Jean-Paul Van de Walle, who has been called to the Brussels Bar, has revisited the need to ban surrogacy in Belgium when the Belgian Senate has just unanimously accepted a report on this subject, drafted by the Commission des affaires institutionnelles (Institutional Affairs’ Commission). This report, which does not have any legal impact, advocates a “middle-of-the-road approach”, i.e. authorising it under certain conditions but banning its commercialisation”(cf. Gènéthique du 7 décembre 2015).
Jean-Paul Van de Walle considers that surrogacy where “a child is legally perceived as an ‘item’ to be ‘ordered’, ‘produced’ and ‘delivered’ as part of a surrogacy agreement” is tantamount to considering that child as an object. Human dignity forbids that a human being should be “reduced to an object and treated as such”. “Surrogacy directly contravenes this belief, regardless of whether it is carried out free of charge or commercially”.
The child is not the only person to be “reduced” to an object. The mother is also made to function like a machine. She becomes “an instrument” and is “required to provide a ‘quality’ ‘physical’ service to satisfy the desires of others, because she is “using” her body, which is capable of giving life.
The barrister also refers to the fate of the child and his/her genetic origins. The child is separated from “the woman who has carried him/her as the mother” just after birth. The child experiences a “rupture”, the “side effects” of which are unknown.
He therefore explained that “legalising surrogacy would do harm than good for any child born or yet to be born – it would be authorising a practice that violates his/her dignity and basic rights”.
The expression “‘Ethical surrogacy’ will always be a contradiction in terms”, and any surrogacy practice should be banned.
La Libre (16/12/2015) – Institut Européen de Bioéthique (09/12/2015)