8:56:53 AM

Babies as another commodity


Are babies becoming just another commodity?  Laurie Penny argues yes.  Contradictorily we spend most of our lives trying not to have babies – just about the only medication we regularly take to change a healthy condition – and apparently the latter part of our fertile lives trying desperately to have one, at almost any cost in some cases.  And some are exploiting this situation.

Penny reports that:

In rural Nepal, where the going rate for a healthy orphan is US$6000 ($7449), about 600 children are missing... Between 2001 and 2007, hundreds of Nepali children with living parents were falsely listed as orphans and adopted by high-paying Western couples a world away... Nepal is not the only country where international conventions on the rights of children have been breached as unscrupulous middlemen trade toddlers like livestock to desperate Western couples.

Countries such as Ethiopia and Romania have been forced to either stop or highly regulate adoption in the past due to problems such as desperately poor parents selling their children. Andy Elvin of Children and Families Across Borders comments:

When people want something so very much, like a baby, the amount of money they are prepared to throw at it can be limitless.

I recently commented on falling numbers of domestic adoptions in Western countries.  For example, according to Child Youth and Family, in New Zealand the number of domestic adoptions has fallen 40 per cent in the last five years.  This means that couples who would like to adopt in their own countries are increasingly unable to do so due to very long waiting lists.  Part of the problem is also that people want to adopt babies not children – of which there are many in foster homes.

On this issue Penny comments:

In America, which is the biggest importer, if you like, there are 23,000 children in the foster system waiting for adoption, but most of them will be aged 5 to 16.  

Elvin, of Children and Families Across Borders, commentsthat:

There is an almost inexhaustible demand for very young children to adopt. People looking to adopt are generally looking to adopt children under the age of 3, and preferably under the age of 1. That's your essential problem.

China has had the highest number of inter-country adoptions in 2009, with 5078 Chinese babies leaving the country.  Russia adopted out 4039 and Ethiopia 4564. 

I have no doubt that the majority of Western couples who adopt from overseas are trying to do a good thing – and it is a good thing for both parent and child generally.  It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do, given the attachment problems that many children have after being in orphanages and less than loving environments for the early months or years of their lives. 

However, as genetic research moves towards a designer baby mentality and infertility problems rise in the West, we must be cautious that we don’t let babies be seen as anything less than a gift of life and a precious child – not a commodity for amoral businessmen to make money from.

to make a comment, click here

about this blog | Bookmark and Share

Search this blog

 Subscribe to Demography is Destiny
rss RSS feed of posts

 Recent Posts
Iran leads Muslim countries in fertility decline
20 Apr 2014
Russia: Growing and More Assertive
14 Apr 2014
Japan’s Shrinking Role in the World
8 Apr 2014
Why you shouldn’t take alarmist population predictions seriously
6 Apr 2014
Is Single Occupancy Vandalising the Environment?
4 Apr 2014

 MercatorNet blogs
Style and culture: Tiger Print
Family social policy: Family Edge
US political scene: Sheila Liaugminas
News about bioethics: BioEdge
From the editors: Conniptions

Apr 2014 | Mar 2014 | Feb 2014 | Jan 2014 | more >>

 From MercatorNet's home page

Is “conscious uncoupling” really such a loopy idea?
15 Apr 2014
Gwyneth Paltrow was ridiculed when she explained her divorce, but there's a nugget of truth in her words.

A deal with the devil
11 Apr 2014
Why did American officials refuse to prosecute Japanese doctors who had committed horrendous crimes in World War II?

“Is this the upshot of your experiment?”
10 Apr 2014
A Nathaniel Hawthorne tale of scientific obsession sheds light on today's designer children.

Protecting the first “little platoon”
10 Apr 2014
Society needs family values - but not the faith they are based on? Where a liberal proposal falls down.

US defence policy in the wake of the Ukrainian affair
10 Apr 2014
Rethinking American strategy in the framework of conventional war against enemies fighting on their own terrain.

Uganda, sex ratio, Gender Imbalance, New Zealand, Rugby, population change, Chemical attraction, secularism, depopulation, fertitily, Old age, Internet use, society, productivity, Somalia, Belgium, Belfast, birth rate, world population, slavery, Birth Defects, humanism, pension, Disney, homosexuality, Melinda Gates, death rate, superbugs, Bangladesh, adoption, Australia, Israel, media spin, marriage, Inheritance, PETA, Curtin University, Sterilisation, Ted Turner, enterprise, mobile phones, pro-natalism, elections, UNFPA, Maternity Care, pollution, Parenting, French-Canadians, Canna, utilitarianism, Ukraine, Optimum Population Trust, Hungary, population increase, birth order, Norman Borlaug, Japan, debt, Sir Andrew Green, Elderly, Romania, Beneficiaries, polio, food wastage, Poverty, fertility treatment, disability, Paelstine, democracy, Law, Mortality, materialism, status of women, Rwanda, Romney campaign, Mexico, nursing homes, female feticide, Book Review, Nature magazine, spending, Switzerland, Orthodox Church, Fertility, aging, Western Australia, Housing, Russia, population bomb, climate change, consumer spending, extra-marital birth, forced sterilisation, family, gendercide, Finland, Death Rate, city life, Ministry of Social Development, UCL, Jonathan Sacks,
Follow MercatorNet
Sections and Blogs
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
New Media Foundation
Suite 212
75 Archer Street
Chatswood NSW 2067

+61 2 9007 1187

© New Media Foundation 2014 | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston