Europe passes law making surrogacy a human trafficking crime

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Europe takes another step against human trafficking by including surrogacy in its new law. Parliament voted unanimously to approve the law. But there are some nuances. It will only be considered a crime when the woman is coerced into being a surrogate.

The Vatican has spoken out against surrogacy on several occasions. Both the head of the Holy See's department dedicated to these kinds of questions and the Pope himself have spoken about this.

I consider deplorable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which seriously offends the dignity of the woman and the child. It is based on the exploitation of a situation of material need of the mother. A child is always a gift and never the object of a contract.

Prefect, Dicastery Doctrine of the Faith

This does not mean not understanding the sensitivity of the person who desires a child that is truly his or her own. But there is an invitation to go beyond this desire because we are talking about the dignity of the person which is a much bigger thing than the desire of any one person.

In almost all European Union countries, surrogacy is illegal. In Greece, Portugal and Georgia it is allowed, with certain requirements. For example, in some countries, it is necessary to present a certificate of infertility or to prove that one of the two members of the couple resides in the place where they are applying for surrogacy.

Outside the European Union, there are two countries that support surrogacy. One is the United States and Spain is one of its main clients. In 2022, 138 Spanish children were born in the States using this method, which can cost about $170,000 in some states.

The other country is Ukraine. Before the outbreak of the war, it was much cheaper to have a child there, costing between $30,000-$40,000. But unlike in the U.S., the legal processes were quite complicated and with fewer guarantees.

Head of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

Then, for whatever reason, this couple, who asked for a baby from a rented uterus, can deny any responsibility. They can abandon this woman with the baby. It's really heartbreaking, because this type of relationship between the woman and these reproductive health centers is truly a relationship of slavery.

One of the reasons why women engage in this type of reproductive exploitation is the lack of economic resources. In countries like Nigeria, it is a clandestine business, since it is not legal but there is no law regulating it either.

Chairman, Human and Constitutional Rights Committee in Nigeria

We have the story of the people who have come and they say, look this is the pressure we are getting. People ask us to go about and be marketing our wombs and being surrogates and all that. But we advise them not to do so. For instance, we have young girls in universities who due to pressure, due to poverty, they come to us and ask what do we do? And we always advise them to say no, no, because it is something that is dangerous.

According to the Swiss NGO International Social Security, some 20,000 children are born each year worldwide through surrogacy.


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