The Dark Side of Cambodia’s Surrogacy Boom
By Flora Bagenal | News Deeply | July 4, 2016
With bans in major hubs – India, Nepal, and Thailand – and surrogacy moving into Cambodia, this article explores the underbelly in a country rushing to fill a gap, with no laws and little preparation. It quotes a representative from a prominent surrogacy agency in Australia, concerned by the rapid growth, lack of procedure, and the potential for harm to gestational mothers. This opinion is juxtaposed with the experiences of intended parents that have traveled to Cambodia, one of whom is concerned that excessive media attention will eventually force the government to enact unsympathetic regulation.
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Is a Surrogate a Mother?
By Michelle Goldberg | Slate | Feb. 15, 2016
“Surrogacy’s been distinguished as something completely different from adoption,” says Lisa Ikemoto, a UC Davis School of Law professor who specializes in reproductive rights and bioethics. Unlike in adoption, there’s no legally required screening of intended parents. A pregnant woman who offers to give her baby up for adoption can reconsider her decision; in California, a pregnant surrogate cannot. To a large extent, the law “puts a lot of trust in a surrogacy center to make sure that these things are carried out appropriately,” Ikemoto says. “It’s very industry-friendly, and by ‘industry,’ I’m referring to the fertility industry.”
This article provides an overview of the Melissa Cook case — the story of a 47-year old woman in California who agreed to become a gestational mother and the “battle” that followed, between her and the intended parent, once she became pregnant with triplets.
Though based in the United States, a number of issues that emerged in the case have also been documented in international commercial surrogacy arrangements. This includes legal concerns related to contracts and their enforcement, practices that can impact the health of gestational mothers (such as reductions), and implications on the children that are born.
For those interested, the article also provides a lot of useful information on the 1986 Baby M case — the first contested surrogacy case in American history. Read the full article >
Republic of Unreason
By Suhrith Parthasarathy | The Hindu | Sept. 1, 2016
Now, there is little doubting that any reasonable government ought to concern itself at some level with the ethics of procreation, especially given the power equations at play in a contract of surrogacy. But is a complete proscription on commercial surrogacy a neutral position to take?
Framed by the death of a 30-year-old gestational mother in India in 2011, and the contract she signed agreeing to life support in order to protect the fetus in the event of life-threatening injury in the third trimester, this opinion article provides a critique of the Indian government’s recent ban on all commercial surrogacy.
Suhrith Parthasarathy comments on the requirements articulated in the new law — for intended parents, gestational mothers, and the money exchanged in between — highlighting flawed assumptions made by the bill and its “violation” of the constitutional pledge of equal treatment.
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Inconvenient Truths About Commercial Surrogacy
By Kathleen Sloan and Jennifer Lahl | TwinCities Pioneer Press | March 31, 2014
The surrogacy industry, however, is like a hydra that refuses to respect legislative precedent. As soon as a surrogacy bill is defeated, another one immediately appears to take its place. In action more characteristic of a dictatorship than a democracy, the proponents of contract pregnancy insist on enforcing their will no matter how many times their discredited proposal is rejected.
Framed by Minnesota’s efforts in 2014 to regulate commercial surrogacy, this article reflects the views of the authors on the practice – most importantly, on its commodification of women’s bodies and the health, legal, and social risks to gestational mothers.
The authors are co-founders of a campaign called Stop Surrogacy Now. The initiative’s website claims to bring together a “worldwide, ethnically, religiously, and culturally diverse group opposed to the exploitation of women and the human trafficking of children through surrogacy.”
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Wrong Steps: The First One from Three
By Pete Shanks | Deccan Chronicle | Oct. 2, 2016
News broke this week that the first “three-parent” baby had been born. But the untested and controversial nature of the procedure that created the child, and the end run around public policy that it entailed, raise many more questions than answers.
This article covers an experimental procedure that has, for the first time, successfully created a child using the DNA of three “parents.”
