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Gauging the interests of birth mother and child: a qualitative study of Swedish social workers' experiences of transnational gestational surrogacy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). (Internationell kvinno- & mödrahälsovård och migration/Essén)
Department of Social Work, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Social Medicine and Global Health, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH). (Internationell kvinno- & mödrahälsovård och migration/Essén)
2016 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 86-99Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are few studies on how social workers deal with cases regarding transnational surrogacy. Our study intends to contribute to filling this gap. In Sweden, surrogacy as an assisted reproductive technology method is not permitted. As a result, many prospective parents have turned abroad, mainly to India, for surrogacy. There are no laws regulating surrogacy in Sweden, and difficulties have arisen in establishing legal parenthood when the parents return with the child. This qualitative interview study with social workers found that legal uncertainty and ethical issues surrounded their handling. With no guidelines, the constructions of parenthood will continue to depend on individual social workers' conflicting views on how to best meet the surrogate mother’s interest and the best interest of the child. Regulationis thus needed to better protect those involved and minimize the contingent aspects of legal handling by individual officials.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 21, no 1, p. 86-99
Keywords [en]
Legal parenthood, Sweden, social workers, transnational commercial surrogacy, construction
National Category
Social Work Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-307959DOI: 10.1080/13691457.2016.1256869ISI: 000417767400008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-307959DiVA, id: diva2:1049054
Available from: 2016-11-23 Created: 2016-11-23 Last updated: 2019-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Challenges of transnational parenthood: Exploring different perspectives of surrogacy in Sweden and India
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges of transnational parenthood: Exploring different perspectives of surrogacy in Sweden and India
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transnational surrogacy challenges traditional norms of parenthood, especially motherhood; additionally, it is viewed as the exploitation of poor women. The overall aim of this thesis was to shed light on the consequences of an unregulated situation on surrogacy in the Swedish and Indian contexts, and to give different perspectives on surrogacy and the surrogate. The experiences of using transnational surrogacy and the consequences of using this reproductive method in a context of a largely unregulated situation had rarely been explored at the start of the study. Between 2012 and 2015, qualitative interviews were conducted with commissioning parents in Sweden who used transnational surrogacy mainly in India, as well as with social workers in Sweden, who have handled cases regarding the legal recognition of parenthood. To capture a non-western perspective on surrogacy, the views of women and men in different social strata in Assam, India were explored through individual interviews and focus group discussions. At the start of the project, India was the most common country to turn to for surrogacy. The results reveal that both commissioning parents and social workers needed to navigate inadequate parental legislation, with the result that commissioning parents felt questioned as parents. Social workers tried to balance the protection of the surrogate’s rights with the child’s best interest. The ethical aspects made the users of surrogacy ambivalent, and, for social workers, it resulted in further reluctance to handle legal parenthood cases. However, from an Assamese point of view, no ethical considerations were expressed; instead, the surrogate would either be stigmatized for her act and seen as though she was “selling her child,” or seen as a woman doing a noble act, helping a childless couple. All the informants demonstrated a pragmatic view of legal parenthood, but the current legal situation in Sweden limits the scope to act as parents in relation to society, because of the length of time it takes to be recognized as legal parents. This comes with a risk for children. From the perspective of reproductive justice, a clearer regulation on surrogacy, and kinship rules that are more adjusted to the current family practice, are needed. Additionally, to limit the risks for all parties involved in the surrogacy process, a more transparent surrogacy process is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. p. 118
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1580
Keywords
Transnational surrogacy, Surrogacy, Assisted reproduction, Commissioning parents, Legal parenthood, Social workers, Exploitation, Surrogate, Motherhood, Kinship, Social constructionism, Reproductive Justice, Sweden, India, Assam
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Medical Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-385699 (URN)978-91-513-0690-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-09-27, Rudbecksalen, Rudbecklaboratoriet, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 20, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-06-19 Last updated: 2019-09-17

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Arvidsson, AnnaEssén, Birgitta

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