Law, Politics, Religion and the Creation of Norms for Market Transactions: A Review of the Birth of Surrogacy in Israel
16 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 5, 2008
The Birth of Surrogacy in Israel, operates on three levels. The first is a straightforward account of Israel's adoption of legislation establishing a state-sponsored surrogacy program. To allow surrogacy to proceed, Israel had to grapple with its normative underpinnings and the circumstances in which it was to be conducted. The resulting legislation goes farther than any other in embracing surrogacy, and providing comprehensive legislation overseeing and regulating the practice.
Second, the legislation spurred a far-reaching public debate in Israel, and the book provides a framework for this debate through discussion of the transformation of the relationship between home and market. The family was once viewed as the repository of the human values of warmth, affection, intimacy, love, and set in contrast to the formal, self-interested, arm's length relationships of the commercial world. Surrogacy invades the domestic world, the family becomes the creation of the marketplace, and children come into being as the product of contractual arrangements between perfect strangers.
The book's third level, however, provides an intricate account of the creation of new understandings to guide the practice. If commodification has invaded the private space of the family, so too can values associated with warmth, affection, intimacy, love find their way into market transactions. The exploration of the Israeli enactment of surrogacy legislation occurs in the context of a globalized market for fertility services.
This review first examines the nature of surrogacy, the changes in the practice since the American case of Baby M first captured public attention, and the debate over whether it should be permitted. The review then considers the forces that shaped the Israeli legislation. Third, the review weighs Israel's potential for success in creating shared, appropriate, and enduring values about the conduct of the practice. The review ends with a discussion of the role of state supervision in constructing a viable ethical framework for globalized and competitive market transactions.
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