The international baby trade is in the throes of slowing down because countries that have promoted this practice to date are now restricting access to this service or banning it altogether. This is due to ethical considerations which oblige the countries concerned to reconsider the law, noting that surrogacy leads to human trafficking and the exploitation of women. In India, where 3,000 MAP (medically assisted procreation) clinics have been generating €400 million dollars a year since 2008, legislation has changed. The remuneration of surrogate mothers was banned on an international level in 2015 followed by the importing of embryos for implantation, thus complicating the procedure… These restrictions have shifted the cross-border trade of surrogate mothers to other Asian countries, especially Thailand but the mind-set is also changing there. The refusal of an Australian couple to adopt a Down syndrome baby but to accept his healthy twin sister clearly demonstrated that this was all about purchasing children as opposed to payment for a service rendered. In August 2015, Thailand, in turn, also reduced surrogacy access to couples where one of the partners was at least from Thailand. Sanctions are in place for surrogate mothers or intended parents who fail to abide by the law. The neo-colonial aspect of this international trade is helping to change the mind-set. Cambodia, Nepal and Malaysia to which activity has been directed in recent times, are responding in turn through the introduction of restrictions, as evidenced in the one and only Mexican state where surrogacy is legally promoted. Even if those perpetuating the trade argue in favour of greater reproductive choice and greater sexual pluralism as well as scientific advances, and if cloak and dagger arrangements continue to flout the law, it nevertheless seems that preventing the exploitation of hundreds of vulnerable women across the world is now considered to be more important than all of the benefits associated with this international trade.
Les échos (Donna Dickenson) 26/02/2016