Reproductive Outsourcing

An interesting trend is developing in America and across the globe: reproductive outsourcing.  Yes, you read that right.  Parents are paying for overseas surrogates to carry their child to term.  And what happens to be one of the most popular overseas locations for the process?  India.

Surrogacy is one of several assisted reproduction options available to couples who have experienced difficulty producing a child.  Surrogacy involves the implantation of a fertilized egg into the womb of a third party, referred to as the surrogate (the technical term is gestational carrier).  The surrogate carries the baby to term, at which point it is transferred, physically and legally, to the waiting parents.  The process can be very difficult and time consuming.  Because there is not a guarantee that any one egg will produce a viable pregnancy, oftentimes multiple eggs must be fertilized.  With each attempt, the prices rise.  This makes multiple attempts fairly expensive.  Should the process be as success, the issue of the welfare of the surrogate mother can bring additional costs.  If a couple decides to use a surrogacy service, the care of the surrogate mother is usually incorporated into the cost of the service.

Additionally, there are surrogacy laws that must be considered.  For example, in America, there seems to be three categories when it comes to the enforcement of surrogacy contracts between potential surrogates and the party seeking to have a child: either the state enforces them (followed by states such as Virginia, Florida, and Illinois), prohibits them (the path chosen by states such as Washington, D.C.,… <Read More>

United States and Russia Reach Adoption Accord

In July of 2011, more than a year after an adopted child “abandonment” scandal led Russian officials to threaten suspension of adoptions of Russian children by Americans, the United States and Russia finally reached an accord that will subject Americans who adopt Russian children to heightened scrutiny. The issue spurred worldwide attention in April 2010, when 7-year old boy Artyom Savelyev (renamed by his adoptive parents as Justin Hansen) was put on a flight from the United States and landed in Moscow alone with no other explanation but a type-written note from his adoptive mother describing how she could no longer be a parent to Justin because of his severe emotional problems and violent nature.

According to statistics of the United States Embassy, Russia is one of the largest sources of adopted foreign children in the United States, with more than 50,000 adopted by American families since 1991.

Under the new agreement, the U.S. State Department will work closely with Russia’s Ministry of Education to gather periodic reports on the living conditions and psychological and physical development of the adopted Russian child.

In fact, Moscow’s government is now requiring American families to undergo four home visits by an American social worker within three years after adopting a Russian child. This will enable the adoption agency to report to Moscow on the child’s status. Under the agreement, the agency is further held responsible for tracking the child until the age of eighteen and continuing to report any instances of abuse, neglect, termination of the adoption, or adoption by another family.… <Read More>

Wedding Laws in Afghanistan

How do you think Americans would handle having their wedding celebrations regulated and restricted by the government?  What if the government told you what you should wear to your wedding?  How many guests you could invite?  How much money you could spend?  How you could celebrate your special day?

Government officials in India and Afghanistan are both considering laws to limit the size and cost of weddings in an attempt to help alleviate debt and food waste. But according to The Guardian, the Afghan law would also mandate the creation of wedding committees, who would police ceremonies to make sure that brides are dressed modestly and men and women remain in separate rooms.

Afghanistan’s wedding industry has been on the rise over the past few years, and elaborate, glittery, and sometimes low-cut wedding gowns — decidedly not in compliance with Islamic sharia, as the new law would require — are par for the course. So are big pre- and postwedding celebrations, like henna night, which would also be out under the proposed law, which bans the gathering of large groups in wedding halls for other types of ceremonies.

The original rationale behind the law was apparently to keep young grooms from being plunged into debt after throwing a lavish wedding, but the morality elements put a new spin on it entirely. What do you make of it?… <Read More>

Coming to America! A Learning Experience in Alternative U.S. History

Immigration into the United States is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and stressful undertakings that many people and families can undergo.   In order to become a US citizen, immigrants must pass a citizenship test, among other things, but recently one author questioned the validity of the questions that were being asked.

What are we teaching our newest citizens in the 100 questions they are asked to learn to become a US citizen?  Is this just a memorization exercise?

Maybe INS should take a page from the SAT, and require an essay!… <Read More>