Workshop 1 - Economic and demographic challenges of NRT in the trans-national arena
Economic and demographic challenges of NRT in the trans-national
Workshop co-ordinators: Virginie Rozée and Laurence Tain
The development of new reproductive techniques raises new challenges in the national and trans-national arena. Across the world, and at the European level, there are major disparities in the laws governing access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and other medical procedures. Residents who cannot obtain ART in their own country or who prefer a different approach, may seek treatment in countries with more liberal legislation or where alternative reproductive methods are on offer. We will focus here on the trans-national scientific, media and political debates surrounding ART via a number of questions.
Why does legislation differ between countries? Why have countries with similar geographical, historical and cultural profiles enacted such divergent laws on ART? Faced with growing demand for ART, how do countries or medical institutions manage this national and trans-national demand? How do they recruit donors and surrogate mothers? What is the risk that human bodies will be exploited to satisfy foreign demand? Has the world become a giant market for reproductive services, creating social inequality in access to parenthood? More broadly, this demand raises the question of the link between reproductive "provider" and beneficiary countries.
The new reproductive techniques also create new demographic challenges. First, their development may lead to postponement of childbearing among women, and vice-versa. Second, certain countries authorize the selection of healthy embroyos, either male or female. What are the risks of a demographic sex imbalance, as already observed in countries where sex-selective abortion is practiced? The use of NRT also raises questions about the links between ART policies and population policies at national and international levels: Does liberal and facilitated access to these techniques conceal a pro-natalist agenda?