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Buying Babies

Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Sarah Dingle
Chaired by Andrew West
Sun 5 April 3:30pm Marconi Room
Sun 5 April 3:30pm Marconi Room
If it’s against the law to sell another human, why are we still allowed to effectively buy a baby through surrogacy?

The UN warned in 2018 that ‘commercial surrogacy… usually amounts to the sale of children’. While surrogacy is not a new phenomenon, technological advances such as IVF, softening of cultural attitudes, and the trend for having children later have fuelled a recent boom in surrogacy. And surrogacy’s soaring popularity has come at a very human cost, with stories of potential mistreatment hitting the headlines several times in recent years. On top of child welfare concerns, there are also examples of surrogate mothers being exploited by agents and kept in inhumane conditions. While the exploitation concerns have led to many countries shutting down their previously booming surrogacy industries, new markets have sprung up because of the inconsistency of laws around the world. Is there ever a ‘good’ type of surrogacy? And is there a way to regulate the practice effectively?

In patriarchy women exist for men… In capitalism the poor exist for the rich. So if you combine the two of these, you get prostitution and surrogacy.
Kajsa Ekis Ekman

Kajsa Ekis Ekman

Kajsa Ekis Ekman is a Swedish journalist, writer and activist. She is the author of several works about the financial crisis, women’s rights, and capitalism critique including Being and Being Bought and Debt as a Weapon: The euro crisis seen from Athens. She writes for the culture section of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, and is an op-ed columnist at the left-wing daily ETC. She also writes for The Guardian, TruthDig, and Feminist Current. Kajsa campaigns against surrogacy and prostitution. She has founded the network, Feminists Against Surrogacy and the climate action group, Klimax.


Sarah Dingle

Sarah is a dual Walkley Award-winning investigative reporter and presenter with the ABC, working across radio and TV current affairs. She is donor conceived, and is currently writing a book on donor conception and the fertility industry. In 2019 she addressed the United Nations on the rights of the child in the age of biotechnology. As a journalist, her work for the ABC has also won the Walkley Foundation’s Our Watch award for reporting on violence against women and children, UN Media Peace Prizes, Amnesty Media Prizes, the Voiceless Media Prize, and the Australian College of Educators Media prize. In 2010 she was the ABC’s Andrew Olle Scholar.


Andrew West

Andrew West is a journalist and broadcaster who currently presents The Religion & Ethics Report on RN. He was a senior reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald and The Australian and is the author of two books on Australian politics and culture, including a biography of the former Foreign Minister and NSW Premier Bob Carr.

Andrew’s work has appeared in The Best Australian Political Writing (MUP, 2008), The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, The Monthly and The Christian Science Monitor. He has been a regular fill-in host of two flagship RN programs, Late Night Live and Saturday Extra, and a correspondent for BBC Religion.