Estudio: Children Born Through Reproductive Donation: A Longitudinal Study of Psychological Adjustment (2013)


Parenting and children’s adjustment were examined in 30 surrogacy families, 31 egg donation families, 35 donor insemination families, and 53 natural conception families.


Parenting was assessed at age 3 by a standardized interview designed to assess quality of parenting and by questionnaire measures of anxiety, depression and marital quality. Children’s adjustment was assessed at ages 3, 7 and 10 using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Although children born through reproductive donation obtained SDQ scores within the normal range, surrogacy children showed higher levels of adjustment difficulties at age 7 than children conceived by gamete donation. Mothers who had kept their child’s origins secret showed elevated levels of distress. However, maternal distress had a more negative impact on children who were aware of their origins.

The absence of a gestational connection to the mother may be more problematic for children than the absence of a genetic link.

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How Commercial Surrogacy Became a Massive International Business

In 2015, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Mexico—nearly all the major markets for commercial surrogacy—banned the practice for foreigners. But the global demand isn’t going anywhere.

Outsourcing Embryos, investigates the multi-billion dollar industry of gestational surrogacy in India.

Watch the episode: Outsourcing Embryos

When Rhonda and Gerry Wile had a baby boy in 2009, they did it the new old-fashioned way: with a surrogate. Fertility complications had left the couple in Arizona with few options other than to seek an egg donor and a surrogate, but they quickly learned they were priced out of the market in America, where surrogacy fees can easily soar beyond $100,000 in the seven states where it’s legal. So they did what many western couples do: They went to India.

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Estudio: Babies without Borders: Human Rights, Human Dignity and the Regulation of International Commercial Surrogacy (2012)

Yasmine Ergas
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University

In recent decades, a robust international market in commercial reproductive surrogacy has emerged. But, as German citizens Jan Balaz and Susan Lohle discovered when they struggled to engineer the last-minute diplomatic compromise that saved their commissioned twins from becoming wards of the Indian state, conflicts among legal frameworks have placed the children born at risk of being “marooned, stateless and parentless.” States have tried to address the individual dramas through ad hoc solutions – issuing emergency entry documents for children caught at borders or compelling administrative authorities to recognize birth certificates related to surrogacy arrangements that run counter to domestic public policies. The inadequacy of such approaches has become increasingly evident. As a result, states have developed national legislation and, together with international institutions and civil society networks, begun to seek international agreements. Indeed, international coordination represents the only viable solution to the individual dramas and diplomatic crises that have characterized the market in international commercial surrogacy. But will that be possible? This article explores whether and to what extent, a coordinated approach is likely to be found, and the role and limits of international law.

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Estudio: El régimen de subrogación en los Estados miembros de la UE (2013)

Este estudio, realizado en 2013 a petición de la Comisión de Asuntos Jurídicos del Parlamento Eurpeo, ofrece una visión preliminar de la amplia gama de cuestiones políticas relativas a la subrogación como una práctica a nivel nacional, europeo y mundial. Analiza detenidamente los enfoques jurídicos nacionales relacionados con la subrogación. También analiza el Derecho de la Unión Europea existente y la legislación de la Convención Europea de Derechos Humanos para determinar cuáles son las obligaciones y posibilidades que rodean a la subrogación nacional y transnacional. El estudio concluye que es imposible indicar una tendencia legal en particular a través de la UE, aunque todos los Estados miembros parecen estar de acuerdo en la necesidad del menor de disponer de unos padres legales y un estatus civil claramente definidos.

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Estudio: Surrogate Motherhood: A violation of the human rights (2012)


This Report has been elaborated as an answer to current attempts to obtain the legalization or normalization of the practice of surrogacy motherhood through the drafting of a Recommendation on the rights and legal status of children and parental responsibilities, and through the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The commodification of the human body has been drawn into sharp focus over the last several years as issues such as human trafficking for organs and sexual servitude have gained international attention. Unfortunately, another form of trafficking has evaded the same level of attention and outrage of the international community: surrogacy motherhood. Surrogacy motherhood is a commodification of the human person: the child becomes the mere object of a convention, while the surrogate mother is used as an incubator. Such commodification in itself violates the dignity of both the surrogate mother and the child.

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Estudio: An ethnomethodological approach to examine exploitation in the context of capacity, trust and experience of commercial surrogacy in India (2013)

By Sheela Saravanan.

The socio-ethical concerns regarding exploitation in commercial surrogacy are premised on asymmetric vulnerability and the commercialization of women’s reproductive capacity to suit individualistic motives. In examining the exploitation argument, this article reviews the social contract theory that describes an individual as an ‘economic man’ with moral and/or political motivations to satisfy individual desires. This study considers the critique by feminists, who argue that patriarchal and medical control prevails in the surrogacy contracts. It also explores the exploitative dynamics amongst actors in the light of Baier’s conceptualization of trust and human relationship, within which both justice and exploitation thrive, and Foucault’s concept of bio-power. Drawing on these concepts, this paper aims to investigate the manifestations of exploitation in commercial surrogacy in the context of trust, power and experiences of actors, using a case study of one clinic in India. The actors’ experiences are evaluated at different stages of the surrogacy process: recruitment, medical procedures, living in the surrogate home, bonding with the child and amongst actors, financial dealings, relinquishment and post-relinquishment.

This study applies ethnomethodology to identify phenomena as perceived by the actors in a situation, giving importance to their interpretations of the rules that make collective activity possible. The methods include semi-structured interviews, discussions, participant observation and explanation of the phenomena from the actors’ perspectives. Between August 2009 and April 2010, 13 surrogate mothers (SMs), 4 intended parents (IPs) and 2 medical practitioners (MPs) from one clinic in Western India were interviewed.

This study reveals that asymmetries of capacity amongst the MPs, SMs, IPs and surrogate agents (SAs) lead to a network of trust and designation of powers through rules, bringing out the relevance of Baier’s conceptualization of asymmetric vulnerability, trust and potential exploitation in human relationships. The IPs are exploited, especially in monetary terms. The SMs are relatively the most exploited, given their vulnerability. Their remuneration through surrogacy is significant for them, and their acquired knowledge as ex-surrogates is used for their own benefit and for exploiting others. Foucault’s conceptualization of power is hence relevant, since the ex-SMs re-invest the power of their exploitative experience in exploiting others.

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Outsourcing pregnancy: a visit to India’s surrogacy clinics

Julie Bindel, a strident opponent of surrogacy, travelled to India to find out more about a practice worth an estimated £690m a year on the subcontinen.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, my driver is looking for one of the city’s IVF clinics. We turn on to a busy main road and I spot a sign on a crumbling wall reading “test tube babies”.

I climb the filthy stairwell and enter a small, dark reception area. In the adjoining room I spot a hospital stretcher and shelves full of metal petri dishes, forceps and hypodermic needles. Dr Rana* leads me into a windowless office.

Before we even sit down, he is telling me about a change in India’s surrogacy policy. In October last year, the government told fertility clinics to stop all surrogate embryo transfers to foreigners.

The move follows a proposed change in the law that would limit surrogacy to Indian couples, or where at least one of the commissioning parents has an Indian passport and residency. Having established that neither I nor the woman posing as my husband’s sister own an Indian passport, Rana advises me to go to Thailand. It is selfish to have a surrogate baby Julie Bindel.
“It costs twice the price [that it does] here,” says Rana, “but they will even do sex selection, so many people will go from India.” Having heard many stories about how commonplace outsourcing pregnancy and reproduction is, I am in India to investigate the country’s “rent-a-womb” industry.

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