Surrogacy in the News

Study: Risk Disclosure and the Recruitment of Oocyte Donors: Are Advertisers Telling the Full Story?

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Risk Disclosure and the Recruitment of Oocyte Donors: Are Advertisers Telling the Full Story?
By Hillary B. Alberta, Roberta M. Berry, and Aaron D. Levine | Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (Neurosciences Summer 2014, pp. 232 – 243)

From the study’s abstract:

This study analyzes 435 oocyte donor recruitment advertisements to assess whether entities recruiting donors of oocytes to be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures include a disclosure of risks associated with the donation process in their advertisements. Such disclosure is required by the self-regulatory guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and by law in California for advertisements placed in the state. We find very low rates of risk disclosure across entity types and regulatory regimes, although risk disclosure is more common in advertisements placed by entities subject to ASRM’s self-regulatory guidelines. Advertisements placed in California are more likely to include risk disclosure, but disclosure rates are still quite low. California-based entities advertising outside the state are more likely to include risk disclosure than non-California entities, suggesting that California’s law may have a modest “halo effect.” Our results suggest that there is a significant ethical and policy problem with the status quo in light of the known and unknown risks of oocyte donation and the importance of risk disclosure to informed consent in the context of oocyte donation.

Please contact us or the journal directly for a copy of the full study.

Article: The Cost of Life

The Cost of Life
By Justine Griffin | The Sarasota Herald Tribune | 2014


In this article, organized into chapters, the author describes her own experience as an egg provider and details the stories of others – including one woman who has so little trouble that she donates five times, and another who develops severe endometriosis symptoms.

Excerpt:

One night last summer at my parent’s dinner table, I told my mom and dad that I wanted to help somebody have a baby. The usual lively suppertime conversation and laughter died down, and my parents lost their appetites. They didn’t want to joke about that time I drove my brother’s four-wheeler into a tree anymore.

I told them I am like the thousands of other women — the daughters, sisters, girlfriends or wives at someone else’s dinner table — who donate their eggs to couples who cannot conceive a child on their own.

Read the full article >

Article: Baby Traffickers Thriving in Nigeria as Recession Hits

Baby Traffickers Thriving in Nigeria as Recession Hits
By Anamesere Igboeroteonwu and Tom Esslemont | Thomson Reuters Foundation | Oct. 12, 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-26-11-amThis investigative piece builds on an earlier Al Jazeera article on Nigeria’s baby farmers.

In conversation with more than ten Nigerian women, the Reuters team documents their experiences being duped into giving up their newborns to strangers – in houses known as “baby factories” – or being offered children whose origins were unknown. It also describes the use of “studs” (men paid to get women pregnant), and the cultural and political context that is making it hard for the Nigerian government to respond.

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Book: Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India

Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India: Outsourcing Life
By Sayantani Dasgupta and Shamita Das Dasgupta | Lanham: Lexington Books | 2014
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From the book description:

From computer support and hotel reservations to laboratory results and radiographic interpretations, it seems everything can be ‘outsourced’ in our globalized world. One would not think so with parenthood, however, especially motherhood, as it is a fundamental activity humans have historically preserved as personal and private. In our modern age, however, the advent and accessibility of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and the ease with which they have traversed global borders, has fundamentally altered the meaning of childbearing and parenting.

In the twenty-first century, parenthood is no longer achieved only through gestation, adoption, or traditional surrogacy, but also via assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), where science and technology play lead roles. Furthermore, in a globalized world economy, where the movement and transfer of people and commodities are increasing to serve the interests of capitalism, gamete donation and surrogate birth can traverse innumerable geographic, socio-economic, racialized, and political borderlands. Thus, reproduction itself can be outsourced.

This edited volume explores one specific aspect of the new assisted reproductive technologies: gestational surrogacy and how its practice is changing the traditional concept of parenthood across the globe. The phenomenon of transnational surrogacy has given rise to a thriving international industry where money is being ‘legally’ exchanged for babies and ‘reproductive labor’ has taken on a lucrative commercial tone. Yet, law, research, and activism are barely aware of this experience and are still playing catch-up with rapidly changing on-the-ground realities. This interdisciplinary collection of essays assuages the dearth of knowledge and addresses significant issues in transnational commercial gestational surrogacy as it takes shape in a peculiar relation between the West (primarily the United States) and India.

More information >

Report: The Gestational Surrogacy Report: IVF by the Numbers

The Gestational Surrogacy Report: IVF by the Numbers
By David Sable | Forbes | April 28, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-51-06-amPublished in the first quarter of 2016, this report tracks clinics providing surrogacy services in the United States (208), as well as the number of surrogacy cases in each clinic. It records approximately 900 cycles of IVF using gestational surrogacy in 2014. The data is approximate – and the report explains why – and will have changed since the date of publication. However, it is still a useful resource for anyone looking for a list of clinics across the country.

