The conclusions of a surrogacy survey requested on behalf of the Swedish Government were announced last week. The report recommends a total ban on surrogacy be it for “commercial” or
“Altruistic” purposes and to sanction couples who seek recourse to surrogacy abroad. Parliament should approve these conclusions between now and the end of the year. The Swedish decision “really constitutes a step forward” and is welcomed by feminists and human rights’ campaigners.
A few voices have been heard to oppose these conclusions. These comments have mainly come from the intended fathers who claim that, “If a woman wants to be a surrogate mother it would be unfair to prevent her from doing so”. Conversely, the report denounces the pressure exerted on surrogate mothers. Isn’t “this industry fuelled by demand?”
Often depicted through photographs of children or happy couples, surrogacy is denounced by the Swedish survey as an industry that buys and sells human lives. Since the spread of surrogacy in the 1970s, it has been a source of numerous scandals and cases of abuse: the death of surrogate mothers, the abortion or abandonment of handicapped children and baby factories in Asia. This really constitutes the marketing of human beings which can be summarised as follows, “Click here, and choose the race and colour of the eyes. Pay and a child will be brought to you”.
The survey also refuses to accept the argument in favour of “altruistic” surrogacy. Legalising altruistic surrogacy will not make the trading go away, as international experience has shown. And “apparently these surrogate mothers are paid behind closed doors”. “A woman cannot be asked to give up the rights to a child that she has never seen or got to know – that in itself is unacceptable pressure”. The concept of “altruistic surrogacy” is used to “lure” people. “Is exploitation really only about giving money to a woman? The less she is paid, the less she is exploited?”
“It’s high time that Europe took on its responsibilities. We are the purchasers. We must show our solidarity and put an end to this industry as soon as possible”, concluded Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Swedish journalist and female activist.
The Guardian (25/02/2016)