Legal in the Mexican state of Tabasco since 1997, international commercial surrogacy is now under fire in the country.
This article tracks changes to the law – restricting Mexican gestational mothers from carrying children for foreigners – with analysis of how the new policy will be implemented. It follows gestational mothers, for whom surrogacy is a vital source of income, in a state with the highest unemployment rate in the country, as well as intended parents locked in legal battle with authorities that are stalling on birth certificates after the new restriction was enforced.
With this development, Mexico is the next (fallen) chip in the global practice of international commercial surrogacy.
This blog is published by a UK-based law firm that specializes in modern family law and has, reportedly, handled many of the UK’s leading cases on surrogacy, assisted reproduction, and LGBT families. It analyzes the rejection of an appeal by a same-sex couple for parental rights and physical custody of their surrogate-delivered child, currently living with the gestational mother in compliance with an earlier court order. It discusses the significance of the case for same-sex intended parents living in the UK and provides suggestions to address “common fears” related to perceptions that surrogacy arrangements frequently involve legal disputes and can result in gestational mothers being granted parental rights.
Another case – the fifth in the UK – recently tested the country’s legal framework around international commercial surrogacy. In November, a court ruled against a gestational mother’s attempt to keep the child, but complicated matters by granting her restricted visitation. While UK courts have historically decided parental disputes based on the best interests of the child, there are calls for more consistency when such disputes emerge. All eyes are on the Law Commission, which is expected to tackle the issue in the near future. Watch this space.
From adoption and assisted reproduction, to gay and straight parents, coupled and single, and multi-parent families, the stories in Modern Families explain how individuals make unconventional families by accessing a broad range of technological, medical and legal choices that expand our definitions of parenting and kinship. Joshua Gamson introduces us to a child with two mothers, made with one mother’s egg and the sperm of a man none of them has ever met; another born in Ethiopia, delivered by his natural grandmother to an orphanage after both his parents died in close succession, and then to the arms of his mother, who is raising him solo.
These tales are deeply personal and political. The process of forming these families involved jumping tremendous hurdles—social conventions, legal and medical institutions—with heightened intention and inventiveness, within and across multiple inequities and privileges. Yet each of these families, however they came to be, shares the same universal joys that all families share.
From the book’s foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University and, formerly, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry:
These family making journeys raise hard questions, but offer no formulaic answers. These are stories of choices made consciously and sometimes uncomfortably to create and combine lives amidst the messy human realities of desire, commerce, science, faith, community and family. This collection is not a roadmap; it is a companion for all those who choose to navigate the world of modern kinship.
In case there were any doubts, this short overview of the regulation in India is a helpful crib sheet on the legal status of commercial surrogacy in the country. Three main conditions included in the bill include:
The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. The surrogate mother has to be a close relative who has been married and has had a child of her own.
No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother. The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.
Central and state governments will appoint appropriate authorities to grant eligibility certificates to the intending couple and the surrogate mother. These authorities will also regulate surrogacy clinics.
This comprehensive article covers international commercial surrogacy laws around the world, with emphasis on and the implications of recent legal changes in India, Thailand, and Nepal. It follows an Australian couple, forbidden from paying gestational mothers in their own country, on a journey that spans Israel (the location of their agency), India (where their gestational mother lives), and Nepal (where she travels for embryo transfer and the birth) — with helpful insights on the effects of such arrangements on the children that are caught in the middle.
Humenuk and Geller spent over three years filming this intimate portrait of a gay couple with two daughters birthed by their close friend. THE GUYS NEXT DOOR explores the struggles and possibilities that creating family brings. It is a timely film that both embraces and transcends gay rights and gay families. In the words of esteemed documentary filmmaker Ross McElwee (Sherman’s March), “with nuance, verve and humor, this film explores the humanity that connects us all.”