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Europe makes surrogacy a human trafficking crime

Rome Reports
Rome Reports
ROME REPORTS is a private, independent television news agency based in Rome, Italy, specialising in covering the Pope and the Vatican.

The European Parliament voted unanimously on a law to criminalise surrogacy in steps towards eradicating human trafficking. 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 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,” the pope stated.

“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.”

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez spoke about the need to be understanding of the natural desire to have kids, yet that it does not override the dignity of the human person.

In almost all EU countries, surrogacy is illegal. It is legal in Greece, Portugal and Georgia with certain requirements.

In some countries, it is necessary to present a certificate of infertility or prove that one of the two members of the couple resides in the place where they are applying for surrogacy.

Outside the EU, there are two countries that support surrogacy: the United States and Ukraine. In 2022, 138 Spanish children were born in the US using this method, which can cost about $170,000 in some states.

Before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, it was much cheaper to have a child there, costing between $30,000—$40,000. But unlike in the US, the legal processes were quite complicated and with fewer guarantees.

“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,” said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

“It’s really heartbreaking, because this type of relationship between the woman and these reproductive health centres 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. It is not legal but there are no laws regulating it either.

“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,” explained Chairman of the Human and Constitutional Rights Committee in Nigeria, Sonnie Ekowowusi.

“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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