Over the last week or so I have been reading the flurry of articles reporting on baby Gammy and waiting for the media flurry to settle. It does not seem to be settling, instead the stories of surrogacy in Thailand are becoming increasingly more horrifying by the day. First we learnt that an Australian couple had abandoned one of their twins because he was born with Down’s syndrome, but the couple in question reportedly claimed not to know that they had a son, then we learnt that the father is a child sex offender. Could it get any worse? Finally, the couple spoke out publicly in an interview on 60 minutes. I think for many, this interview raised more concerns for the little girl in the couple’s care. And then, there is the story of the 24 year old Japanese business man who has fathered more than a dozen babies through different surrogacy clinics in Thailand. The knee jerk reaction to these extreme and disturbing stories is that commercial surrogacy should be banned. But would this help? I believe banning commercial surrogacy overseas will not stop IPs from taking this route. It is, after all, their last option in what is often a long journey into parenthood. During the course of my research I found that most of the IPs I spoke with were willing to pursue surrogacy at all costs, and despite changes to the law in NSW (effective in 2011) extending the ban on commercial surrogacy to overseas. What we need here is regulation, regulation, regulation. Should I say it again? Regulation. We need to offer IPs counselling, and ensure that surrogates are also receiving counselling. We need to ensure that the clinics and other go-betweens are following ethical guidelines. I could go on and on. But the point is, banning surrogacy, or commercial surrogacy, will push these arrangements underground. Regulation will enable greater visibility, appropriate support for all those involved, and decrease the likelihood of such extreme cases occurring.
Tag Archives: surrogate
Check out this image of the planned one stop shop Doctor Patel of Akshanka has planned! It looks like a design inspired by neurons. You can read the article here if you are interested in a bit of sensational reporting 😉 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2439977/The-baby-factory-In-huge-clinic-India-hundreds-women-paid-5-000-Western-couples-babies.html
“I have made something so much bigger than anything I could make in the factory” Indrani, Gestational carrier
Dr Sharmila Rudrappa’s recent article in ASA’s journal Contexts is based on interviews with women who previously worked as gestational carriers in Bangalore, India. It is well written and worth the read as Rudrappa has managed to cut through the academic jargon and cover many of the relevant issues in a relatively small space. Every surrogacy/infertility centre in India is different and the background of the women working as surrogates differs from one to the next. My findings, like Rudrappa’s, indicated that surrogate workers were of the working classes and that they were happy to work as surrogates. However, where most of the surrogates I spoke with had different work histories ranging from domestic workers to pharmacy assistants the women in Rudrappa’s study had almost all been working in garment factories. Like Pande, Rudrappa views surrogacy work as an extension of factory work. Unlike the exhausting and dehumanising impact of factory work and “given their employment options and their relative dispossession, they believed that Bangalore’s reproduction industry afforded them greater control over their emotional, financial, and sexual lives. In comparison to garment work, surrogacy was easy”(Rudrappa, Sociologist).
The Gujurat National Law University is organizing a ‘National Conference on Surrogacy: Issues and Challenges’. The conference was originally scheduled for the 17th of September but has been moved to the 9th of October.
The conference aims at:
“Recognising the need to discuss various issues clouding the concept of surrogacy which is a contemporary practice, especially in India, the conference hopes to address the issues and challenges surrounding Surrogacy. The Conference will see the convergence of Medical and Legal scholars and will provide a platform to all stakeholders to deliberate the issues in a comprehensive manner, stated a press release.”
You can have a look at the details here.
This will be an interesting conference in light of the upcoming ARTS bill here in India. More discussion and research is needed and I am very excited about attending. I will post afterwards and let you all know how it went and some of the main issues discussed.
I was surprised to find children’s book explaining surrogacy recently and just found quite a few more. I think it is great that these resources are out there! Here is a list of what I have come across so far, I will add any more I find in future:
Many focus on the children of a gestational carrier to help explain that their mum is carrying a baby for another family:
This newest children’s book is authored and illustrated by Sofia Prezani who had her son through a surrogacy arrangement in the UK.
The kangaroo Pounch: A story about gestational surrogacy for children. Author Sarah Phillips, Illustrator Lauria A. Faust. Aimed at 2-8 year olds
Why Ii’m So Special: A book about surrogacy. Author
Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow. Sharon LaMothe
And the Hope And Wil series takes on the perspective of the intended parents:
Hope And Wil have a baby: the gift of surrogacy. Author Irene Celcer, Iillustrator Horatio Gatto Ages 3-7
Children conceived with the help of an egg donor:
Mummy was Your Tummy This Big? Author and Illustrator Carolina Nadel
Pheobe’s Family. A Story about egg donation. Author Linda Stamm. Illustrator Joan Clipp. ages 5-10
One More Giraffe. Author Kim Noble. Illustrator Stephanie Gibson
For children with same-sex parents:
And Tango Makes Three. Author Justin Richardson. Illustrator Peter Parnell. Preschool to grade three. This book looks wonderful, it is based on a true story of two male penguins in a zoo who spend all their time together. When all the other couples were caring for their eggs Roy and Silo find a rock to look after. The zoo keeper gives them an abandoned egg to care for and the two penguins hatch a baby girl penguin and make wonderful fathers. Love it.
Daddy, Papa, and Me. Author Leslea Newman. Illustrator Carol Thomson
Mommy, Mama and Me. Author Leslea Newman. Illustrator Carol Thompson
From what I can find there do not seem to be many children’s books from the intended parent perspective to read to children. A gap in the market! Can anyone else add to this list?