In mid-September 2018 the Spanish Consulate in Kiev has launched the procedure of registration of approximately 30 babies born to surrogate mothers. For a time all attempts to take the kids out of the country was blocked because of suspicions of trafficking and unscrupulous action of medical staff.
Every year hundreds of people from all over Europe travel to the East in the hope of becoming parents: the ban on surrogacy in their home countries leads many Europeans to look for ways to become parents to bypass the system, which often costs a big amount.
That means surrogacy and in Europe where it is legalized, and in some countries legislation is still under development?
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is an auxiliary method of reproduction in which a woman bears a child for the parents, for whatever reason, is not able (or willing) to have children. Usually we are talking about couples (heterosexual or homosexual), but in some cases, the services of surrogate mothers and single parents.
There are two types of surrogacy:
A more common form is surrogacy, which uses in vitro fertilization (IVF) with subsequent induction of pregnancy (introduction of the embryo) the surrogate mother and the egg is taken either from the intended mother, or donor.
Traditional surrogacy means the surrogate mother pregnant with their own eggs. Bear the fruit of the woman, thus becomes the genetic mother of the child.
Where in Europe allowed surrogacy?
The possibility of surrogacy is very limited in Europe. This is evidenced by the data provided by euronews a non-profit organization from Australia Families Through Surrogacy (“Families for surrogate motherhood”), which advises those wishing to seek the services of a surrogate mother.
Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland are among countries that prohibit by law the services of surrogate mothers.
In Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic, the existing legislation is not working or is not sufficient for the execution of authority, which actually means the lack of laws recognizing surrogacy. “In these countries there is no legal procedure for transferring parental rights from the surrogate mother to other parents,” explains the representative of the NGO “Family for surrogacy”.
In the UK surrogacy is legalized for the citizens of the United Kingdom if it is free of charge. Portugal also allows for surrogacy free of charge for heterosexual couples for medical reasons.
The least clear legislation in this area in Russia and Ukraine that allows childless couples, including foreigners, pay in these countries, the services of a surrogate mother.
The laws about surrogacy
How much does a surrogate mother?
Bill Houghton, founder of the consulting firm Sensible Surrogacy, told an interview with euronews that, despite the restrictive legislation, surrogacy is becoming “increasingly popular”.
European couple is working with Sensible Surrogacy is immigrants, primarily from Britain, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany and Sweden.
“About half are heterosexual couples, 50% of homosexual couples,” said Houghton.
A recent study conducted by the NGO “Family for surrogate motherhood” has shown that in Europe, for the services of surrogate mothers often resort Norwegians. Another “big market” in this area is Spain.
Countries that traditionally supplied these services, such as India, Nepal and Thailand, is now closed for queries on surrogates. It happened due to reports of exploitation of women. This led to the fact that in recent years, new centres for surrogacy.
According to bill Houghton, many Europeans prefer to go to the Ukraine, where the services of surrogate mothers are about 50 thousand dollars (or 3.4 million), but not in the US, where it costs twice as much.
This market is also developing in Kenya, where surrogacy will have to pay from 40 to 45 thousand U.S. dollars (or about 3 million rubles), although the adoption process is not stipulated by law.
Critics of surrogacy say that the practice allows to exploit women and turns babies into a living product. Consequences can be emotional and legal challenges associated with parenthood and guardianship.
The activist of the Swedish writer Kajsa Ekis-Ekman, author of “to Be to be sold – prostitution, surrogacy and the split personality”, insisting that all forms of surrogacy should be prohibited.
“Surrogacy is the sale of babies and the exploitation of women and is contrary to the UN Convention on the rights of the child, and therefore it should be banned” she said in an interview with Euronews.
“Surrogacy makes babies in live goods, and women – in the “living factory”. In addition, this market encourages human trafficking, and children can fall into the wrong hands”.
But there are those who do not agree with such a rigid position.
“It is proved that the prohibition of surrogate motherhood just encourages the practice of clandestine maternity, creating unnecessary risks and makes it more vulnerable surrogate mothers and newborns and their parents,” explained the founder of “Families for surrogate motherhood” Sam Everingham.
“Cross-border surrogacy is faced with many challenges. Given the high level of infertility in developed countries and a growing number of homosexual unions, Europe needs more attention to the requests of its citizens for surrogacy and to work on laws that will wish to remain within the boundaries of one state”, – concluded Everingham.