The ‘Baby Gammy’ case has sparked worldwide interest and comment. At the time of writing at least some of the ‘facts’ of what happened, when, and why remain contested. However, as Sascha Callaghan and Ainsley Newson note in their commentary (see BioNews 766), the case highlights troubling issues that have been exercising the minds of some of us for some time (1-4).
Among the key questions that Callaghan and Newson ask are: whether it is ‘reasonable [for rich countries] to outsource reproductive requirements to countries where women from deprived backgrounds can obtain a slice of the baby marketplace?’ and ‘whether selling reproductive services between countries is moral?’; the latter begging the question of whether selling reproductive services anywhere is moral.
While the ‘Baby Gammy case’ has unleashed global outrage, it would be naïve to think that any national or international body is going to take action soon to address the problems associated with international surrogacy. In 2011, the Hague Conference on International Private Law began to consider the possibility of drawing up internally accepted standards and regulations for international surrogacy similar to those in operation for international adoption (5). However, the formulation of such regulations, if they ever materialise, is a long-term rather than a short-term undertaking (6-8), with the Conference deferring until Spring 2015 a decision on whether and how to pursue this project.