11 March 2008

Surrogate Mothers vs. Artificial Wombs

Yonatan Gher and his partner, who are Israeli, plan eventually to tell their child about being made in India, in the womb of a stranger, with the egg of a Mumbai housewife they picked from an Internet lineup.__NYT__via_Impactlab
Outsourcing child-bearing and child-birth to India? Yes, of course. In India a surrogacy will cost roughtly US $25,000, while in the US it would cost over $75,000. The Indian surrogate mothers will likely practise healthier lifestyles--better food, less likelihood of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in the system etc.--than their American counterparts.
Under guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, surrogate mothers sign away their rights to any children. A surrogate’s name is not even on the birth certificate.

This eases the process of taking the baby out of the country. But for many, like Lisa Switzer, 40, a medical technician from San Antonio whose twins are being carried by a surrogate mother from the Rotunda clinic, the overwhelming attraction is the price. “Doctors, lawyers, accountants, they can afford it, but the rest of us — the teachers, the nurses, the secretaries — we can’t,” she said. “Unless we go to India.” __NYT

Until we actually have a viable artificial womb option, we will not be able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy vs. artificial wombs. Artificial wombs within the western country would free the parents from the need to travel to India to collect the child, and would simplify the legality of the parental situation. The cost of providing artificial gestation and monitoring may easily make up for those savings, however.

Certainly the demographic shrinking of Europe, Japan, and other western nations points to the need for some form of child-bearing that relieves educated and liberated career women from the chore. A chore that more women are clearly choosing to do without.

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Blogger SwampWoman said...

I don't know about that. I've been noticing larger families (here in the U.S.) lately.

Tuesday, 11 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Sure. If you know where to look, you can find larger families anywhere. But it is the larger trends over entire populations and regions that determine demographic changes.

Mormons and evangelicals are the non-immigrant population sub-groups in the US who are procreating the most.

For the rest, artificial wombs or surrogates will provide an alternative. Many highly educated women and career women, put off child-bearing until too late.

They can feel better knowing that technology is working overtime to come to their rescue.

Wednesday, 12 March, 2008  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

This surrogacy (and artificial wombs - which I suspect will be a very challenging project to perfect, even given the progress made lately on smaller parts of the whole system) will help some of those who just want some more time to develop a nest egg and a secure career.

But I suspect that one of the main factors dissuading people from having kids is just the massive outlay of time and effort involved in raising them. Short of a massive movement towards boarding school or industrial scale orphanages, I don't see a near-term solution to that.

Wednesday, 12 March, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Right. The idea of the creche, or the kibbutz may need to be resurrected. Preferably administered by a quasi-Montessori educational approach.

Small children particularly need intensive individual attention. The most important socialisation occurs in the first few years of life, before school starts.

The two-parent family works fairly well, but it may not be the optimal approach in the long run. As the child gets older (5 and above) it needs to be presented with progressively more complex and interesting participative tasks--to find out what she is good at, and what she likes.

Monday, 17 March, 2008  

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