LIFEalerts – IVF & Surrogacy

IVF & Surrogacy

UK – Proposals introduce surrogacy contracts

Pre-conception authorization of surrogacy agreements (PASA) is gaining ground internationally and has already been in effect in several countries such as Israel, Greece and South Africa. The main goal of PASA is to ensure that the intending parents automatically become the parents after the child’s birth by doing away with the old Roman law of “the mother is always the legal parent”. It also provides for a signed agreement between surrogate mother and intending parents with an authority who gives permission before conception of the future child. PASA hopes that by regulating and facilitating surrogacy safely & effectively, this would prevent people from travelling abroad where the risk of commodification, exploitation and commercialization is greater. A list of countries who offer surrogacy will also be available.  

Two Dutch Ethicists argue that the PASA proposals in the UK and The Netherlands would not protect women and children against commodification, commercialisation and exploitation especially now since regulation will encourage the process and even make overseas surrogacy transactions more attractive since they won’t fully close it off. The other concern is that children born from Surrogacy will in the future, sue the state for failing to protect their human rights and dignity. Such lawsuits are already taking place in the context of adoption and donor-conception. The decision to regulate comes as advocates for surrogacy claim it happens anyway and it’s here to stay so it’s better to regulate than discourage and prevent. Commercial surrogacy leads to mothers and children being treated as instruments to fulfil the wishes of others and are seen as commodities to be traded on the ‘reproductive market’.

Women who struggle financially will see no other option but to offer her ‘reproductive services’, and thereby exposing themselves to potentially exploitative abusive practices. It is widely recognized that economic inequalities are increasing and with the coronavirus crisis, the process is expected to accelerate making the risks of exploitation even greater than before. With the rise of new reproductive technologies and the advent of the internet, a worldwide reproductive market was created where pregnancy can be outsourced. In this market, various instances of commodification of children and exploitation of surrogate mothers have come to light. In South Africa, the PASA system does not accept commercial surrogacy arrangements, it is open to same-sex couples and single individuals, and at least one of the intending parents must be genetically related to the future child (although exceptions to this rule are possible); and intending parents are to be recognized as the child’s legal parents from the moment of birth. The revision of the PASA do not aim to encourage or discourage surrogacy, but to offer better protection to all involved. Article, Research Article.

China – Chinese model abandons surrogate-born children

A wave of outrage swept through Chinese social media a popular model and actress, Zheng Shuang, has been accused by her estranged former partner of abandoning two children whom she commissioned from two surrogate mothers in the United States. She was immediately dumped by the luxury goods firm Prada as a brand ambassador and government regulators have blacklisted her. The former couples’ parents suggested abandoning the babies at a hospital while the others said to put them up for adoption. The actress expressed annoyance that they could not be aborted. The Chinese Government said: “Surrogacy is banned in China as it uses women’s uteruses as a tool and sells life as a commercial product. As a Chinese citizen, the act of travelling to the US on a legal loophole is not abiding the law.” More