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Thursday, February 5, 2015


In August 2014, the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy was held at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands. The Forum invited experts from around the world to come together and engage in critical discourse about the legal, ethical and social protection dimensions of both intercountry adoption and global surrogacy.

The Forum and resulting reports were partially developed in an effort to provide documentary support in anticipation of the 2015 Special Commission on the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (HCIA).

“The Forum was to our knowledge the first time that so many international scholars, activists, and policymakers came together to discuss the myriad concerns about international adoption and international surrogacy in the same space,” said Kristen Cheney, Forum organizer and Senior Lecturer in Children & Youth Studies at ISS. “The conversations centered on ways to improve international standards around the evolving practices of cross-border adoption and surrogacy, in which children typically move from poorer to wealthier countries.”

Scholars, activists, and government officials representing nearly 30 countries – including Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Uganda, the United States and several European countries – participated in the Forum. It was comprised of five thematic areas: (1) HCIA Implementation and the Best Interests of the Child (2) Intercountry Adoption, Countries of Origin, and Biological Families, (3) Intercountry Adoption Agencies and the HCIA, (4) Force, Fraud and Coercion, and (5) Global Surrogacy Practices.

The reports – each authored by a thematic area chair, along with an executive summary by the organizer – document their discussions, including research evidence and practical insights related to the application of international private law to intercountry adoption and the potential of international law to regulate global surrogacy.

Themes that emerge in the reports include the influence of poverty on intercountry adoption and surrogacy practices; the power dynamics at play in defining ‘best interests’ of children and women; and issues of identity, openness, and the importance of preserving information in cases of intercountry adoption and surrogacy, as well as the effects of commercialisation on both practices.


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