International adoption in spain. assisting or outsarcing reproduction

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International adoption in spain. assisting or outsarcing reproduction

  1. 1. International Adoption in Spain: assisting or ‘outsarcing’ reproduction?<br />Diana Marre (UAB-AFIN)<br />diana.marre@uab-es<br />
  2. 2. “who is normatively entitled to refuse childbearing, to be a parent, to be a caretaker, to have other caretakers for their children, to give nurture or to give culture (or both)”<br />Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp (1995: 3)<br />
  3. 3. In 2004 Spain was the second country in the world, after the USA, and the first European country, in front of France, in terms of number of adopted children received.<br />
  4. 4. What is the difference between Spain and USA and France<br />In 2007, the United States scored the highest birth rate amongst the rich countries: 2,1 children per woman and the number of domestic adoptions doubled the sum of international adoptions<br />In 2007, France registered the highest birth rate in the European Union: 2,0 children per woman<br />In 2007, Spanish birth rate reached 1,46 children per woman as a consequence of the immigrant maternity (1,97 children per women as opposed to the 1,33 registered by no immigrant population). Very few domestic adoptions take place every year.<br />
  5. 5. Why Spain went from one of the highest birth rates in the European Union (2,8 children per woman) in 1975 to the lowest (1,17) in 1995 alongside one of the highest first maternity ages in the European Union?<br />
  6. 6. In 1978 contraception was legalised. <br />In 1981 the Divorce Act was approved. <br />In 1983 the voluntary sterilisation surgery was allowed <br />In 1985, abortion was legalised but not on demand <br />In 1988, the first Assisted Reproduction Law, authorised the anonymous semen and egg donation without lucrative purposes, every woman at adulthood, eighteen years old, without any maximum age was entitled to decide by herself to become a user of assisted reproduction technologies and surrogacy was forbidden.<br />
  7. 7. These changes that tried to give women control over their body and reproduction capacity as well as over their family life were at the top of the agenda of gender-equality institutions and activists. So, they constitute an achievement of the Spanish feminist movement, amongst others. <br />
  8. 8. Nevertheless, the decreasing birth rates in Spain since 1980 and the increasing international adoption and assisted reproduction rates since 1990 are not a consequence of contraception and abort’s legalisation. It did not go this way in the United States or in France. <br />This could be attributed to the fact that women's incorporation to the labour market in general, and their incorporation in equal condition to men, in particular, still remains a work in progress in Spain. <br />
  9. 9. The Spanish feminist movement has not had the economic and familial equality between men and women amongst its highest priorities and achievements:<br />First, because in postauthoritarian Spain, feminists have been overwhelmed by the amount of other demands that they have had to advance and that had already been achieved in other Western countries. <br />Second, because between the late 1930s and 1975, the existence of a right-wing authoritarian regime contributed to moving Spanish feminists away from issues such as motherhood and child care later on” (Valiente 2003: 288).<br />
  10. 10. Women and young people have the highest rate of unemployment in Spain, the worst type of job contracts and the lowest salaries, young women having a double disadvantage. <br />The difference in salary between men and women at the same work positions is around 26% in average.<br />According to the last European comparative report, at the end of the first part of 2009 Spain had a 33,6% of people between 15 and 24 years old unemployed while the European average was18,3 % <br />
  11. 11. In Spain 63% of workers, 18,3 millions, earn less than 13.400 Euros annually<br />Spain had from 2007 onwards the lowest number of part-time job contracts for women -8 percent compared with Holland's 48% or Sweden's 41% and <br />the highest number of temporary and non permanent contracts are for women -50% of all female workers compared to the 20% of male workers that have this sort of contract-<br />
  12. 12. in Europe, 80% of women can combine work and family responsibilities while in Spain the percentage goes only as high as 66%. This is aggravated by the fact that the Spanish percentage has dropped 8 points since 2005 which places Spain once again at the bottom of the European list <br />In 2009, France had the highest budget regarding family policies amongst the countries of the OECD. This way, France places 3,8% of their GNP in these policies while Spain's does not even reach 1,5% which places the country as low as 28th in the list of the OECD countries <br />
  13. 13. The results of a 2006 study (Delgado 2007), point out that 60% of Spanish women think that children interrupt or cancel their work life. <br />If those women are between 30 and 39 years old, the percentage goes as high as 70%. <br />56% out of a sample of 10.000 women under study said that maternity obliges them to reduce or interrupt their jobs. <br />28% of the group pointed out that after give birth to their first child they were never promoted at their job, <br />17% had to abandon their job and <br />8% said they were discriminated. <br />
  14. 14. 42,6% of women between 20 and 44 years old do not have any children yet <br />19,4% of them say they do not to want to have on <br />When women have a higher educative level they have less children and they start having them much later in their life, at an average of 33,5 years old.<br />
