As Ukraine transforms into a desirable hub for international commercial surrogacy, concerns are emerging. This article – like others found here – touches on irregularities and poor quality of care at fertility clinics, and focuses on the 30 Spanish intended parents unable to obtain passports from the Spanish Consulate in Kiev for their children amidst fears of the trafficking of minors.
In an update from The Guardian, the government also charged the thirty-three gestational mothers under the same law – they were not charged initially – raising potential questions about the use of regulation related to human trafficking on surrogacy.
These arrests are not the first. After Cambodia announced a ban on commercial surrogacy in 2016 while legislation was being considered, an Australian nurse and two Cambodian assistants were convicted of running an illegal commercial surrogacy clinic in the country. They were later sentenced to one and a half years in prison.
This update from Cambodia covers recent attempts to regulate surrogacy in the country, citing government representatives concerned about the impact of the practice on human trafficking.
With a push towards altruistic surrogacy – and an offer from UN Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith to help the Cambodian government formulate a law – the article also touches on questions about the potential effectiveness and drawbacks of arrangements that are not commercial. It quotes Rodrigo Montero, gender specialist at the UN Development Program, who states that “altruistic surrogacy does not exist, it is a euphemism” and “in countries where ‘altruistic’ surrogacy is allowed we see that large amounts of money are always involved.”
In a saga that started in 2014, one of the richest men in Japan has just been granted custody of children he commissioned from Thai gestational mothers. In its ruling, the central juvenile court “found the father had no history of bad behaviour and would provide for the children’s happiness.”
This case first came to light in the regulatory upheaval following the case of Baby Gammy in Thailand, and resulted in the country’s eventual ban on international commercial surrogacy. It continues to raise questions as, according to Sam Everingham, a director of the Australia-based consultancy Families Through Surrogacy, an example of “an unacceptable abuse of the limited pool of gestational surrogates globally” and, more broadly, the ethics of a practice that does not protect the rights of the women and children involved.
Since the first U.S. infant conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART) was born in 1981, both the use of ART and the number of fertility clinics providing ART services have increased steadily in the United States. ART includes fertility treatments in which eggs or embryos are handled in the laboratory (i.e., in vitro fertilization [IVF] and related procedures). Although the majority of infants conceived through ART are singletons, women who undergo ART procedures are more likely than women who conceive naturally to deliver multiple-birth infants. Multiple births pose substantial risks for both mothers and infants, including obstetric complications, preterm delivery (<37 weeks), and low birthweight (<2,500 g) infants. This report provides state-specific information for the United States (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) on ART procedures performed in 2015 and compares birth outcomes that occurred in 2015 (resulting from ART procedures performed in 2014 and 2015) with outcomes for all infants born in the United States in 2015.
Foreign couples have been coming to this corner of Europe in droves since 2015, when surrogacy hotspots in Asia began closing their industries one-by-one, amid reports of exploitation. Barred from India, Nepal and Thailand, they turned to Ukraine, one of the few places left where surrogacy can still be arranged at a fraction of what it costs in the US.
This article covers the “rise” of Ukraine as a destination for intended parents hoping to form families via surrogacy. It follows Ana, who became a gestational mother at 21 years and, at 24 years, is carrying another pregnancy for Japanese intended parents she will never meet.
It also provides a short overview of the current surrogacy law in Ukraine, the main tenets of which are as follows:
Surrogacy is available to heterosexual, married couples able to prove they cannot carry a baby themselves for medical reasons.
At least one parent must have a genetic link to the baby.
The intended parents are on the Ukrainian birth certificate; the gestational mother has no legal right to claim custody of the child.
First published in 2011, under the same title, this report raises an alarm about the risks of multiple pregnancies in assisted reproduction, resulting from the common practice of transferring multiple embryos. Maternal complications, according to the report, include increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, peripartum haemorrhage, operative delivery, postpartum depression, and heightened symptoms of anxiety and parenting stress. Multiple pregnancy is also associated with a six-fold increase in the risk of preterm birth, which is a leading cause of infant mortality and long-term mental and physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and chronic lung disease.
In the mid-1990s, the international community pronounced prenatal sex selection via abortion an “act of violence against women” and “unethical.” At the same time, new developments in reproductive technology in the United States led to a method of sex selection before conception; its US inventor marketed the practice as “family balancing” and defended it with the rhetoric of freedom of choice. In Gender before Birth, Rajani Bhatia takes on the double standard of how similar practices in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed.
Bhatia’s extensive fieldwork includes interviews with clinicians, scientists, biomedical service providers, and feminist activists, and her resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies. She argues that we are at the beginning of a changing transnational terrain that presents new challenges to theorized inequality in reproduction, demonstrating how the technosciences often get embroiled in colonial gender and racial politics.