The questions that follow are intended to enhance your group’s reading and discussion of THE SURROGATE by Toni Halleen
- What were some of the mistakes made by Hal and Ruth in setting up the surrogacy arrangement? What could they have done to better protect themselves, if anything?
- Why did Cally make the decision she did at the beginning of the book? Was she right to trust Digger, and if not, what other options did she have?
- Before her surrogacy, Cally had never been pregnant or had any children. Do you think this made a difference in how the events played out in this novel?
- What could Hal have done differently in response to the various crises regarding the baby and Cally? Why did he make the choices he did?
- Were Digger’s intentions correct, and if so, what should he have done differently?
- What role, if any, did Ruth’s being a stepmom play in her desire for a child with Hal, and how did it affect the outcome of the story?
- In what ways did other women characters (such as Vera, Mrs. Z, Deena) act as mother figures? Has your view of mothering changed afer reading this story?
- Why did Ruth make the decision she did at the end, and what were the factors that she might have considered?
- If Cally had not agreed with Ruth’s proposition, what would the implications have been?
- Who were you rooting for? Why? Did it change? Why? What made you root for one character over another, and what made you change your mind?
- Cally was a traditional surrogate (meaning her own egg was fertilized). Would her experience have been different if she had been a gestational surrogate (using a third-party, donated egg)? Why or why not?
- In the U.S., surrogacy laws vary from state to state. Should there be a consistent federal law with minimum standards for surrogacy arrangements? If so, what kinds of standards?
- Should the law prohibit commercial (paid) surrogacy and only allow “altruistic” surrogacy? Why or why not?
- Should the law set a minimum payment for the surrogate, and if so, how should the amount be determined? How about other benefits or protections?
- Should the child’s needs or rights be considered and how? Who should have input into this consideration? Why?
- If you were a surrogate, would you want to have contact with the child afer they’re born? Or with the family? What kind of contact and for how long?
- If you were the intended parent, would you want the surrogate to have contact with the child? What if your child wanted to meet their surrogate?
- What should happen if the surrogate changes their mind? What if the intended parent changes their mind or can no longer care for the child?
- How is surrogacy similar to or di erent from various forms of adoption? How is it similar to or different from egg donation and sperm donation?
- How should custody disputes with a surrogate be decided, and how is it different from a divorce custody dispute?