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A Case of Surrogacy’s Gordian Knot

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What a mess. What a God-awful mess the new reproductive technologies in general—and commercial surrogacy, in particular—are making of family life. What a legal, emotional, and moral mess. Case in point: A commercial surrogacy contract was litigated in Tennessee all the way to the state’s Supreme Court—which was forced to sort out the chaos that […]

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Deep Freeze, Deep Issues

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An article earlier this week from NBC News kicked off a storm of coverage of egg freezing. You know something is having a cultural moment when The Onion satirizes it (twice). As the initial article pointed out, Facebook and Apple, as part of their employee benefit packages, are now offering (or soon will be offering) […]

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Surrogacy Up Close: “Points of Origin”

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“If I had the money, I wouldn’t do this.” These are the words offered by Anjali, the hired surrogate for R.J. and Rosemary in a beautiful and well-crafted new short film, Points of Origin, by filmmaker Anya Leta that explores the tensions of commercial surrogacy in India. While R.J. is a native of India, he […]

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International Day of Rural Women: Promoting Real Solutions

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Today, October 15, the United Nations celebrates the “International Day of Rural Women.” The day was established in 2007 to mark “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Unfortunately, in places like India, Thailand, and soon, Nepal, one […]

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2014 Ramsey Award Winner Speaks Out Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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A scientist from Harvard, Dr. Doug Melton, has figured out how to use human embryonic stem cells to produce insulin—a potential major breakthrough for those that suffer from diabetes. You can listen to a full NPR broadcast on the discovery here. Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, last year’s winner of CBC’s Ramsey Award, was interviewed by NPR […]

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Another Sperm Donation Goes Wrong

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Much media attention has been devoted to the case of Jennifer Cramblett—the white Midwestern mother who is suing her sperm bank for providing her with the sperm of a black man, resulting in the birth of her biracial daughter, Payton. Following the debate over the case, there’s been no shortage of opinions: some believe that […]

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The Happy Surrogate Families

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In addition to the tragic stories of surrogacy gone wrong, there are families and surrogates with “happy endings.” It is important to hear these stories, too, and to respond to the arguments they make in favor of surrogacy. Since the release of my latest film, Breeders: A Subclass of Women?, and with the media attention […]

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Alive Inside

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Over the weekend I attended a screening of the documentary Alive Inside, which won the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s easy to see why it won the award—it is a very well made documentary that engages viewers in a range of emotions. The film raises a number of points related to […]

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Lessons on the Limits of Medicalization of Life and Death

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The October issue of First Things magazine offers a chilling column from Kalman Kaplan, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. In the column Kaplan chronicles his correspondence with Martha Wichorek—who would later to become the 70th person to die using the assistance of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the […]

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Reclaiming what “Dying with Dignity” Means

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A profile piece in today’s New York Times on one woman’s fight to fulfill her father’s last wish to die at home evidences the horrific conditions that many elderly patients are forced to endure in the final stages of their lives. The story has also sparked a “Room for Debate” discussion on “Finding Humane Care […]

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Surrogacy: Children of Dreams, Parents of Means

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A new book tells the story of an infertile couple that has children through Indian surrogacy services—but it glosses over the costs to egg donors, surrogate mothers, and children. Since gestational surrogacy was legalized in 2002, it has become one of the fastest growing industries in India’s rapidly developing economy. A recent World Bank report […]

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If You Ask Us, We Want Life!

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That’s what demonstrators were chanting outside a pro-euthanasia conference in Chicago last week (see video below). Canadian anti-euthanasia activists traveled from Quebec to join U.S. groups like Not Dead Yet (NDY) and American Disabled for Attendant Programs (ADAPT) to protest for three days outside the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference. The director […]

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Sperm Donation or Compensation?

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A new article in The Daily Beast announces, “Today’s Sperm Donor Isn’t a Broke 20-Something.” The article’s author maintains that sperm donation, while normally associated with college guys looking to make some extra beer money, is more of an altruistic practice than a commercial enterprise. To support her premise, she cites a 2012 study from […]

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More New York Times Coverage of Surrogacy, Breeders?

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The New York Times today published the third and final installment in a series of articles on surrogacy. This article appears on the front page and is titled, “Surrogates and Couples Face a Maze of Laws, State by State.” Weighing the Risks One of the strongest opponents of surrogacy is Jennifer Lahl, president of the […]

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The “Ease” of Babies Outside the Womb

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“Making Babies Outside of the Womb Has Never Been So Easy” exclaims a new headline in The Atlantic. The article reports that one percent of children now born in the U.S. are conceived via reproductive technology in some form or fashion (IVF, sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, or a combination thereof). As the author notes: […]

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Kajsa Ekis Ekman at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas

An important talk on surrogacy from Australia’s “Festival of Dangerous Ideas.” Jennifer Lahl interviewed the speaker, Kajsa Ekis Ekman, in July, and that interview is posted here.

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Breeders? Featured on ABC News’ Nightline and PBS’ To The Contrary

In August, both ABC and PBS aired segments on surrogacy that prominently featured Jennifer Lahl and our latest film Breeders: A Subclass of Women?. The videos of each segment are embedded below. For more, the film’s website has links to the extensive list of media coverage Breeders? has garnered. Conception Controversy: Regretting Surrogacy, ABC NewsNightline […]

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C-Sections and Surrogates: A Risky Combination

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The Atlantic features an article highlighting the high risks of caesarean section birth deliveries and its increased usage, noting: “surgical childbirth has gone from an act of desperation to the most common major surgery in the U.S” According to new research cited in the article, C-section babies go on to have a 22 percent higher […]

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