Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Surrogate mothers - a balloon in the making?

There was some recent reawakening of the surrogate mother issue. Last August, Andy Ho wrote about the issue with respect to surrogate mother market in the Philippines. This time it was about India.

I am not sure if it's just editorial interest in the subject or if it's part of a process pushing towards the acceptance of gestational surrogacy in Singapore. Coming so soon after the controversies about the human organ trade, I am understandably suspicious that it is the latter.

It is a issue that is fraught with ethical and legal problems.... certain a lot more complex than the organ trade stuff. Heng BC, previously of NUH had reviewed the topic in 2007. I reproduce the abstract here (if you want the pdf of the review, just drop me a note), :

Gestational surrogacy is currently banned in Singapore but is much debated. Some ethical guidelines and legislation for permitting gestational surrogacy in Singapore are proposed and discussed including: (i) review and approval of gestational surrogacy by the Ministry of Health on a case-by-case basis; (ii) stringent guidelines for gonadotrophin stimulation, IVF and ICSI procedures in 'traditional' surrogacy; (iii) restriction of gestational surrogates to parous married women with stable family relationships; (iv) exclusion of foreign women from acting as gestational surrogates, except for close relatives of the recipient couple; (v) reimbursement and/or compensation of gestational surrogates based on the direct expenses model; (vi) exclusion of medical professionals from surrogate recruitment and reimbursement; (vii) the surrogacy contract must make it legally binding for the prospective recipient couple to accept the child, even if it is born with congenital deformities; (viii) stringent guidelines for combining surrogacy with egg donation from a third woman, who is neither the social nor gestational mother. Policymakers in Singapore should conduct a public referendum on the legalization of gestational surrogacy and actively consult the views of healthcare professionals, religious and community leaders, as well as the general public, before reaching any decision.

Many of the issues overlap with those of organ trading, but there is one specific issue which is unique to this situation that we should be aware of:
How to transfer the baby to the recipient parents? By adoption? How to legally compel the recipient parents to accept? Can the recipient parents change their minds? What will happen to the baby if they change their mind?

1 comment:

surrogacy in India said...

Great Post.....

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Thanks for sharing....