Surrogacy as Medical Tourism

Writing for The American Prospect, Arlie Hochschild tenderly unpacks a burgeoning field of medical tourism: international surrogacy. The practice has blown up in recent years–since India made surrogacy legal in 2002, for example, over 350 clinics have opened to serve domestic and foreign clients–and with it comes a host of perplexing legal and ethical questions.

Global inconsistencies in regulation currently make surrogacy a “highly complex legal patchwork,” Hochschild writes. “Observers fear that a lack of regulation could spark a price war . . . with countries slowly undercutting fees and legal protections for surrogates along the way.”

Legal issues in mind, however, it’s the trend toward “increasingly personal” global service work–and its ramifications–that Hochschild throws into the starkest relief. “Person to person, family to family, the First World is linked to the Third World through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the care we receive,” she writes.

“That Filipina nanny who cares for an American child leaves her own children in the care of her mother and another nanny. In turn, that nanny leaves her younger children in the care of an eldest daughter. First World genetic parents pay a Third World woman to carry their embryo. The surrogate’s husband cares for their older children. The worlds of rich and poor are invisibly bound through chains of care.”

Source: The American Prospect

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