Synopses & Reviews
Despite legislation that claims to prohibit it, there is a thriving market for babies spreading across the globe. Fueled by rapid advances in reproductive medicine and the desperate desires of millions of would-be parents, the acquisition of childrenwhether through donated eggs, rented wombs, or cross-border adoptionhas become a multibillion dollar industry that has left science, law, ethics, and commerce deeply at odds.
In The Baby Business, Debora Spar argues that it is time to acknowledge the commercial truth about reproduction and to establish a standard that governs its transactions. In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account, she combines pioneering research and interviews with the industrys top reproductive scientists and trailblazers to provide a first glimpse at how the industry works: who the baby-makers are, who makes money, how prices are set, and what defines the clientele. Fascinating stories illustrate the inner workings of market segments--including stem cell research, surrogacy, egg swapping, designer babies,” adoption, and human cloning--as Spar explores the moral and legal challenges that industry players must address.
The first purely commercial look at an industry that deals in humanitys most intimate issues, this book challenges us to consider the financial promise and ethical perils well face as the baby business moves inevitably forward.
"Among the troubling aspects of new reproductive technologies is the takeover of reproduction by the marketplace. This probing study accepts the free market process while casting a discerning and skeptical eye at its pitfalls. Harvard business prof Spar (The Cooperative Edge: The Internal Politics of International Cartels) explores many aspects of the high-tech commodification of procreation: the fabulous revenues commercial fertility clinics earn from couples' desperate desire for children and the ensuing conflicts between medical ethics and the profit motive; the premiums paid for sperm and eggs from genetically desirable donors; the possible exploitation of poor, nonwhite and Third World surrogate mothers paid to gestate the spawn of wealthy Westerners; the fine line between modern adoption practices and outright baby selling; and the new entrepreneurial paradigm of maternity, in which the official 'mother' simply finances the assemblage of sperm, purchased egg and hired womb and lays contractual claim to the finished infant. Spar considers most of these developments inevitable and not undesirable (they provide kids to parents who want them), but calls for government regulation to curb excesses and protect the interests of all involved. Her sanguinity will not satisfy all critics, but she offers a lucid, nuanced guide to this brave new world." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)