place, however, would only be able to get involved if there is a dispute between the parties, not just because it’s morally ambiguous (if indeed, it even is), though a clever state could step in to argue in the best interest of the child, but I presume they would have to do so through ordinary adoption law.

Furthermore, assuming our perfect couple consents, adoptions are always a viable strategy to transfer custody to someone else. Most places allow quite a bit of freedom to consent to adoption by a specific person.

Requiring them to produce a baby the old fashioned way might run afoul of some laws like solicitation, but that’s hardly a logical requirement. I’m not sure if bup’s comment was serious or not, but no, calling it porn would not protect such an arrangement in most states, especially given that it is pretty clear that such a claim would be made only to avoid legal troubles.

Life is short…

But the years are long… (Yeah, I was going to make a stupid “paging Ira Howard” joke myself, but decided against it because I’ve already done so a couple of times in previous threads dealing with eugenics.)

If only everyone else was so inclined…

Is it the part about having to do the sperm donation the old fashioned way that you are asking about? Otherwise, this sounds like a surrogate mom, with a sperm donor. You could argue that this has already been done, by Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe if you make an assumption that MJ wasn’t the sperm donor (likely) and that the real sperm donor made the deposit au naturale (unlikely).

Aren’t sperm banks already giving information about the donor?

Caucasian, tall (6’ "2) highly educated with PHD, no family history of cardiac problems etc.

Haven’t used the service myself. But, I’ve seen segments on 20/20 and 60 minutes.

Yes. I’ve done some looking, and you can search most of the banks online for all of the above, plus weight, eye and hair color, and in many cases also hobbies and such. Here’s an example donor catalog.

Going through the “impressions” section of donors is pretty funny. I can imagine the minimum waged “impressionist” sizing up a guy, trying to sell his best traits.

“Looks nothing like you’d expect of a sociopath – very soft eyes!”

Read the Wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrogacy
Generally you can’t pay someone to take their child. Places that recognize surrogacy contracts seem to have restrictions like the intended parentS must be married, etc.

I suppose if you’re rich enough to pay relatively healthy and hopefully mentally successful people to have children, just relocate to some third world country where it’s legal, and pay the local judge to approve the necessary adoption papers.

Or… find genetically healthy but greedy and emotionally detatched people to do it. The article does not mention any problem as long as the parties do not change their mind and ask for their kid back, or keep the money and run. Of course, if family services has grounds to believe you “bought” the baby, I suppose they could confiscate the child.

Yes, but if you look in the back room, it’s actually Beavis & Butthead spanking the monkey.

Remember Cecil Byran Jacobson the fertility doc that used his own stuff?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Jacobson

Wasn’t this the premise of Robert Heinlein’s SciFi story “Methuseluh’s Children”?
It worked pretty good in the story.
Seriously, if you were able to breed a group of superior people, what would be the societal consequences? Would the superior people regard US as Neanderthals?

No, the foundation paid couples to marry each orther (once fertlity was assured, ha ha) and have and raise their own children. The Quebec government already pays a healthy bonus to anyone who has children, and it works so-so, certainly not a baby boom.

You’d have to be very selective and very lucrative to get top-gene people to reproduce. After all, if your criteria is that these people are superior, aren’t they already the ones with jobs as professors, network techs or software developers, star dancers or opera singers, architects and engineers, doctors and lawyers, etc. How much do you have to offer them (especially the women) to carry children, or even donate so others can raise?

The logical path would be to buy eggs and sperm, and find any old loser to be the surrogate; they come much cheaper and with much less persuasion. I assume some successful women who would not dream of being a brood mare would be willing to donate eggs. Men - donate sperm - hmmm… That would probably not be the biggest expense. In fact, with finaicially successful donors, you biggest impediment may be their fear of future child support claims.

The first legal hurdle is that in most of the civilized world, outright buying of these genetic materials is completely illegal. However, there are exceptions and ways around it I’m sure.

The biggest legal hurdle is the paid surrogacy. They logical process is to obtain egg and sperm, and find some volunteer willing to carry a child for the necessary fee; once you aren’t looking for specific genetic traits, your choice of surrgate is much larger. However, the legal hurdles are interesting, and the biggest is that most places do not consider the contract binding; and with no genetic connection to the child, what leverage have you to sue for custody?

I think you overestimate the value of smarts. The world is not ruled by college professors; how far back do you have to go to find one as president? (Woodrow Wilson?) They might be useful if you plan to open your own Microsoft Inc., or such…

That is not the question, and your summation is not accurate. The OP asks the legality of surrogacy agreements, not the enforceability of surrogacy contracts. In states that don’t specifically place limits on surrogacy (of which there are several), there is no hurdle to the OP’s plan, other than the standard adoption hurdles, which are not going to be a high bar to clear.

Certainly, questions of enforceability are germane to the discussion, but you must be careful to distinguish the different legal ideas.

In Methuselah’s Children, they were breeding for a long lifespan, not for intelligence:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methuselah’s_Children

Also, do you know about the so-called “Nobel Prize sperm bank”?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repository_for_Germinal_Choice

From the wiki page:

The Repository for Germinal Choice (originally known as the Hermann J. Muller Repository for Germinal Choice) was a sperm bank that existed in Escondido, California from 1980 to 1999. Founded by Robert Klark Graham, the repository was dubbed the “Nobel prize sperm bank” by media reports at the time. The only contributor who became known publicly was William Shockley, Nobel laureate in physics.

Just what I always wanted—a four-year-old terror running around the house with a pillowcase over his head, proclaiming that he’s gonna be Grand Dragon when he grows up. :smiley: