Israel Evacuates Surrogate Babies From Nepal but Leaves the Mothers Behind
By Debra Kamin | Time | April 28, 2015
This article follows the surrogacy relationship between Israel and Nepal, with a focus on Nepal after the 2015 earthquake. It describes the Israeli government’s evacuation of (Israeli) intended parents and their children, as well as resulting international criticism at leaving behind the gestational mothers that gave birth to the newborns.
The article also questions current law in Israel, which only allows heterosexual couples to use surrogacy in the country.
Read the full article >
For more, listen to “Birthstory,” a podcast about a gay couple from Israel that were in Nepal to pick up their surrogacy-delivered children when the earthquake hit.
Politics of the Womb: The Perils of IVF, Surrogacy and Modified Babies
By Pinki Virani | Penguin | 2016
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From the book description:
How safe is aggressive Ivf, invasive Icsi, exploitative ovarian hyper-stimulation and commercial surrogacy? Politics of the Womb proves that there can be broken babies and breaking mothers; it rips away the romanticism around uterus transplants, warns of genetic theft and designer babies , and points to the human element being sacrificed, as artificial reproduction uses, reuses and recycles the woman. Pinki Virani combines investigation with analysis to question those who lead the worldwide onslaught on the woman s womb in the name of babies, and squarely confronts what has become the business of baby-making by a chain of suppliers that manufactures on demand.
Read reviews of the book by Abantika Ghosh at The Indian Express,
From the review:
The book is infused with dollops of feminism, some rudimentary anatomy, physiology and a lot of search results for IVF research posing as factual analysis of the baby-making industry, when the conclusions the book arrives at appear to have been decided way before the first line was typed.
By Molly Webster | Radiolab, WNYC Studios | Nov. 22, 2015
Birthstory is a collaboration with the radio show and podcast Israel Story, It traces the journey of a gay couple from Israel that travel to Nepal to pick up their surrogacy-delivered children. While there, Nepal is hit by a devastating earthquake, resulting in the controversial decision by the Israeli government to evacuate its citizens – and their children – but leave behind the gestational mothers. The story follows the couple home, their efforts to contact the (two) gestational mothers, and their reactions on hearing how the women have been treated by the agency in between.
Listen to the full podcast >
Should Young Women Sell Their Eggs?
By Donna De La Cruz | The New York Times | Oct. 20, 2016
Part of a series to help readers “navigate life’s opportunities and challenges,” this article starts with a reference to Justin Griffin and her experience as an egg provider. It provides information on the health risks and links to a number of other useful resources – including the New York State Department of Health website, which covers the egg retrieval process and outcomes in detail, and community based group We Are Egg Donors, which provides spaces for egg providers to connect and act around their experiences.
Read the full article >
An additional resource is the Dartmouth, N.H.-based Infertility Family Research Registry. This is a voluntary registry set up to understand the health and well being of individuals and families created by ARTs – and all egg providers are invited to participate.
Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self
by Kajsa Ekis Ekman | Spinifex Press, 2014
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From the publisher:
Grounded in the reality of the violence and abuse inherent in prostitution—and reeling from the death of a friend to prostitution in Spain—Kajsa Ekis Ekman exposes the many lies in the ‘sex work’ scenario. Trade unions aren’t trade unions. Groups for prostituted women are simultaneously groups for brothel owners. And prostitution is always presented from a woman’s point of view. The men who buy sex are left out.
Drawing on Marxist and feminist analyses, Ekis Ekman argues that the Self must be split from the body to make it possible to sell your body without selling yourself. The body becomes sex. Sex becomes a service. The story of the sex worker says: the Split Self is not only possible, it is the ideal.
Turning to the practice of surrogate motherhood, Kajsa Ekis Ekman identifies the same components: that the woman is neither connected to her own body nor to the child she grows in her body and gives birth to. Surrogacy becomes an extended form of prostitution. In this capitalist creation story, the parent is the one who pays. The product sold is not sex but a baby. Ekis Ekman asks: why should this not be called child trafficking?
