Surrogacy Resource thread : please post your links here(54 Posts)
A Happy New Year to all.
I have been thinking about how I should concentrate my energies in the New Year - women are fighting many battles on so many fronts - against porn, prostitution, domestic abuse, the wonderful We Can’t Consent to this campaign, abortion rights, to maintain our spaces, our language, our sports and so much more that I haven’t mentioned.
For myself, I have been asked to join a particular campaign against surrogacy and I have decided that is where I will be devoting most of my time whilst still supporting all the other important causes in spirit at least.
The surrogacy market is a global business currently thought to be worth about $21billion with growth expected to reach about $41billion by 2026 according to India based market research firm Data Bridge. Women’s reproductive “services” are big business globally.
The Law Commission Consultation on new surrogacy law in the UK closed on 11 October 2019.
Many posters on FWR did great work researching, discussing and exploring the implications, educating and raising awareness, encouraging people to respond to the consultation so that responses weren’t simply confined to cheers of approval from “stakeholders” but real concerns and educated critique were raised.
Many of us may be wondering what happens next?
According to the Consultation paper what happens next is this: “After reviewing all responses, we will decide on our final recommendations for law reform, which we will publish in a report, accompanied by a draft bill (legislation) in 2021.”
The consultation, raising awareness and sharing the knowledge was very much the first battle. There is much to be done to follow up to prevent these harmful recommendations becoming law in the UK and to keep that global market out of the UK.
I am not able to give details but I wanted to let people know that there is work ongoing behind the scenes and small positive signs that the Law Commission are belatedly reaching out to some women’s groups who raised concerns.
Meanwhile I believe now is the time to prepare: we have a new parliament with many new MP’s who are no doubt completely unaware, now is the time to start lobbying MP’s and the government in advance if that draft legislation. I plan to hold my nose and meet with my MP, who is a staunch Catholic and who, for all his faults, I expect to take a dim view of the proposals. I will also be sending letters to key people in the government and department of health.
Since I first heard about the Consultation and proposed changes to the law just over a year ago, I have spent many hours reading, articles, legal cases, research papers, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, reading and contributing to threads here, where so many other contributors share their knowledge and post informative links.
So I thought it might be helpful to have a resource thread, that we can refer to from time to time when looking for articles, research papers and other sources of information, links to FOIs, trying to find that thread where we saw interesting posts and so on.
I will kick off with some links to the consultation and related threads.
Please join in and add anything of interest you come across.
The Full Consultation Document
Obviously it is too late to respond now as the Consultation is closed, but for reference here is the recommended response to the summary from Nordic Model Now, which many of us used as a template or a guide to help us formulate our own responses.
Several women’s organisations responded to the consultation with public letters:
_Nordic Model Now Open letter_:
WPUK submission to Law Commission consultation on surrogacy reform – Woman's Place UK
EVAW (End Violence Against Women) response:
*Links to some of the related threads on FWR:
I'll be back later with more links, but anyone wanting to listen to some Podcasts while they do some cooking or take down the decorations could start with Venus Rising from Jennifer Lahl.
This is a link to the first one, I have subscribed and listen as they come in.
Hoping all my links work!
Thankyou for your very thoughtful post.
Plenty to think about here, will read it it more fully and digest later.
Thanks so much for pulling this all together @FannyCann
Fanny I wouldn’t have filled in that surrogacy consultation without your threads and I think this is of the utmost importance. In my view, surrogacy is just plain ole wrong and I support any work to end it.
Fanny Happy New Year and thank you for this, I will look forward to reading this resource. I just wanted to leave this Guardian link here- it’s not useful because it’s got links to evidenced sources, but it does highlight some key trends - which we know are very likely to increase demand for surrogacy in the UK.
(Let’s leave aside some of the more offensive bits of the article for now- like that people who use IVF to avoid their kids inheriting serious genetic diseases are making ‘designer babies’ )
The article is useful as a quick snapshot article as to why surrogacy is such an important issue at the moment.
When you read it, look at both all the demographic and social factors they mention towards using surrogacy which are predicted to increase over coming decades and at the same time look at how they aren’t even mentioning the vast numbers of surrogates (and likely also egg donors) that would be needed to make and grow these babies in response to these factors*. They aren’t even acknowledging that willing women will be needed. Why aren’t they doing that?
The assumptions behind not even mentioning these women tells you all you need to know about how surrogates are really regarded. Or should I say how they seem to be invisible, taken for granted, they are not really seen as people worthy of consideration (in the same way that the people who want to have kids are seen), and with all of the potential mental and physical risks to the woman and child are left undiscussed.
It’s a chilling way to look at other human beings, whether you agree with surrogacy or not.
Thanks Chatty Interesting article. As you say, the small matter of where to find all the women willing to provide breeding services is usually skimmed.
Thought I should post the link to the article where I got my statistics. I realise it says "Global fertility services" rather than surrogacy. Apologies for the inaccuracy. Though I have heard the surrogacy market quoted in billions.
Recording of very informative panel discussion at FiLiA last year.
@*Fanny*, you’re right about how normal it is (depressingly) but I am still shocked by the Guardian omitting to even mention surrogates, and just how how blasé they are about women’s reproductive risk and how entitled they feel to claim women’s altruism and their bodies.
