CFS: Transnational Reproductive Travel (IJFAB)

Calls for Papers for a Special Issue of the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics: Transnational Reproductive Travel

Vol 7, No. 2: Special issue on Transnational Reproductive Travel | The deadline for submission for this issue is June 1, 2013. | Guest Editors: Françoise Baylis and Jocelyn Downie

The transnational fertility industry is a multibillion-dollar global industry that continues to grow exponentially, with few guidelines or regulations. Indeed, it has been suggested that “internationalization has made oversight laughable… regulators are dogs with no teeth” (Carney 2011).

At the heart of this industry are women who sell their ova and gestational services. Typically these women – poor women or immigrant women in low or middle income countries or students in middle and high income countries – have few options to earn the money they need to live and pay their bills. The purchasers are single women or men and heterosexual or homosexual couples who travel abroad to reduce costs, to access better quality care, to access medical resources otherwise not available in their home country, to reduce wait times, to avoid legal prohibitions on particular services or to avoid legal or professional prohibitions on access by particular demographic or social groups.

Arguably, this industry flourishes, in part, by capitalizing on differences in legal regimes, differences in wages and standards of living, and differences in cultural and ethical norms. A feminist perspective calls into question the role of exploitation, coercion, vulnerability, and inequity in transnational reproductive travel (at least as it is currently practiced and is being developed).

The aim of this special issue is to make a positive contribution from an explicitly feminist perspective to the ethical debates surrounding transnational reproductive travel. Contributions analyzing aspects of the debate that, to this point, have received insufficient, if any, attention are particularly welcome.

The Guest Editors invite submissions on any topic related to transnational reproductive travel. Potential topics for this volume include:

  • Does transnational reproductive travel increase or threaten women’s autonomy? Does reproductive outsourcing to low and middle income countries benefit women by increasing employment opportunities or further subjugate women who are at increased risk of exploitation and coercion?
  • How does transnational contract pregnancy increase or cloud our understanding of vulnerability? What is the same and what is different, from a feminist perspective, about the vulnerability of those who purchase gestational services and the women who provide these services?
  • From a feminist perspective, what rules should govern the import and export of reproductive tissues whether for reproductive or research use?
  • When the motivation for transnational reproductive travel is to avoid domestic legal or professional ethical constraints, should health care providers in the traveler’s home state facilitate transnational travel with a view to promoting access to safe and effective interventions, or should they actively discourage such travel?
  • Should women be compensated for their reproductive labour? If so, what would be a fair wage for providing eggs or 9 months of gestational services?
  • National self-sufficiency and the harmonization of laws are two strategies that have been suggested to reduce the need for individuals and couples to travel abroad. How might either of these strategies be evaluated from a feminist perspective?

Authors who plan to submit papers are encouraged to contact the Guest Editors prior to submission. All papers must be submitted in IJFAB style.


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