X From Intercountry Adoption to Global Surrogacy
A Human Rights History and New Fertility Frontiers
Intercountry adoption has undergone a radical decline since 2004 when it reached a peak of approximately 45,000 children adopted globally. Its practice had been linked to conflict, poverty, gender inequality, and claims of human trafficking, ultimately leading to the establishment of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (HCIA). This international private law along with the Convention on the Rights of the Child affirm the best interests of the child as paramount in making decisions on behalf of children and families with obligations specifically oriented to safeguards in adoption practices. In 2004, as intercountry adoption peaked and then began a dramatic decline, commercial global surrogacy contracts began to take off in India. Global surrogacy gained in popularity owing, in part, to improved assisted reproductive technology methods, the ease with which people can make global surrogacy arrangements, and same-sex couples seeking the option to have their own genetically-related children. Yet regulation remains an issue, so much so that the Hague Conference on Private International Law has undertaken research and assessed the many dilemmas as an expert group considers drafting a new law, with some similarities to the HCIA and a strong emphasis on parentage. This ground-breaking book presents a detailed history and applies policy and human rights issues with an emphasis on the best interests of the child within intercountry adoption and the new conceptions of protection necessary in global surrogacy. To meet this end, voices of surrogate mothers in the US and India ground discourse as authors consider the human rights concerns and policy implications. For both intercountry adoption and global surrogacy, the complexity of the social context anchors the discourse inclusive of the intersections of poverty and privilege. This examination of the inevitable problems is presented at a time in which the pathways to global surrogacy appear to be shifting as the Supreme Court of India weighs in on the future of the industry there while Thailand, Cambodia and other countries have banned the practice all together. There is speculation that countries in Africa and possibly Central America appear poised to pick up the multi-million dollar industry as the demand for healthy infants continues on.
About the Author:
Nicole F. Bromfield , is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. Her research interests are on women and children’s health and social wellbeing, with most projects being driven by community needs with the desired outcome being social policy change. She has a PhD in public policy with a specialization in social and health policy and holds an MSW with a community organization concentration. Bromfield’s dissertation research was on the development of federal human-trafficking legislation in the USA, where she interviewed over 20 key policy players involved in its making. She has published on issues relating to human trafficking and has more recently taken an interest in global surrogacy arrangements, as well as social issues occurring in the Arabian Gulf nations.
Karen Smith Rotabi is Associate Professor of Social Work at the United Arab Emirates University. Her work combines historical, sociological, and ethical dimensions in a policy analysis framework, especially considering the human rights of vulnerable populations. She has published extensively on intercountry adoption and relevant laws, particularly focused on the USA and its powerful interface with impoverished countries such as Guatemala where she has worked in a variety of initiatives to include rural health promotion programming for children. Her research agenda is focused on global social work practice, child protection, and family support, to include families impacted by war. She has consulted on child-protection initiatives in a number of countries including Belize, India, and Malawi and co-edited the 2012 book Intercountry Adoption: Policies, Practices, and Outcomes, which was awarded a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2013. Rotabi was involved in the early stages of USA implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption as she assisted in the accreditation process from 2008-2012, evaluating dozens of US-based adoption agencies to ensure that they were effectively practicing within international standards. More recently, she has turned her attention to commercial global surrogacy as a replacement for intercountry adoption. Today, Rotabi’s service work in this area includes joining an expert group on child rights and global surrogacy, convening under the leadership of International Social Services in Geneva, Switzerland.