Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surrogate births: How low levels of monitoring and regulation could lead to exploitation

Date:
January 17, 2013
Source:
University of Huddersfield
Summary:
Researchers have sounded warnings about the international dimension to surrogacy.

UK researchers have sounded warnings about the international dimension to surrogacy. Couples seeking to build a family, and surrogate mothers overseas who help them, are in danger of emotional, physical and financial exploitation unless UK authorities monitor and regulate the field much more closely, according to a University of Huddersfield professor who has published the results of a detailed investigation.

Related Articles


Eric Blyth – Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield, and based at its Centre for Applied Childhood Studies – is co-author of The changing face of surrogacy in the UK, an article which charts the rapid increase in the numbers of surrogate births over the past six years.  It warns that as surrogacy becomes more socially acceptable, there is a risk that more people will make informal arrangements that lack professional back-up.

“Without well-informed professionals, including child welfare and health professionals, there is a potential danger of parties being poorly informed and inadequately supported both during the surrogacy process itself and the years ahead,” writes Professor Blyth and his co-authors Dr Marilyn Crawshaw (University of York) and Professor Olga van den Akker (Middlesex University) in the article, which appears in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.

Since 1990, a UK couple wishing to become the legal parents of a child born to a surrogate mother must apply for a parental order. Initially this was restricted to married couples.  In 2008, the rules were broadened so that same-sex couples were given the right to legal parentage following assisted-conception and surrogacy.

These wider criteria could help account for a big leap in the number of Parental Orders in England and Wales.  From 1995 to 2007 they remained fairly steady, at between 36 and 52 a year.  But in 2009 they climbed to 75 and in 2011 they stood at 149.

Surrogacy agencies had become established in the UK, but in recent years they have been involved in a smaller proportion of surrogacy arrangements.

“This is of some concern because agencies typically remain involved with the parties throughout the pregnancy and offer ongoing support,” argues the article.  A reduction in this could be disadvantageous for the parents, surrogates and the children affected.

The article’s strongest warnings are in connection with overseas surrogacy arrangements.  The global situation needs to be monitored in order to minimise the risk of exploitative developments, argue the authors.

“Such developments could include financial risk to the adults concerned, physical and emotional risk to both adults and children concerned and failure to afford due dignity and attention to the children and to the formation of family life.  There are already some worrying indications that overseas arrangements may pose such risks.”

The article cites episodes already exposed in the media such as a ‘surrogacy ring’ in Thailand in which 13 Vietnamese women had been trafficked for the purpose of acting as surrogates.  And there have recent concerns that Indian women are also being exploited as surrogates.

The numbers of children born in India to UK commissioning parents could be considerably higher than the number of parental orders applied for, states the article.  And the economic disparity between surrogates and commissioning couples also leads to fears of a market in babies.

Although calls were made ten years ago for closer monitoring and regulation of surrogacy arrangements – paying special heed to the potential for financial and other forms of exploitation – the study reveals that there are still insufficient data.

The authors conclude that the steep increase in the number of Parental Orders since 2008 means that there is a need for better systems of monitoring, recording and scrutiny, adding that: “The apparent increase in overseas arrangements that do not result in applications for parental orders is a matter of considerable concern.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Huddersfield. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marilyn Crawshaw, Eric Blyth, Olga van den Akker. The changing profile of surrogacy in the UK – Implications for national and international policy and practice. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09649069.2012.750478

Cite This Page:

University of Huddersfield. "Surrogate births: How low levels of monitoring and regulation could lead to exploitation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117084852.htm>.
University of Huddersfield. (2013, January 17). Surrogate births: How low levels of monitoring and regulation could lead to exploitation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117084852.htm
University of Huddersfield. "Surrogate births: How low levels of monitoring and regulation could lead to exploitation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130117084852.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins