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Views of Swedish commissioning parents relating to the exploitation discourse in using transnational surrogacy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno- och mödrahälsovård och migration/Essén)
Department of Health and Welfare Studies, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno- och mödrahälsovård och migration)
2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 5, article id e0126518Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transnational surrogacy, when people travel abroad for reproduction with the help of a surrogate mother, is a heavily debated phenomenon. One of the most salient discourses on surrogacy is the one affirming that Westerners, in their quest for having a child, exploit poor women in countries such as India. As surrogacy within the Swedish health care system is not permitted, Swedish commissioning parents have used transnational surrogacy, and the majority has turned to India. This interview study aimed to explore how commissioning parents negotiate the present discourses on surrogacy. Findings from the study suggest that the commissioning parents' views on using surrogacy are influenced by competing discourses on surrogacy represented by media and surrogacy agencies. The use of this reproductive method resulted, then, in some ambiguity. Although commissioning parents defy the exploitation discourse by referring to what they have learnt about the surrogate mother's life situation and by pointing at the significant benefits for her, they still had a request for regulation of surrogacy in Sweden, to better protect all parties involved. This study, then, gives a complex view on surrogacy, where the commissioning parents simultaneously argue against the exploitation discourse but at the same time are uncertain if the surrogate mothers are well protected in the surrogacy arrangements. Their responses to the situation endorse the need for regulation both in Sweden and India.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 10, no 5, article id e0126518
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253219DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126518ISI: 000356768100126PubMedID: 25955178OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-253219DiVA, id: diva2:813869
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically 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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