Firms seek women from developing nations to perform surrogacy services. The rights of the applicants, rather than those of the mothers and newborns, are privileged. Streamline adoption processes and destigmatize them.
Globally, in 2018 it was reported that the surrogacy industry earned six billion dollars and was projected to increase to 27.5 billion dollars by 2025; that is, an annual growth of 24.5 percent, before the pandemic, said Eleane Proo Méndez, from the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (FCPyS) of the UNAM.
The master in Communication explained that while in the United States the average cost of the procedure is 150,000 dollars and the pregnant woman is paid 20,000 to 30,000 dollars, in Mexico, it is 90,000 dollars and she is given 9,000 to 10,000. In 2020, during the period of confinement, many women in Ukraine and Mexico were attracted to undergo the procedure to alleviate some economic hardship.
Companies from developed nations demand services in developing countries. For example, until recently, India was the preferred site, but when this practice was limited to its citizens, they decided to look for pregnant women in other latitudes, said the researcher.
Women are asked to travel to the United States (mainly) where they take advantage of their vulnerability since they are economically dependent on the person who hires them and is far from their environment. In addition, Tijuana is a locality where they also look for "surrogate wombs" because it is a border city, which facilitates their access to the neighboring country to the north.
According to the Spanish Bioethics Committee, surrogacy is considered when a woman lends herself to gestate; once the baby is born, it is given to the person or persons who ordered it. There are at least 11 modalities; all of them have in common the deprivation of the status of mother to the one who has given birth.
Proo Méndez said that in Mexico there is little data, but it is known that in Sinaloa at least 26 births of this type were registered from 2016 to 2019; and in Tabasco, a similar figure is counted. It should be noted that it is not part of an assisted reproduction technique; processes such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization are, and everyone should have access to them.
The Ph.D. student in Political and Social Sciences gave the talk "Surrogacy: Context and feminist debate in Mexico", organized by the Institute of Social Research of the UNAM, as part of the Seminar Inequalities and Gender Disputes from the Medical Field.
During the meeting, she reflected: "We need to speed up the adoption processes because they are very tiresome and that is one of the discourses that have been most often used by same-sex parent families, who claim that it can take up to six years, and in the end, they are denied. In addition, there is the stigma that if they are not their sons or daughters they already have 'certain genes' or 'customs' and there is a lot of fear of adopting someone who does not have blood ties".
In Mexico, legally, the issue began in 1997 when Tabasco authorized surrogacy and in 2013 Sinaloa did so, especially for married couples with medical impossibility. It is prohibited in Queretaro, San Luis Potosi and Coahuila. In Mexico City there was a project in 2019, which was known as "Assisted Reproduction Law", summarized the FCPyS professor.
From 2002 to 2016, at the federal level, there have been at least 18 attempts to legislate the issue, and the SCJN ruled in favor of the topic in 2015. The problem, she added, is that the initiatives presented in our country to regulate this process support those who contract the services, then the companies that intervene are respected, but the pregnant women are not well visualized, who are only considered to have the right to a contract.
According to the specialist, although in some Mexican states it is allowed, it especially favors those who access this practice but leaves the rights of the pregnant women last.