A New Book on Surrogacy by Melinda Tankard Reist and Jennifer Lahl:
Seeking Contributors

We are seeking contributions for a new global collection of first-person accounts by women who were surrogate mothers. The book will be edited by Melinda Tankard Reist (Australia) and Jennifer Lahl (US), and will be published by Spinifex Press for release in late 2017. We would be grateful if you could share this invitation through your networks.


The issue of surrogacy has received heightened interest in the media globally, following a number of high profile cases including ‘Baby Gammy,’ the baby boy with Down syndrome abandoned by his Australian commissioning parents who left him behind in Thailand, returning home with his healthy twin sister. In the face of an expanding reproductive marketplace, facilitating and driving reproductive tourism around the world, debate has fueled over commercialization and regulation of the baby-making industry, with vested interests, primarily commissioning couples and fertility businesses, capturing and dominating the discourse.

Surrogate mothers have been seen as providing a community service, delivering babies to desperate couples around the world. Reduced to ‘carriers,’ ‘ovens,’ and ‘suitcases,’ the surrogate mother has been treated as a means to an end. Surrogacy has even been promoted as a way for poor women to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Time Magazine has labeled pregnancy as one of the ‘10 Best Chores to Outsource.’ Forbes Magazine said India’s baby factories were “a big win for everyone involved.” “You’d rent a nanny or a house painter. Why not rent a uterus?

The physical and emotional costs of surrogacy, the exploitation of underprivileged women, the coercion, the physical, psychological and emotional harms of the procedures to women, the devastating consequences of severing the well-established and unique bond between mother and child, and the bioengineering of children who will never know their biological origins have been played down or dismissed by the global surrogacy industry.

Our new book seeks to change this narrative by bringing surrogate mothers’ stories out into the open, thus providing them with a platform to speak in their own voices. To be published by the award winning feminist publisher Spinifex Press, this collection will be co-edited by Australian feminist author, speaker, and activist Melinda Tankard Reist, and American founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, Jennifer Lahl, best known for her work and award winning documentary films to protect women and children wronged by the practices of third party reproduction.

This collection of 20 first-person accounts aims to work with social justice movements in Australia, the US, UK, across the European continent, Asia, and Africa so that this expanding industry can be stopped, and women and children are no longer exploited for commercial or personal gain.

Publication Details

  • Publisher: Spinifex Press
  • Publication Date: September 2017
  • Editors: Melinda Tankard Reist and Jennifer Lahl

Guidelines for Submissions

  • Length: 2,000-3,000 words. (Authors can use real names or use a pseudonym and change identifying details where necessary. If preferred, contributors can be interviewed or record their stories for transcription.)
  • Submission Deadline: January 15, 2017
  • Contact: Melinda Tankard Reist: melinda@tankardreist.com or Jennifer Lahl: jennifer.lahl@cbc-network.org


Author Profile

Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.