It briefly outlines the steps involved in Mitochondrial Replacement Technique (MRT), as well as the potential long-term health risks to the newborn and the ethical implications — including the medical provider’s decision to perform the procedure in Mexico, where there is no regulation. (As author Pete Shanks noes, it may not be “technically illegal” in the United States, but Congress has not permitted the Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical trials).
Plus: Responding to the news, Marcy Darnovsky, director of the Center for Genetics and Society, told NBC News: “No researcher or doctor has the right to flout agreed-upon rules and make up their own. This is an irresponsible and unethical act, and sets a dangerous precedent.”
Earlier this year, Darnovsky discussed her concerns related to MRT during an interview on PBS NewsHour. Watch below.
Ban on Foreign Nationals for Surrogacy a Blow
By Rajitha S. | The New Indian Express | Aug. 5, 2016
This is one of many articles that covers the Indian government’s recent attempt to restrict surrogacy to an “altruistic deed.” The new legislation will limit arrangements to a gestational mother’s “blood relations, family, community, country,” thereby excluding all foreigners.
The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also decided to bar single and gay couples from seeking arrangements with gestational mothers, and only allow surrogacy for Indian citizens that are married and infertile. These – and other protections – are, according to sources cited in the article, designed to ensure the normal biological function of a woman’s body is no longer commercialized. Read the full article >
A Call for Protecting the Health of Women Who Donate Their Eggs
By Judy Norsigian and Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D | WBUR Boston | March 28, 2016
This opinion piece, published on WBUR’s CommonHealth Blog, outlines the authors’ key concerns related to egg retrieval, both for infertility treatment and research.
It includes a call for action – to gather better data on the risks – and provides additional resources for readers interested in learning about the issues and joining the efforts of organizations working on behalf of egg providers. This includes the Dartmouth, N.H.-based Infertility Family Research Registry, which is a voluntary registry set up to understand the health and well being of individuals and families created by ARTs and We Are Egg Donors, which provides a space for egg providers to talk about – and build community around – their experiences with egg retrieval.
Read the full commentary >
Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D., is chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Judy Norsigian is co-founder and past executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves.
Surrogacy May Soon Be Confined to Kith and Kin
By Teena Thacker | The Asian Age | Aug. 7, 2016
This article – one of many – reports on the Indian government’s recent attempt to restrict surrogacy to an “altruistic deed.” The new legislation will limit arrangements to a gestational mother’s “blood relations, family, community, country,” thereby excluding all foreigners.
The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also decided to bar single and gay couples from seeking arrangements with gestational mothers, and only allow surrogacy for Indian citizens that are married and infertile. These – and other protections – are, according to sources cited in the article, designed to ensure the normal biological function of a woman’s body is no longer commercialized.
Read the full article >
Read other articles following recent legislative developments in India >
After Nepal, Indian Surrogacy Clinics Move to Cambodia
By Nilanjana Bhowmick | Al Jazeera | June 28, 2016
“There is no legislation protecting the rights of the surrogate, child or intended parents … The ban [in India] will push intended parents to engage in far riskier places like Cambodia, where there is a serious lack of medical support services, such as neonatal care units.” – Sam Everingham, Families through Surrogacy
This article follows surrogacy’s expansion into Cambodia, after recent legal crackdowns in the region. With ongoing legislative attempts in India as backdrop, it focuses on the rise of clinics originally from India and Nepal, the movement of gestational mothers from these countries as well as Laos and Thailand into Cambodia, and the implications on risks and the human rights of the women involved.
Read the full article >
Surrogacy Comes to Vietnam
By Xavier Symons | BioEdge | Jan. 23, 2016
This short piece provides information on Vietnam’s amendment to the country’s marriage and family legislation in order to allow altruistic surrogacy.
Under new regulations, couples must have not yet had a child and must show they are unable to conceive, even with IVF. According to the article, three hospitals in Vietnam now offer surrogacy and, at the time of publication, reports that there are over one hundred applications from people considering the option.