This is more of a request for pointers to relevant literature than a question per se. I am, erm, looking at a paper which uses a kind of iterated pushout construction to obtain a commutative monoid with certain desired properties. The particular "gluing" construction the authors want to do is handled by quite direct means, and while that's probably fine for this particular problem, it would be nice to put it in the proper context.
My copy of Howie's "Introduction to Semigroup Theory" discusses the general notion of "semigroup amalgams" but doesn't seem to say anything about the pushouts in the smaller category of commutative monoids. The closest I can find via MathSciNet is a 1968 paper of Howie, which seems to be working in the category of commutative semigroups, but I can't get hold of a copy at the moment.
Anyway: I'm hoping that someone reading might know of a sensible place to look for a summary of some general results. (The issue is whether the constituent pieces "embed" into the pushout, not the mere existence of the pushout.)
EDIT: On further reflection, while pushouts are undoubtedly relevant, for the purposes of the paper I'm looking at, faithfulness of the embedding is more important than the universal property of pushouts. So I'm changing the title of the question to reflect this. I also think that while the suggestions below have been useful in a broad sense they don't quite address the case I need - which could just be an illustration that said case falls between the two extremes most commonly looked at by semigroup theorists.