Surrogacy in the News

Article: Inconvenient Truths About Commercial Surrogacy

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.”

Read the full article >

Article: Wrong Steps: The First One from Three

Wrong Steps: The First One from Three
By Pete Shanks | Deccan Chronicle | Oct. 2, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-10-42-35-amNews 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.

Report: Global Surrogacy Practices

Global Surrogacy Practices
By Marcy Darnovsky and Diane Beeson | ISS Working Paper Series / General Series Vol. 601

This report summarizes discussions of participants in Thematic Area 5 (Global Surrogacy Practices) of the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy held in August 2014. The full text is available for download.

From the press release:

We are pleased to announce the publication of Global Surrogacy Practices, co-authored by CGS Executive Director Marcy Darnovsky and CGS Fellow Diane Beeson. The 54-page report is based on presentations and discussions at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, a landmark conference that brought together nearly a hundred scholars, women’s health and human rights advocates and policymakers from 27 countries at the International Institute of Social Studies this past summer.

The Forum took place in the wake of international headlines about disturbing cross-border surrogacy incidents, including one case in which an Australian couple abandoned their baby son, who has Down syndrome, with his Thai surrogate mother.

“The Forum provided an unprecedented opportunity for advocates and scholars working on intercountry adoption and on intercountry surrogacy to jointly consider the many concerns that have emerged in connection with these practices,” said CGS Executive Director and report co-author Marcy Darnovsky.

“The conversations centered on ways to improve international standards around the evolving practices of cross-border adoption and surrogacy, in which children typically move from poorer to wealthier countries,” said Kristen Cheney, Forum organizer and Senior Lecturer in Children & Youth Studies at International Institute of Social Studies.

Read the full report >

Diane Beeson is co-founder and associate director of the Alliance for Humane Biotechnology. Marcy Darnovsky is executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society.

Article: Ban on Foreign Nationals for Surrogacy a Blow

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 >

Additional reading:

Article: A Call for Protecting the Health of Women Who Donate Their Eggs

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

CommonHealthThis 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.

Article: Surrogacy May Soon Be Confined to Kith and Kin

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 >

Article: After Nepal, Indian Surrogacy Clinics Move to Cambodia

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 >

Article: Surrogacy Comes to Vietnam

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.

Article: The Billion Dollar Babies

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaperThe Billion Dollar Babies
By Vandy Muong and Will Jackson | The Phnom Penh Post | Jan. 2, 2016

With commercial surrogacy banned in India, Nepal, and Thailand, this article takes a closer look at Cambodia as the next destination. It explores the legal and ethical status of the practice, concluding on a message of “buyer beware” as people considering surrogacy are warned about the risks of not being able to take children home or being charged with human trafficking.

Read the full article >

Article: Shifting Surrogacy Laws Give Birth to Uncertainty

Shifting Surrogacy Laws Give Birth to Uncertainty
By Brad Bertrand | Nikkei Asian Review | Dec. 26, 2015

Excerpt:

Whether Malaysia passes a ban on surrogacy or not, would-be parents are likely to find ways to arrange births somewhere in Asia as the trade moves on.

After legal crackdowns in Thailand and Nepal, this article follows the regional growth of surrogacy in Malaysia and Cambodia, both of which “lack comprehensive legal frameworks to regulate” the practice. With a focus on Malaysia, the author explores the country’s attempts at legislation, including a draft federal law on assisted reproductive technologies.

Read the full article >