August 5, 2007

Outsourcing Pregnancy

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that I take issue with on several grounds: the risk to the life of the embryos, the excess embryos in storage, those that die as part of the process, and the ease of surrogacy which is frought with it's own set of problems. An article in Marie Claire highlighting surrogacy in India can be found here.

It seems that outsourcing pregnancy to India provides as much financial relief, i.e. discounts, to prospective parents as does outsourcing tech support for many of the West's computer and software companies. In fact, it only costs about 10% of the cost it would cost to have the same procedure (egg harvesting, fertilization, implantation) done in the U.S.

Young women in India are finding that the financial benefit outweighs any of the shame that they might experience within their families, so some are going about surrogacy in more covert ways.

As with any area of science and medical research, we have to ask ourselves: just because we are capable of doing something, does that mean we should? And feminists of all shapes should really reconsider their views on the issue of surrogacy. IVF and surrogacy may fall under the "reproductive rights" category, but when young women are exploited - especially by Westerners overseas, feminism ought to take another look at what they are endorsing.

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