Locked Out Of Asia, Americans Are Turning To Eastern Europe To Hire Gestational Surrogates image

HuffPost, July 25, 2017
Sarah Elizabeth Richards, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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From the article:

[...] While it’s impossible to know “what’s presented to you versus what’s really occurring,” Harvard Law School Professor I. Glenn Cohen said, fertility tourists should ask about the welfare of surrogates, including the conditions of their housing, how much of the fee they’re allowed to keep and whether they’ll be penalized for getting an abortion if something goes wrong with the pregnancy. The commissioning couple also should ask about guarantees that their sperm and eggs will be used to make their embryos. Additionally, they should investigate the parentage laws of the country they’re visiting ― and returning home to ― and whether both people in a same-sex marriage will be listed on the birth certificate.

“Couples should also ask what rules are in place if there’s a breakdown in the relationship with the surrogate,” said Cohen, who’s faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics and author of Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Ethics, and Law. “What if the baby has significant abnormalities and the commissioning parents don’t want to parent? Who takes custody?”

Even under the best circumstances, people have no idea what surrogate mothers go through. Just ask San Diego resident Melissa Buchanan, who was a surrogate mother in 2011 for a single dad from Mexico. “There’s so much work that goes into helping a family get their little blessing. There’s so much emotional and professional sacrifice,” explained Buchanan. Often a surrogate must undergo multiple embryo transfers before becoming pregnant ― a process that involves six weeks of hormone medications to prepare her uterus, and weekly doctor visits. In the meantime, she might need to find child care for her own children or make arrangement to miss work. “If a surrogate goes on bed rest, which is common with twins, it can put stress on the whole family,” Buchanan said. Never mind the physical and emotional complication of pregnancy and delivery. [...]

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bioethics health law policy i. glenn cohen international regulation reproductive rights reproductive technologies