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Commodification & Objectification in Reproductive Technologies. Rels 300 / Nurs 330 30 January 2014. MARKET VALUES. Many ethicists are concerned about the “intrusion of market values into the sphere of reproduction” (p.141)

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commodification objectification in reproductive technologies

Commodification & Objectification inReproductive Technologies

Rels 300 / Nurs 330

30 January 2014

market values
MARKET VALUES

Many ethicists are concerned about the “intrusion of market values into the sphere of reproduction” (p.141)

  • Customers go shopping for sperm, ova, embryos, technologies and gestational services (p.142)

Many critics believe that when reproductive materials and services are treated as commodities that can be bought and sold, there are significant harms for women, men, children and families (p.141)

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what s the problem
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

COMMODIFICATION

OBJECTIFICATION

The way in which one person treats another person as an object and not as a human being.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Objectification

The social process by which something or someone comes to be regarded and treated as an article of trade or commerce.

http://www.definitions.net/definition/commodification

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anna maria tremonti of mothers and merchants documentary repeat oct 8 2012
Anna Maria TremontiOf Mothers and Merchants - Documentary Repeat - Oct. 8, 2012 

One couple's overwhelming desire to become parents led to an exploration that raises questions we explore as we re-play Tanya Springer's award-winning documentary. This is the story of surrogacy abroad - specifically in developing countries and the debate over whether surrogates are empowered or exploited.

  • Mothers and Merchants - Documentary Repeat - Oct. 8, 2012 [mp3 file: runs 00:27:29 – start at 4:11]
  • http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/podcasts/
  • http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/10/08/of-mothers-and-merchants---documentary-repeat/

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the task
THE TASK

In small groups:

  • Take each of the following topics, discuss the issues and answer the questions provided. Have one or more persons take notes for your group.
  • At the end, provide a summary of your thoughts about market values and transactions in assisted reproduction.

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1 ova donors
1. OVA DONORS

How should ova be made available for individuals utilizing a reproductive technology?

  • Commercial market (buy & sell)
  • Non-commercial donation with costs covered by public health care services
  • Altruistic donation with costs paid by ova recipients

What information should be made available concerning ova donors?

  • Full identification, including name and medical history
  • Full medical history, but no identifying information
  • Full identification and public acknowledgement of maternity

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2 embryo donors
2. EMBRYO DONORS

How should embryos be made available for individuals utilizing a reproductive technology?

  • Surplus embryos created through IVF could be sold by their genetic “parents”
  • Surplus embryos could be donated to infertile individuals
  • Companies could create embryos through IVF and then market them to infertility clinics
  • Couples could create embryos through IVF and then place them up for adoption by the infertile

What information should be made available concerning embryos purchased or adopted?

  • Full identification of genetic parents and their medical history
  • Full medical history, but no identifying information
  • Full identification and public acknowledgement of parentage

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3 gestational services
3. GESTATIONAL SERVICES

How should gestational services be made available to individuals utilizing surrogacy?

  • Women who provide both genetic and gestational surrogacy should be paid a decent monthly wage
  • Women who provide both genetic and gestational surrogacy should be paid upon surrender of a healthy infant to contracting parents
  • Women who only provide gestational surrogacy should receive ½ the amount provided for full surrogacy
  • Surrogate mothers should provide surrogacy services as a free gift for a relative, friend or stranger
  • Surrogate mothers should be compensated for the costs related to their pregnancy

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4 reproductive tourism
4. REPRODUCTIVE TOURISM

Childless Asian couples from Britain are increasingly travelling to India to pay women to act as surrogate mothers for them.

In a country where there are no laws surrounding surrogacy, the industry has become a multi-million dollar business.

One couple who made the journey to India are 44-year-old Bobby and his partner, Nikki Bains, 43, from the English town of Ilford.

Their three-month-old daughter, Daisy, was conceived at the Rotunda clinic in Mumbai (Bombay).

A donor egg was fertilised with Bobby's sperm. The embryo was then implanted into a surrogate - a woman the couple have never met.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7661127.stm

  • Surrogacy offers poor Indian women a source of income
  • For Canadians, surrogacy in India would be a much more cost-effective option
  • Women in developing countries could support their families through surrogacy
  • Women in developing countries could offer both sexual and reproductive services to wealthy Westerners

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5 breeder women
5. “BREEDER” WOMEN

How is the social status of women influenced by women who engage in commercial transactions involving ova, embryos or pregnancy services?

  • Fertile women will be highly valued.
  • Professional women will have enhanced options for starting their families at a time when they have career and financial stability.
  • Infertility will be experienced as less of a social stigma in a culture where fertility services are freely available.
  • Infertility will cause an increased social stigma in a culture where fewer individuals remain childless.

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6 ectogenesis
6. ECTOGENESIS

In Japan, an artificial womb has been created that incubates goat fetuses.

The scientists who developed it say they are working on a model that can be used for human fetuses, but that the technology is ten or more years away.

  • http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/genbio/biolink/student/olc2/g-bioe-17.htm
  • Artificial womb technology would enable women unable to maintain a pregnancy to have children.
  • Artificial wombs would free women to pursue both careers and families.
  • Ectogenesis would allow single or gay men to have children without involving a female partner.
  • Ectogenesis would support research into fetal development & conditions.

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slide12

COMMODIFICATIONThe social process by which something or someone comes to be regarded and treated as an article of trade or commerce.

OBJECTIFICATION

The way in which one person treats another person as an object and not as a human being.

  • In a capitalist consumer society such as Canada:
  • Market values and transactions have no place in seeking or providing assisted reproduction technologies;
  • Market values and transactions provide a useful conceptual framework for assisted reproduction technologies;
  • Market values and transactions will inevitably occur and should be regulated.

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