This brilliant exposé is written with a razor-sharp intellect and disarming wit and will make us look at prostitution and surrogacy and the parallels between them in a new way.
The Contemporary Genetic Landscape
Marsha Darling | Tarrytown Meetings | 2010
In a very concrete way, women’s bodies are the gateway to the manipulation of human genes.
In this talk, Marsha Darling, director of the Center for African, Black, and Caribbean Studies at Adelphi University, summarizes some of the core issues and challenges raised by new genetic and reproductive biotechnologies, including their use in surrogacy and paid egg donation.
The Tarrytown Meetings were convened in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to “address challenges raised by profoundly consequential human biotechnologies and related emerging technologies.” Discussion topics at the meetings included sex selection, trait selection, commercial surrogacy, use of women’s eggs for fertility and research, and gamete donor anonymity. The meetings were organized by the Center for Genetics and Society, and held at the Tarrytown House Estate and Conference Center in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Birthing a Market: Commercial Surrogacy in India
By Sama – Resource Group for Women and Health | India | 2012
Excerpt from the Introduction:
There is an urgent need to initiate processes for a critical understanding of commercial surrogacy, that has assumed the proportion of a transnational industry towards building a collective, feminist response to it. This requires a strengthening of linkages between academia and activism that builds a perspective on the interaction of market, technology, patriarchy, and hetero-normativity as seen in this practice.
Further, the Draft ART Bill – 2010, prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), necessitates a parallel process of mobilizing a wider response, particularly because this proposed legislation will be the first of its kind in South Asia, and is a step forward in checking the untrammeled commercialization of ARTs. In its current form, the Bill is hugely lacking in addressing this as well as the disadvantaged position of the surrogate.
Being a part of debates on the regulation of ARTs, which currently flourish in India in the absence of any state regulation, Sama has often been confronted with issues concerning citizenship, surrogates’ payments, and the contract between the surrogate and the commissioning parents.
Given this, Sama initiated the present research to gain insights into the lives of those at the heart of these issues—the surrogates—in order to make visible, and to better understand their perspectives, subjective experiences, and lives. The study scrutinizes the existing practices in the selected sites of research. Foregrounding the surrogate’s position in the arrangement and in the industry, the study examines several complexities regarding the terms of the contract, the multiple institutions and actors involved, their expectations and conditionalities regarding the surrogate pregnancy, medical practices and technological interventions.
Read the full report >
VICE on HBO: Season 3, Episode 4 | 2016
Vice looks at the boom in one of the world’s newest billion-dollar industries: gestational surrogacy. The cost of surrogacy in the US can be over $100,000, leading many prospective parents to look for affordable options in other countries. Gianna Toboni heads to India, where commercial surrogacy is legal, to investigate this growing industry. By exploring some of the country’s 3,000 surrogacy clinics, watching doctors deliver surrogate babies, and following recruiters who find prospective surrogates in the slums, we see the true cost of outsourcing reproduction.
Plus: Read an interview with Vice correspondent Gianna Toboni at New York Magazine >
Mexico Resists Becoming Next Reproductive Tourism “Paradise”
by Isabel Reviejo | Latin American Herald Tribune | April 14, 2016
This piece explores the role of Mexico as “the next niche” for international commercial surrogacy. It describes the scope of current law and legal loopholes, as well as attempts by the state to regulate the practice.
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Gay Couple Win Custody Battle Over Thai Surrogate Mother
By Oliver Holmes | The Guardian | April 26, 2016
This article follows up on a case in Thailand involving a same-sex couple that won a legal battle against the gestational mother who gave birth to their daughter, but refused to sign the paperwork to allow the baby to leave the country when she found out they were gay. It also provides links to articles covering the case of Baby Gammy and a 24-year old Japanese businessman who fathered 16 children with Thai gestational mothers – both of which led to the country’s current ban on the practice.
Read the full article >
For additional background on the case, read more by Oliver Holmes at The Guardian.