Thai police recently announced that they had rescued 14 Vietnamese women, aged 19 to 26, from a criminal “baby breeding” ring.
On her show, Oprah presented global surrogacy as a promising practice, spotlighting a US family that obtained their baby through medical tourism in India. But she left out the social complexities involved.
As global surrogacy grows largely unregulated, the effects of celebrity surrogacy arrangements may have deeply adverse consequences for poor women worldwide.
If you’ve read much science-fiction, you’re probably familiar with the idea that, at some scary point in the future, various aspects of mothering will be separated, enabling wealthy women to farm out component tasks to less-privileged women. That day is here.
The legal and bioethical considerations of surrogacy are complex. The laws from state to state vary, as they do from country to country and there is hardly unity on surrogacy as a feminist or reproductive justice issue, either.
Global surrogacy is a growing “industry.” It has grave potential for human rights abuses, including coercion and trafficking in women for forced reproduction, among others. Yet there are no international standards limiting this practice nor enough research on the implications of surrogacy in countries where it is prevalent. We must act now to investigate and regulate this industry before it is too late.
Gestational surrogacy, the latest trend in reproductive tourism, a sub-industry of medical tourism, has increased exponentially over the last several years as Americans, Europeans and others seek out surrogacy services abroad. But neither the legal nor the ethical implications of these arrangements has been well-considered.
As international adoption has become more difficult, the global surrogacy industry has begun to surge to meet the fertility demands of individuals and couples seeking to secure healthy infants.
In her new book, Gay Fatherhood: Narratives of Family and Citizenship in America, Ellen Lewin investigates the nuances of gay adoption and describes the many challenges gay men face—from the “family values” Right as much as from the “radical queer” Left—as they actively seek to become parents.
Debates on surrogacy in India are bound to be endless. But who is to decide which exploitation is more acceptable? A woman renting her womb or working low-paying jobs in inhuman conditions?