Also, by the way, I was talking to a general ‘you’ in my post above (so not to you specifically Fanny, if that post reads a bit oddly). I was so pissed off i went straight into overbearing mode..
I should have got back sooner, but I am so glad you filled in the consultation @BadgertheBodger
There are lots of well informed contributors on Mumsnet and the discussion really helps raise awareness and understanding.
Thanks for the Filia link @TinselAngel
It was a really interesting listen.
I will add links to more podcasts from Filia.
One with Jennifer Lahl, which has some discussion of her work.
And I loved this one with Renate Klein. She pulls no punches. Her book "Surrogacy - A human rights violation" is on my reading list.
I've been really interested in this piece of research as it looks at the additional hospital costs associated with surrogacy. The data is pretty shocking actually, with the increase in premature births, increased use of NICU, and associated increased LSCS rate, increased length of hospital stay. All costs that will fall to the NHS if there is an increase in surrogacy which will surely happen if the law Commission's proposals are passed into law.
Outcomes of surrogate pregnancies in California and hospital economics of surrogate maternity and newborn care
Research such as this is concerned with hard figures and that is how it should be. But I also want to note the real suffering that those women, the "gestational carriers" must have gone through in some of these cases.
"Four infants died soon after birth due to extreme prematurity (although the legalised parents refused resuscitation for 24 week twins). There was one fetal death in a twin pair....and among a triplet gestation there was a fetal reduction of one fetus".
Surrogacy looks a bit less warm and fluffy when one starts looking at the actual experiences women who provide the "service" are cheerfully contracted to go through.
Talking of contracts...this article explains some of the details of the type of contracts that are commonly used in commercial surrogacy in the USA.
"Regulating surrogacy does not protect women and children"
Contract Pregnancies Exposed: Surrogacy Contracts Don’t Protect Surrogate Mothers and Their Children - Public Discourse
There is a thread running on the Simple Politics Facebook page (I follow them, they seem to moderate their debates quite well and there are some knowledgable posters among the usual ranters)
It started at 10.00am yesterday, so currently about fifth post down the page. It started badly with a comment that 'Not all people that get pregnant are women'
Would be good to see more interesting comments over there.
Oh, and thank you OP, you have really opened my eyes on this issue.
I don't do Facebook so it's great if others will contribute over there (and report back where appropriate).
Adding in a few links regarding egg "donation", the risks simply aren't explained to women going through the procedure.
Podcasts a couple from Jennifer Lahl, Venus Rising. The reality of egg donation is discussed here.
And in this episode a woman who blanked her eggs and subsequently developed breast cancer discusses her story. Maybe the two events are linked. Maybe it is coincidental. Egg donors aren't followed up and no one is gathering the data so any links or causation cannot be proved.
Eggspoitation - Documentary about egg donation by Jennifer Lahl.
The documentary is in English btw, Spanish subtitles.
Recommend watching the documentary Fanny posted. It's shocking.
A couple for articles about Egg Donation
Just a reminder for those that missed out on discussions around the Law Commission Consultation - the matter of egg donation is completely ignored. When the subject was raised at one of the public meetings the audience were told that Egg Donation would be regulated by the HFEA.
But without eggs there can be no surrogacy (well there is still so called "traditional" surrogacy, where the surrogates own eggs are used, but this isn't the preferred method as commissioning parents don't want a genetic link to the woman who carried their baby for them).
Egg donors face unknown risks, with scant data on complications
3 Potential Risks Associated with Egg Retrieval | Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research: Workshop Report | The National Academies Press
OP I never knew there was a consultation.
thank you for sharing all this information.
Yes, that documentary was eye opening, and shocking @Ereshkigal
On one of Jennifer Lahl's podcasts that I linked one woman compares her experience as an egg "donor" to her subsequent experience as a patient undergoing IVF (she developed fertility problems subsequent to being an egg donor). Basically as an egg donor she was treated like a battery chicken, just the source of the desired product , her body pushed to the limit via the hormones administered to produce the maximum number of eggs possible. Her treatment when she was a paying patient was very different.
I don't know a lot about the whole IVF process, I sometimes take a look around the infertility thread on Mumsnet to see what I can learn. It is my understanding that (in the UK, where I think we can be assured there is much more oversight thanks to bodies like the HFEA and NICE) that hormone doses are kept to the minimum to produce just a few eggs for collection - most women having IVF only want one or two babies after all, so they only need "one good egg" as one woman explained. This helps reduce the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome and there are undoubtedly many other good reasons for this policy. But what about women who are encouraged to "egg share" with her surplus eggs being donated and her fees to the fertility clinic being reduced. I wonder if they are stimulated to produce many more eggs than they would need for their own purposes?
When it comes to "harvesting" eggs in the USA and no doubt elsewhere it's all about getting as many as possible.
I would be interested to know if there is any evidence of similar behaviours from private IVF clinics in the UK. If anyone knows?....
Some oft he comments on the Simple Politics Facebook page are just shocking:
"the baby is generally the future parents anyway with surrogate incubating the parents fertilised eggs, so she is basically just hiring out the oven for someone else’s baby.
Sometimes it’s the surrogates egg herself but is still the fathers baby.
It’s the rental of a body for 9 months not buying and selling babies"
What is wrong with people?!
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