Reproductive Travel and Tourism

Authored by: G.K.D. Crozier

The Routledge Companion to Bioethics

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415896665
eBook ISBN: 9780203804971
Adobe ISBN: 9781136644849


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Technological advancements in medicine, communications, and travel have had a significant impact on how people address their medical and reproductive health needs (Reed 2008). Increasingly, patients are crossing national borders to seek reproductive goods and services, including those requiring human bodily resources such as gametes (eggs and sperm) or the services of a surrogate mother. This phenomenon—referred to here as “reproductive travel”—raises a host of ethical issues, many of which resist easy solutions. Although these ethical issues overlap considerably with those raised by surrogacy (paid and unpaid), ova harvesting, medical tourism, and other topics discussed in this volume, this essay will focus primarily on those issues that are unique to the phenomenon of reproductive travel. Specifically, I focus on tensions between reproductive autonomy of individuals and the duties of nations, the racial and gendered dimensions of reproductive travel, and the exploitation and constraints on consent of women who are paid to provide reproductive bodily resources (ova and surrogacy services, specifically).

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