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Debate over surrogacy in Sweden and the Netherlands

In neither country is surrogacy regulated by law, but the Dutch and Swedish governments support “altruistic surrogacy”.

FUENTES AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus 06 DE JULIO DE 2023 12:56 h
Photo: [link]Diana Polekhina[/link], Unsplash CC0.

Surrogacy has generate a heated debate all across Europe. In most countries it is still not regulated by law.

Recently, members of the European Parliament warned about the risk of abuse, human trafficking, and violation of the rights of vulnerable women and children, that surrogacy might bring.

The European Commission’s recently proposed the creation of a EU-certificate of parenthood, which is currently being debated in the European Parliament, and aims to put pressure on member state governments to sanction surrogacy even though a country may not allow the practice.


The Netherlands to allow “altruistic surrogacy”

In the Netherlands, reports CNE News, the Dutch government is preparing a draft law that will forbid women to bear children for profit, but make altruistic surrogacy easier.

According to the minister of legal affairs, Franc Weerwind, commercial surrogacy has to be criminalised, and both the asking party and the bidding party could be punished with prison sentences of up to two years.

Due to a lack of regulation, surrogate mothers in the Netherlands can now receive money or other form of payment, but the government wants to stop that, because "there should simply be no trafficking in children", said Weerwind.

However, the so-called altruistic surrogacy needs to be regulated, in order to make it clear for the surrogate mother, the child and the wishing parents.

The new draft law will enable children born from altruistic surrogacy to "at least legally get a good start", pointed out Weerwind.

Furthermore, it will allow wishing parents to announce that they are looking for a surrogate mother, and women to make their availability public. Advertising for surrogacy was prohibited until now.


Political division

Despite all the wok put in the bill, the government coalition is also divided on the issue.

Mirjam Bikker, head of the Christian party ChristenUnie, a member of the government, tweeted that for her party, the best interests of the child come first. That is why they "object to further legal regulation of surrogacy. It quickly increases the likelihood of abuse, even internationally”.

Meanwhile, the Reformed Protestant SGP party stressed that the draft law is just part of a "broader discussion on social engineering", where the government is "applying the same line of argument as with abortion and prostitution: it is better to regulate it properly than to prevent worse".


Surrogacy on the rise in Sweden

Like in the Netherlands, surrogacy is still not regulated in Sweden, but people can ask women to carry a child for them altruistically.

However, the majority travel abroad to get their child and there are many agencies in Sweden that connect intended parents with clinics abroad.

There are no official statistics about surrogacy in the country, but the Swedish Authority for Family Law and Parental Support points out that the number is growing.

The Swedish government coalition is also divided on how to deal with surrogacy, which has become more popular than adoption, especially since a celebrity told how he and his husband got a child through surrogacy in the United States.

In a public debate organised by Swedish Christian newspaper Dagen, the Christian Democrats (KD) and the centre-right Moderate Party (M) showed their differences on the issue.

While Ann-Sofie Thuresson, first vice chairman of the Moderates women’s union, advocated for altruistic surrogacy and underlined that commercial surrogacy should not be ruled out surrogacy, the parliamentary of KD, Christian Carlsson, emphasised the emotional bonds that form during pregnancy and birth, arguing that children are not a commodity.

Annika Strandhäll, member of parliament of the Social Democrats, and chairman of Sweden’s Social Democratic Women’s Federation, is against surrogacy, which she compares to prostitution, trafficking, and organ trade.

For her, altruistic surrogacy does not exist because “there aren’t any middle-class mothers who come forward as surrogate mothers. It is poor women who are often already exploited and do this for financial reasons”, she told Swedish daily Aftonbladet.




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