Markets in Everything: World Babies

by on December 11, 2010 at 10:08 am in Economics, Medicine | Permalink

…Prospective parents put off by the rigor of traditional adoptions are bypassing that system by producing babies of their own–often using an egg donor from one country, a sperm donor from another, and a surrogate who will deliver in a third country to make what some industry participants call "a world baby."

They turn to PlanetHospital and a handful of other companies. "We take care of all aspects of the process, like a concierge service," says Mr. Rupak, a 41-year-old Canadian.

…During one client meeting over tea in Chicago, Mr. Rupak first answers a question about the possibility of breast-feeding if you're not the birth mother. Then, as the conversation wraps up, he says: "I have some good news for you. We'll be offering you and your husband complimentary teeth-cleaning while you're in Hyderabad."

From the WSJ, interesting throughout.

1 Peter December 11, 2010 at 6:15 am

It's the fact that seemingly half the women in America are barren, that enables this practice to grow.

2 Bill December 11, 2010 at 7:16 am

Should change clause above to read: "or else constitutional rights could not be extended to the unborn as some claim"

Typing from Ipad.

3 S. O. December 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

The problem is moral hazard: The surrogate mothers who do the pregnancy part of the business do not have to pay the costs of behaving in a way that reduces the baby's utility after it is delivered.

4 Christopher Rasch December 12, 2010 at 9:28 am

Sonorama, how many people are going to spend $32,000 to bring a baby to term, then not accept it? I'd predict that the number would be vanishingly small.

5 espow December 12, 2010 at 8:51 pm

The world baby is a great idea for spados!

baby monitor

6 SONORAMA December 14, 2010 at 5:53 am

Christopher R., if the $32,000 baby was unexpectedly born deformed, with genetic defects, or any number of maladies, I can easily see the parents "bowing out" of the process. The $32,000 would just been seen as a "sunk cost," and they could always try creating another life again. The WSJ article did mention two surrogate moms being ordered to abort one each of a pair of twins. One has to wonder how much say they have in the matter.

The point I am emphasizing here is that the people ordering up surrogates to deliver children from donor eggs and sperm are creating a NEW life. This isn't like adoption, which presumably SUBTRACTS from the number of destitute or parentless children. This has the potential to ADD to those numbers.

I realize that this opens up huge possibilities for many would-be parents to have a child outside of the normal channels. But it appears that some countries are diving headfirst into this phenomenon without a clue of what can go wrong let alone a plan to deal with it.

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