Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

Surrogacy: an attack on human dignity

Strasbourg, 13 October 2016

Clear voices in favour of banning surrogacy at the debate preceding the rejection of the “De Sutter” report


PACE side event surrogacyA conference on the practice of surrogacy was held on 10 October alongside the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Organised by members of the Italian Delegation, made up of several political groups, this event preceded the debates that led to the rejection of the recommendation proposed by the Belgian Senator Petra De Sutter (Socialist Group).

After a short introduction by Milena Santerini (Member of the Socialist Group), the President of the Collective for the Respect of the Person (CORP), Ana-Luana Stoicea-Deram, strongly criticised the draft recommendation presented by Petra De Sutter concerning the “rights of children linked to surrogacy”. She emphasised that surrogacy is a modern form of human trafficking based on the social, economic and emotional fragility of the surrogate mother. At any rate, this process serves to appease a selfish desire, without considering the risks incurred by the mother: embryonic reduction, forced caesarean, hormone injections, etc. In conclusion, Ms Stoicea-Deram condemned the rapporteur’s lack of neutrality since she works as a gynaecologist in Gand (Belgium) and promotes surrogacy in a dedicated clinic in India "Seeds of innocence".

Francesca Izzo, professor of political philosophy and representing the Italian association “Se non ora quando – Libere”, insisted on the fact that while practising surrogacy, the woman, far from being free, “passes from patriarchal authority to subjection to the law of the market through this specific means.

Jean Paillot, expert in health and bioethics law, President of the Confederation des AFC of the Bas-Rhin, focused on the judicial effects of surrogacy. The difference between altruistic and lucrative surrogacy is not in any way justified, because a child is abandoned through a contract in both cases. In addition, the legal protection of the child is not guaranteed because it is not known whether it will be kept and by who. So the stability needed for the child is hypothetical. Mr Paillot indicated that the question of filiation depends legally on the biological line which will have been created for the circumstance.

In the wake of the debates which arose during the study of this report at the assembly session, several French deputies insisted on the fact that a child born from surrogacy was not legally abandoned as the instigators of this debate claim:

  • In general they have nationality of the country in which they were born, so therefore have a passport.
  • If the adoption procedure is completed, the child can obtain nationality of the host country after five years if one of the two parents has it.
  • Meanwhile, the child can receive health care and public education in the host country.

This proved once again that the so-called need for guidelines aiming to protect the rights of children linked to surrogacy was only a trick to open a channel to legitimise the practice of surrogacy.

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