  15. 15. In 2007, the Director of an Infertility Clinic pointed out that <br />“Those women that are studying and finish their degree, freeze their eggs in order to develop a professional career” and <br />“when they decide they want to have children, they go back to those eggs they froze when they were 22 years old. This way they do not have to seek a donor”. <br />This allows them to “get rid of the problem of having to combine their professional life with the birth to a child” and this “works better than the birth policies” because “having a nursery in the work space will not make women have more children” <br />
  16. 16. The European IVF Monitoring Programme (EIM) using data given by European assisted reproduction centres going up to 2005 -last year with data- places France as the country with the highest number of assisted reproduction treatments (71,278) and Spain as the second place right after France. <br />But, while France registers the highest percentage of treatments between 30 and 34 years old, Spain shows the highest percentage between 35 and 39 years old.<br />Other sources point out that 40% of the assisted reproduction treatments taking place in Spain are done to single mothers between 35 and 45 years old. <br />
  17. 17. What are doing the Spanish governments in terms of gender equalities? <br />both the Senate and the Parliament were presided by women, <br />the last Executive Government was founded with equal number of male and female Ministers, <br />out of the three vice-presidents of the Executive Government two are women and <br />a woman assumed the Ministry of Defence while being pregnant<br />
  18. 18. The designation of a 37 year old pregnant woman in her first pregnancy as Spanish Minister of Defence had an incredible media impact in 2008. <br />So, it is easier to understand what the Spanish vice-president- a more than 50 year old woman without children- said about it: “it is not only a curiosity, is it also a symbol of the Spain we want to create” [wishing women do not have to] “choose between a job and a child”<br />
  19. 19. In several countries, to take part to the labour force allowed single women to keep their children with them, reducing the amount of children available for adoption. <br />In Spain, the conditions in which women are incorporated in the labour market delay maternity, producing a 'structural' infertility which is solved through assisted reproduction or transnational adoption. <br />While in other countries the feminist movement has fought for women's right to exercise their maternity this has not been the case in Spain. <br />
  20. 20. C. Valiente (2003: 288), a feminist scholar, attributes this to the fact that <br />“After almost 40 years of being literally bombarded with the idea of mothering and caring as the most important task in women's lives, the last thing Spanish feminists wanted to do after the dictatorship was to pay a lot of attention to the issues of motherhood and child rearing. <br />Women's liberation was then understood as opening the range of concerns that define women's lives, such as waged work, political participation, or control of their bodies. This definition carefully eludes the place of motherhood and child care in the life of the newly liberated female Spaniards”.<br />
  21. 21. In Spain, transnational adoptions are not -at least not majorly- the result of a war. They are a product of what S.Colen (1995) called 'stratified reproduction' <br />Even though from 1994 onwards there has been a singular increase in the remunerated housekeeping alongside the increase in the feminine job market, many Spanish women cannot afford a pregnancy, birth giving and the first three years of their child's life until they can go to school. <br />In the academic course 2005-2006, school’s attendance rates for three (96%), four (100%) and five (100%) year-olds children were amongst the world highest rates <br />
  22. 22. This way, the option of constituting a family after certain age became possible during the 90s not only because of the assisted reproduction techniques but also as a consequence of inequalities that provide children available for adoptions. <br />The 'externalisation' of certain reproductive functions have increased the reproduction's stratification. The 'externalisation' or ‘outsourcing’ towards countries, or rather mothers, in fact women, of certain countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia or Africa often follows the same route previously marked by the dislocation of certain productive functions.<br />
  23. 23. Adoption never benefits birth mothers or provides mediums to improve their situation. The benefits of an adoption never ends up in their hands but rather in the pocket of a large chain of professionals, technicians, intermediates, administrates and the governments of sending and receiving countries.<br />None of them get to 'earn' and they are generally stigmatised as they defy a cultural taboo surrounded by silence: mothers must not give their children away, even though mothers living in wealthy countries –and the elites of most of them– have or claim their right to give birth or to abort with their own decision and demand.<br />
  24. 24. While it has been pointed out how other countries' surrogate maternity can produce alliances between women, as well as introduce hierarchies amongst them (Ragoné & Twine, 2000), Spain's transnational adoption has not produced or promoted any alliance between mothers yet. Birth mothers still constitute an absence. <br />Spanish women and the feminist movement unable to focus on their own mothering, have yet to show any interest at all regarding this an ‘absence’ which ‘presence’ allow them to become mothers and families ‘sharing’ their mothering.<br />
  25. 25. who needs or is normatively entitled to expect of others that they will engage in biological reproductive functions for them, while they retain the “right” to be the providers of the child’s nurture and culture?<br />Marre forthcoming<br />

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