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Risky Business: Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and the Politics of Exploitation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2014

Alana Cattapan
Affiliation:
Research Associate, Novel Tech EthicsFaculty of MedicineDalhousie University

Abstract

This article examines exploitation as a policy rationale for the prohibition of paid surrogacy and egg donation in Canada, focusing on claims of exploitation in parliamentary transcripts and proposed legislation. Its main focus is challenging three assumptions long used to substantiate the prohibition of commercial egg donation and surrogacy, namely: that marginalized women are being exploited; that payment and exploitation are necessarily linked; and that prohibitions on payment are the best means to prevent exploitation in assisted human reproduction. By examining these assumptions, this article assesses the legitimacy of prohibiting payment on the basis of perceived exploitation and suggests that, though much has been done to protect surrogates and donors, little is known about their real-life experiences with reproductive technologies, that the relationship between exploitation and payment is tenuous, and that it remains unclear that prohibiting payment is not doing more harm than good.

Résumé

Cet article examine comment l’exploitation sert à justifier l’interdiction de rémunérer la gestion pour autrui et le don d’ovules au Canada, en portant une attention toute particulière aux allégations d’exploitation au sein des transcriptions parlementaires et des projets de loi. Il remet en question trois hypothèses qui ont depuis longtemps été utilisées afin de justifier l’interdiction de la gestion pour autrui commerciale et du commerce des dons d’ovules, à savoir que les femmes marginalisées sont exploitées, que la rémunération est liée nécessairement à l’exploitation et que la meilleure façon de prévenir l’exploitation liée à la procréation assistée est d’interdire la rémunération. En examinant ces suppositions, cet article évalue la légitimité d’une telle interdiction sur la base d’une exploitation présumée. Bien que plusieurs mesures aient été mises en place afin de protéger les mères porteuses et les donneuses, peu est connu à propos des expériences réelles avec les techniques de procréation assistée. Le lien entre l’exploitation et la rémunération demeure précaire et il reste à savoir si le fait d’interdire le paiement cause plus de mal que de bien.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Law and Society Association / Association Canadienne Droit et Société 2014 

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References

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