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Outsourcing reproduction, fertility tourism, and the money (or lack thereof) at the heart of it all

These are just a few of the recent stories that have crossed my desk as of late that I wanted to draw reader’s attention to.

The development of “artificial sperm” and the UK study on European fertility tourism are both important milestones.

Bastardette’s recent pieces on the development of artificial sperm-

ARTIFICIAL SPERM ON THE MOVE

and

MORE REACTION ON LAB SPERM: I NEVER HAD SEX WITH …

Lest anyone think what Marley is discussing is dismissible, the demand at least is clearly already present-

Artificial sperm and the race to build a baby

Pacey is also concerned about raising patients’ hopes and expectations. Just 45 minutes after the announcement last week he had been e-mailed by a patient asking where he could be treated with sperm grown for him in the laboratory. Within days Pacey had received dozens of inquiries from patients asking the same question.

Up next a smattering of surrogacy and adoption related articles, particularly looking at India and Spain and the global fertility quest-

NY Times-, writing on surrogacy- No Stork Involved, but Mom and Dad Had Help includes this reductionist woman erasing drivel used by a woman who utilized a Surrogate-

Although she considers her children too young for a talk about embryos and uteruses, Ms. Lunden already has a metaphor ready for when the time comes: cupcakes. “It’s almost like we can’t cook the cupcakes in our oven because the oven is broken,” she said. “We’re going to use the neighbor’s oven.”

To her mind, the woman who acted as surrogate is little more than an inanimate object, a mere ‘neighbor’s oven.’

Needless to say, children are not “cupcakes”, and women, whether deemed to be in “working condition” or otherwise, are not “ovens.”

Conceptual metaphors, as George Lakoff has pointed out, can be used to hide information, in this case, free will, the complexities of consent, health risks undertaken, birth-giving, autonomy, and sentience itself.

And two recent stories on the surrogacy market in India-

Surrogate Mothers: Womb for rent

Want A Baby? India Beckons

Besides the health risks, there is the issue of adoption. “The many steps involved in adoption once the child is born can be a problem,” says Dr Hari. The Indian Council of Medical Research has not issued any guidelines to help deal with foreign clients using Indian surrogates. So the child has to be adopted under Indian law and all procedures outlined in the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption have to be adhered to.

Spanish couples attempting to get around Spain’s regulations turn to a US agency only to get scammed- SoCal Surrogacy Clinic Accused of Scam

Also see- Spain’s first ‘test tube baby’ is now 25

Here are just two examples of the many articles that have been published in the wake of the European Fertility Tourism study.

The evidence makes it clear, when a country bans or restricts a procedure, those with the wealth to do so simply cross borders to buy what they want in another country.

NHS restrictions prompt fertility tourism boom

Hundreds of women over the age of 40 are travelling to fertility clinics in Europe to try to get pregnant because NHS clinics in the UK will not take them, the first-ever Europe-wide study of fertility tourism shows.

The research shows considerable movement across Europe, with women seeking out procedures that are banned in their own country. Italian women are crossing the border in droves following tough legal restrictions on IVF imposed in 2004, while large numbers of gay French women bypass a ban by seeking treatment in Belgium.

Francoise Shenfield from University College hospital in London, who co-ordinated the study, said at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Amsterdam that it appeared at least 20,000 to 25,000 cross-border fertility treatments were carried out each year. While one woman might have more than one treatment, there are still many thousands seeking help to get pregnancy abroad.

Hundreds are thought to be travelling from the UK every month. The most popular destinations for UK women are the Czech Republic and Spain, the top locations for obtaining donated eggs. As women get older, their eggs are fewer, and less likely to fertilise and implant in the womb. Donated eggs can be their only chance, but they are in short supply in the UK, where the rules say donors can only be given expenses up to £250. A further disincentive has been the rule change to help a child discover the identity of the donor when he or she is 18.

(Emphasis added- BLC)

Hundreds of women risk health by ‘fertility tourism’

A recent change in the law, which removed the right to anonymity for egg donors, had also led to a fall in the number of eggs available for women needing fertility treatment in Britain, she said.

And a sampling of just a few of the domestic economic articles that speak to what happens when times get tight-

Sperm, egg donors increase during recession

Need Money? Donate Your Eggs!

Sperm and egg donations up in South Carolina

also note-

New York State Allows Payment for Egg Donations for Research


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