Taxation, Pregnancy and Privacy

42 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2009 Last revised: 27 Aug 2010

Date Written: July 22, 2009


This Article frames a discussion of surrogacy within the context of existing income tax laws. A surrogate receives money for carrying and bearing a child. This payment is income by any definition, even if the surrogacy contract recites that it is a “reimbursement.” Cases and rulings on the income tax consequences of the sale of blood and human breast-milk, as well as analogies to situations in which people are paid to wear advertising on their bodies, support the conclusion that a surrogate recognizes taxable income, although the IRS has never stated so. The Article considers, and then rebuts, privacy-based objections to a surrogacy tax. Disclosure of income from surrogacy is a reasonable consequence of the freedom to engage in that activity. For tax purposes, the reproductive labor of surrogacy is work. The federal government should take steps to increase tax compliance.

Keywords: surrogacy, surrogate, surrogate motherhood, taxation, privacy, pregnancy, reproductive labor, women, blood, sperm, breast milk, income, privacy, tax enforcement, sales of body parts, organ donation

JEL Classification: K34, K39, K12

Suggested Citation

Crawford, Bridget J., Taxation, Pregnancy and Privacy (July 22, 2009). William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 16, p. 327, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Bridget J. Crawford (Contact Author)

Pace University School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

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