The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception

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A commercial look at an industry that deals in humanity's most intimate issues, this text challenges us to consider the financial promise and ethical perils we'll face as the baby business moves inevitably forward. Despite legislation that claims to prohibit it, there is a thriving market for babies spreading across the globeFueled by rapid advances in reproductive medicine and the desperate desires of millions of would-be parents, the acquisition of children-whether through donated eggs, rented wombs, or cross-border adoption-has 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 industry's 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 humanity's most intimate issues, this book challenges us to consider the financial promise and ethical perils we'll face as the baby business moves inevitably forward.

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Editorial Reviews

Fortune Magazine
Spar is admirably thorough in this lucid look at the issues more and more parents face.
David Plotz
The Baby Business is as smart and sensible a book as you could hope to find about such a charged subject. Spar is not the first professor or writer to recognize that there is money in infertility, but she is the first to capture and explain the whole market clearly. She leads readers step by step through the fertility industry, from the relative simplicity of sperm donation, to the greater complexity of egg donation and surrogacy, to the cutting-edge medicine of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis, to the oldest infertility treatment of them all, adoption. The principal point of The Baby Business is that making babies these days doesn't always involve the old-fashioned method.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
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. (Feb. 14) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This is one baby book that reads more like weird science fiction than a bedtime story. Spar (Harvard Business Sch.; Ruling the Waves) unwraps the blankets around the booming baby industry worldwide. Putting a price on human life seems crass at best and unethical at worst, but Spar points out the undeniable fact that fertility treatment, stem-cell research, cloning, and adoption have all created a multibillion-dollar market driven by deep-seated human yearnings to have children. Spar inspects all aspects of the fertility industry, from the quest to conceive and surrogacy to designer babies and cloning, and investigates the history, evolution, economics, and politics of domestic and international adoption. She wraps up with suggestions for changes that include assigning property rights to genetic material like sperm and eggs-which courts have been hesitant to do-and exploring various models of regulation for the fertility industry. The controversial nature of the baby business will make this book popular in public and academic library business collections.-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater Libs. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591396208
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2006
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 1,219,329
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The quest to conceive 1
2 A cluster of cells 31
3 Renting wombs for money and love 69
4 Designing babies 97
5 Return to the forbidden planet 129
6 Trading places 159
7 Songs of Solomon 195
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Ultra Magn

    Drives in.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012


    She covred her abdomin wincing. I think it was the blast. Slumps back looking at him with a fading smile. Ill be fine just a little hurt is all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2006

    Informative book, but glosses over problems in adoption industry

    An informative book, but it glossed over the serious problems with the adoption industry. Most women who lose a child to adoption do so not out of ¿choice,¿ but due to pressure, coercion, and a lack of help to keep their child. The adoption industry tears single parent families apart and hurts mothers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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