View the full list > 

Study: Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational Surrogacy
By Peter R. Brinsden | Human Reproduction Update (Vol. 9, No.5, 2003, pp. 483 – 491)

From the study’s abstract:

Gestational surrogacy is a treatment option available to women with certain clearly defined medical problems, usually an absent uterus, to help them have their own genetic children. IVF allows the creation of embryos from the gametes of the commissioning couple and subsequent transfer of these embryos to the uterus of a surrogate host. The indications for treatment include absent uterus, recurrent miscarriage, repeated failure of IVF and certain medical conditions. Treatment by gestational surrogacy is straightforward and follows routine IVF procedures for the commissioning mother, with the transfer of fresh or frozen–thawed embryos to the surrogate host. The results of treatment are good, as would be expected from the transfer of embryos derived from young women and transferred to fit, fertile women who are also young. Clinical pregnancy rates achieved in large series are up to 40% per transfer and series have reported 60% of hosts achieving live births. The majority of ethical or legal problems that have arisen out of surrogacy have been from natural or partial surrogacy arrangements. The experience of gestational surrogacy has been largely complication‐free and early results of the follow‐up of children, commissioning couples and surrogates are reassuring. In conclusion, gestational surrogacy arrangements are carried out in a few European countries and in the USA. The results of treatment are satisfactory and the incidence of major ethical or legal complications has been limited. IVF surrogacy is therefore a successful treatment for a small group of women who would otherwise not be able to have their own genetic children.

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Article: Offshore Babies: The Murky World of Transnational Surrogacy

Offshore Babies: The Murky World of Transnational Surrogacy
By Amel Ahmad | Al Jazeera | Aug. 11, 2014

Excerpt:

al jazeera logoThe case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning their child with his Thai surrogate mother after discovering he had Down syndrome — and taking home his healthy twin — has turned global attention to the murky underworld of international surrogacy.

Such cases have raised ethical and legal dilemmas, which experts say are the inevitable consequences of an unregulated multibillion-dollar industry dependent on impoverished women in developing countries providing a “product” — a child — so desperately wanted by would-be parents in wealthier nations.

In Baby Gammy’s case, which made international headlines this month, the boy’s Australian parents are claiming that the Thai surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, refused to release the child into their custody and that they lacked the legal right to force her to do so.

This article provides a global overview of laws related to international commercial surrogacy, with a focus on Thailand. It delves into issues specific to the rights of children – such as citizenship and legal parentage – and links to the work being done by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, an intergovernmental organization, on the legal challenges posed by the practice.

Read the full article >

Read a report, Global Surrogacy Practices, published by Marcy Darnovsky and Diane Beeson, summarizing discussions on global surrogacy at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy, The Hague, August 2014.

Article: Surrogacy Boom in Mexico Brings Tales of Missing Money and Stolen Eggs

Surrogacy Boom in Mexico Brings Tales of Missing Money and Stolen Eggs
By Jo Tuckman | The Guardian | Sept. 25, 2014

Excerpt:

the guardian Five days after her caesarean section, Nancy boarded a night bus in the southern Mexican city of Villahermosa and made the 10-hour journey back to her home in the capital. Instead of a baby, she nursed a wad of bills buried in a blue handbag she never let out of her sight.

The cash was the final instalment of her 150,000-peso (£7,000) fee to be a surrogate mother for a gay couple from San Francisco. After a traumatic year that included being all but abandoned by the agency supposedly looking after her, and being falsely accused of demanding additional cash to hand over the baby, Nancy was not so sure it had been worth it. “I just wanted to get my money, go home, rest and forget about it all,” said the 24-year-old, sitting in her tiny apartment in a poor barrio of Mexico City. “And now the money is all gone.”

Nancy’s story says much about the southern Mexican state of Tabasco’s emergence as the world’s most dynamic new centre of international surrogacy, fuelled by the tightening of restrictions in other countries such as India and Thailand.

This article follows gestational mothers and intended parents in Mexico, providing important insights into their lives, the contexts that frame their decisions, and their experiences within surrogacy arrangements and after. In light of closer scrutiny and tighter regulation, it also reveals the chameleon-like nature of the clinics and agencies in between. Mexico Surrogacy, one featured agency, for example, is reportedly set up like a charity that receives “donations” from intended parents which is then passed on to gestational mothers in the form of “aid.”

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Article: A Brief History of Donor Conception

A Brief History of Donor Conception
by Wendy Kramer | The Huffington Post | May 10, 2016

In a timeline stretching from the year 1322 up through the late 1980s, Wendy Kramer, co-founder and director of the Donor Sibling Registry, highlights the development and use of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) around the world.

View the full timeline >

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The Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) was founded in 2000 to assist individuals 
conceived as a result of sperm, egg or embryo donation that are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. DSR advocates for the right to honesty and transparency for donor children, and for social acceptance, legal rights and valuing the diversity of all families. For more information, visit the website.

 

Study: The Incidence of Both Serious and Minor Complications in Young Women Undergoing Oocyte Donation

Fertility and Sterility Journal

The Incidence of Both Serious and Minor Complications in Young Women Undergoing Oocyte Donation
By Kara N. Maxwell, M.D., Ph.D., Ina N. Cholst, M.D., and Zev Rosenwaks, M.D. | Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 90, No. 6, December 2008, pp. 2165 – 2171)

From the study’s abstract:

This study provides information on the incidence of serious complications experienced by oocyte donors after controlled ovarian hyperstimulation and oocyte retrieval. It provides evidence that with careful monitoring, and when a liberal cancellation policy is followed, oocyte donors experience lower rates of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, compared with infertile women undergoing IVF. Furthermore, the study provides the first set of data on the rate of symptomatic minor complications experienced by oocyte donors. This information will help clinicians administer appropriate informed consent to the young women who present themselves as potential oocyte donors.

Read the full study >