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.
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.
In recent weeks, the private reproductive decisions of Elton John and Sofia Vergara have spilled over into prime time news cycles — albeit by the celebrities themselves. Elton John called for a boycott of all Dolce and Gabbana merchandise after the designers regrettably referred to babies born through in vitro fertilization as “synthetic” children. The swift backlash caused the designers to issue statements of clarification and apology. Elton John’s twitter followers accused D&G of being woefully out of touch — not only with contemporary fashion, but also baby-making. In part, they are right.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tens of thousands of children are born each year in the United States through assisted reproductive technologies (ART). These technologies provide a stunning candy store of options: a spectrum so vast in array, scope, and breadth as to make heads spin: in vitro fertilization, ova selling, cryopreservation of ova, womb renting, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, embryo transfer, assisted hatching, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) of ova, embryo grading, and more. However, these technologies are not just for celebrities.
Michele Goodwin is a law professor at the UC Irvine School of Law. She is also the director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy and author of “Baby Markets: Money and The New Politics of Creating Families.”
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.
The 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 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.
This article provides a global overview on laws related to international commercial surrogacy, highlighting the transnational mobility of the practice as regulation around it changes. It might require a subscription or free sign up to The Wall Street Journal.
In a hospital room on the Greek island of Crete with views of a sapphire sea lapping at ancient fortress walls, a Bulgarian woman plans to deliver a baby whose biological mother is an anonymous European egg donor, whose father is Italian, and whose birth is being orchestrated from Los Angeles.
She won’t be keeping the child. The parents-to-be—an infertile Italian woman and her husband (who provided the sperm)—will take custody of the baby this summer, on the day of birth. […]
The man bringing together this disparate group is Rudy Rupak, chief executive of PlanetHospital.com LLC, a California company that searches the globe to find the components for its business line. The business, in this case, is creating babies.
The booming business in international surrogacy, whereby Westerners have begun hiring poor women in developing countries to carry their babies, has been the subject of plenty of media buzzing over the past few years. Much of the coverage regards the practice as a win-win for surrogates and those who hire them; couples receive the baby they have always wanted while surrogates from impoverished areas overseas earn more in one gestation than they would in many years of ordinary work. Heartening stories recount how infertile people, as well lesbian and gay couples who want to have children (and who often suffer the brunt of discriminatory adoption policies), have formed families by finding affordable surrogates abroad. The Oprah Winfrey Show has even portrayed the practice as a glowing example of “women helping women” across borders, celebrating the arrangements as a “confirmation of how close our countries can really be.”
But make no mistake: This is first and foremost a business. And the product this business sells—third-party pregnancy—is now being offered with all sorts of customizable options, guarantees, and legal protections for clients (aka would-be parents).
Hardtalk with Dr. Nayna Patel
By Hardtalk | BBC | 2013
Listen to Stephen Sackur in conversation with Dr. Nayna Patel, the medical director of Akanksha Hospital in the Indian state of Gujarat.
During the interview, the host of BBC Hardtalk addresses many of the concerns that have been documented by researchers and activists working on international commercial surrogacy, from those related to unfair payments and payment schedules for gestational mothers to unsound medical practices that characterize many arrangements.
Sama is a Delhi-based organization working on issues of women’s health and human rights. A key focus is assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) and international commercial surrogacy.
Sama documents and makes visible the experiences of gestational mothers and the risks they face in international commercial surrogacy arrangements. The organization examines issues within the framework of gender, class, caste, religion, ethnicity, and other power dynamics within South Asian society and between South Asia and other countries/regions. Visit Sama’s website for more information.