At $5,000, outsourced pregnancy is a bargain for Westerners - for India's
poor, it means a giant leap in to the middle class. Also in the issue of
Maclean's hitting newsstands today: That's it? No protest?; and,
Mitchel Raphael's capital diary.
TORONTO, June 21 /CNW/ - Outsourcing surrogacy perhaps marks the newest
wave of offshoring, a model that goes further than the manufacturing wave
kicked off in the 1980s or the services wave of the past decade, to trade in
that most basic building block of the labour market: the human body. In the
past three years the number of IVF clinics in India has doubled. There are now
an estimated 600; of these, 200 are thought to offer surrogacy (numbers are
hard to track because clinics don't have to be accredited). Nonetheless, the
phenomenon dubbed "rent-a-womb" or "outsourcing pregnancy" is so controversial
many of the women who volunteer for it don't tell their families or friends.
"It's only bound to grow," writes Maclean's senior editor Sarmishta
Subramanian. "A recent Washington Post article revealed that Asian eggs -
Indian, Chinese and so on - are in very short supply in North America.
Supplying wombs for pregnancy just seems the next natural leap." The business
of surrogacy has created a gainful if not exactly desirable career niche for
dozens of impoverished women in neighbouring villages and towns and indeed
across India and has helped launch a national boom estimated at $200 million
around a process that raises a tangle of ethical questions: is it moral to pay
the world's poor to have our children? Have we opened the door to shady
practitioners who are exploiting women? Does surrogacy, as critics suggest,
turn the parent-child relationship into a matter of property rights?
That's it? No protest?
A threat by the Roseau River First Nation threatened to block the CP
tracks running through their land next week has morphed into plans for a
National Day of Action for all First Nations, with inflammatory rhetoric
("There's only one way to deal with a white man. You either pick up a gun or
you stand between him and his money") keeping the pot on the boil. "Suddenly,"
writes Maclean's national correspondent Jonathon Gatehouse, "The public is
paying attention." Ottawa found an extra $1.5 billion over 10 years for land
claims. Ontario is offering $2.5 billion of gaming revenue over the next two
decades for Aboriginal education, health care and infrastructure projects. And
Manitoba and the feds have agreed to let Roseau River have its 75 acres. The
mere threat of action got Ottawa scrambling, not that they'll admit it.
Maclean's Mitchel Raphael on the PM's appointment with a drag queen and
Rona Ambrose's troublemaker little brother.
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