The Legal and Ethical Complexities of Sperm and Egg Donation
By Nightlife | March 27, 2017
Listen to medical research scientist, Damian Adams and Associate Professor in Health Law, Dr. Sonia Allen discuss challenges around sperm and egg donation, including issues related to the rights of parents, donors, and children.
Dr. Sonia Allen consults with the South Australian government on ARTs, sperm and egg donation. A report on her review of the South Australian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 is available to read.
Update: In November 2017, the South Australian government tabled their response to the review conducted by Dr. Allan from 2015-2017. The Hon. Peter Malinauskas, Minister for Health, thanked Dr. Allan, stating the government had commissioned her due to her international expertise in the field. He then committed the government to establishing a donor-conception register, making the rights of donor-conceived people “a main priority for South Australia” and committing to implementing changes that “best reflect Dr. Allan’s recommendations.” Victoria enacted Dr. Allan’s model for access to information by donor-conceived people into law in March 2017 – the first of its kind in the world – and now South Australia has made the commitment to follow.
Russia is considering a ban on surrogacy until a review of the existing law is complete. This article briefly explains the current status of the practice and the direction of future legislation – both of which are heavily influenced by the Russian Orthodox Church, a longstanding voice against all forms of surrogacy and public in its opinion of the practice as a threat to traditional marriage, childbearing, and family formation.
A new study has been published on risks to children conceived via IVF. According to the researchers at King’s College London and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, fears of commonly assumed risks are “largely unfounded” and the long-term health effects of IVF are still relatively unknown.
A summary of the study discusses the role of epigenetics in the development of health problems in twins conceived naturally and via IVF. While epigenetic influence has been identified in conditions such as cancer and mental illness, the researchers observe no such differences in children conceived by IVF. They conclude on a reassuring note, for people who have used and have children via IVF, along with a call for more studies to confirm whether smaller epigenetic changes they observed during the study remain over time.
Featuring contributions from over thirty activists and scholars from a range of countries and disciplines, this collection offers the first genuinely international study of transnational surrogacy. Its innovative bottom-up approach, rooted in feminist perspectives, gives due prominence to the voices of those most affected by the global surrogacy chain, namely the surrogate mothers, donors, prospective parents and the children themselves. Through case studies ranging from Israel to Mexico, the book outlines the forces that are driving the growth of transnational surrogacy, as well as its implications for feminism, human rights, motherhood and masculinity.
Our Bodies Ourselves is a contributor to the anthology, along with an impressive line up of experts in the field. (Read the table of contents.)
In a chapter titled “Frequently Unasked Questions: Understanding and Responding to Gaps in Public Knowledge of International Surrogacy Practices Worldwide,” Our Bodies Ourselves shares findings from an analysis of publicly-accessible information on international commercial surrogacy. This includes a random survey of news media articles and the websites of select international agents. The chapter also introduces readers to this information clearinghouse on the practice.
The Our Bodies Ourselves blog recently posted an article, authored by staff member Ayesha Chatterjee, on the contribution made by “Babies for Sale?” to literature on international commercial surrogacy.
For a special 40 percent discount, buy the book on the Zed website using the code “BABIESZED.” This offer is time limited and will end May 31, 2017.
I propose that we legalize altruistic gestational surrogacy — that is, procedures involving a third-party surrogate mother with no biological relation to the child, and who receives no financial compensation for taking on the role. To protect the interests of the surrogate mother, the intended parents, and the surrogate child, the government should establish clear rules specifying the qualifications for both the surrogate mother and intended parents, as well as the conditions for surrogacy, the restrictions on reimbursement, the privacy of those involved, and the child’s right to know of that it was born from the arrangement.
Citing laws that are, in the author’s opinion, “simply not up to the task of solving the current complex tangle of legal and regulatory problems related to surrogacy,” this article chronicles issues facing surrogacy in China. It includes: the rampant use of non-ARTs – not covered by regulation – in surrogacy arrangements; judicial bias towards genetic parentage; precedents set by divorce cases that have not always granted custody to the more “capable” parent; and the rise of entities and a “black market” willing to violate law.
Legalizing altruistic surrogacy is the proposed fix by Ding Chunyan, an associate professor at the Law School of Hong Kong City University, along with the creation of a neutral oversight body. Success, in her opinion, is also pinned on her proposal to ban commercial surrogacy.
Few people might be aware of Lupron’s use to treat central precocious puberty (PP) or growth issues in young children. Kaiser Health News and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting track the effects of the drug on adults exposed to it as children, to treat PP. The article follows Sharissa Derricott, now 30 years and living in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and others who have suffered a laundry list of physical and emotional problems as a result.