Japanese Man Wins Sole Custody of 13 Surrogacy Children
By Daniel Hurst | The Guardian | Feb. 20, 2018
In a saga that started in 2014, one of the richest men in Japan has just been granted custody of children he commissioned from Thai gestational mothers. In its ruling, the central juvenile court “found the father had no history of bad behaviour and would provide for the children’s happiness.”
This case first came to light in the regulatory upheaval following the case of Baby Gammy in Thailand, and resulted in the country’s eventual ban on international commercial surrogacy. It continues to raise questions as, according to Sam Everingham, a director of the Australia-based consultancy Families Through Surrogacy, an example of “an unacceptable abuse of the limited pool of gestational surrogates globally” and, more broadly, the ethics of a practice that does not protect the rights of the women and children involved.
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Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance — United States, 2015
By Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report | Feb. 16, 2018
From the introduction:
Since the first U.S. infant conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART) was born in 1981, both the use of ART and the number of fertility clinics providing ART services have increased steadily in the United States. ART includes fertility treatments in which eggs or embryos are handled in the laboratory (i.e., in vitro fertilization [IVF] and related procedures). Although the majority of infants conceived through ART are singletons, women who undergo ART procedures are more likely than women who conceive naturally to deliver multiple-birth infants. Multiple births pose substantial risks for both mothers and infants, including obstetric complications, preterm delivery (<37 weeks), and low birthweight (<2,500 g) infants. This report provides state-specific information for the United States (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) on ART procedures performed in 2015 and compares birth outcomes that occurred in 2015 (resulting from ART procedures performed in 2014 and 2015) with outcomes for all infants born in the United States in 2015.
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Multiple Pregnancies Following Assisted Conception
By T. El-Toukhy, S. Bhattacharya and V. A. Akande | Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists | February 2018
First published in 2011, under the same title, this report raises an alarm about the risks of multiple pregnancies in assisted reproduction, resulting from the common practice of transferring multiple embryos. Maternal complications, according to the report, include increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, peripartum haemorrhage, operative delivery, postpartum depression, and heightened symptoms of anxiety and parenting stress. Multiple pregnancy is also associated with a six-fold increase in the risk of preterm birth, which is a leading cause of infant mortality and long-term mental and physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and chronic lung disease.
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Read a summary, along with RCOG’s recommendation that IVF be fully funded by the National Health Service, as a step towards reducing multiple pregnancies and related risks.
Gender Before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia | University of Washington Press | 2018
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From the publisher’s website:
In the mid-1990s, the international community pronounced prenatal sex selection via abortion an “act of violence against women” and “unethical.” At the same time, new developments in reproductive technology in the United States led to a method of sex selection before conception; its US inventor marketed the practice as “family balancing” and defended it with the rhetoric of freedom of choice. In Gender before Birth, Rajani Bhatia takes on the double standard of how similar practices in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed.
Bhatia’s extensive fieldwork includes interviews with clinicians, scientists, biomedical service providers, and feminist activists, and her resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies. She argues that we are at the beginning of a changing transnational terrain that presents new challenges to theorized inequality in reproduction, demonstrating how the technosciences often get embroiled in colonial gender and racial politics.
I’ve Met Hundreds of Egg Donors. This Is What I Have Learned.
By Raquel Cool | We Are Egg Donors | Dec. 26, 2017
Watch Raquel, co-founder of We Are Egg Donors, and others in its 1000+ member network share their experiences and concerns related to paid egg donation, from the risks associated with unethically high numbers of harvested eggs to the absence of data on the health of those that provide these eggs. This video was commissioned by Our Bodies Ourselves, as part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to increase public awareness on issues related to egg retrieval.
We Are Egg Donors is the first advocacy group for egg providers created by egg providers. The group invites egg providers to share their stories and welcomes them into the network.
Read Cool’s personal account, describing the organization’s commitment to ensuring egg providers are informed, supported, safe, and connected to agencies that will advocate for them.
By GIRE Mexico | 2017
GIRE, a Mexico-based organization that has studied, documented, published, and advocated on international recently released a documentary on the practice in 2017. “Deseos” or “Longing” follows Mirna, a divorced gestational mother with three of her own and shines a critical light on the lack of regulation around surrogacy in Mexico.
Visit GIRE’s website and read the organization’s latest report on surrogacy in Mexico. In it, GIRE offers a comprehensive overview of the current status of surrogacy, the scope of the debate around the practice, legal frameworks, cases, and recommendations. The last includes, for example:
- Legislation that defines surrogacy as a contract between gestational mothers and intended parents.
- Decriminalization of all the parties involved, including any criminalization based on nationality, sexual orientation, marital status, and age.
- Quality and confidential health and legal care for gestational mothers.
- Guarantees that costs related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum be covered by intended parents (regardless of birth outcomes).
- Contract revisions be contingent on the involvement of a competent notary/judge and consent of all parties.
- Notifications of relevant state and federal authorities to avoid problems related to registration, legal parentage, and citizenship while contracts are valid or after birth.
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