Recourse to surrogacy in Ukraine: an Italian couple acquitted by the Milan Court

Publié le : 28 February 2014

 The case goes back three years when a heterosexual Italian couple decided to travel to  Ukraine to meet with a surrogate mother in the Biotexcom Clinic in Kiev. Surrogacy is legal in Ukraine where "legislation allows the baby of a surrogate mother to be registered in the name of the parents who ‘hired her womb‘". A total of 30,000 Euros were paid out – one amount was paid to the clinic and another amount to the Ukrainian surrogate mother. After the birth, the surrogate mother signed a document "severing any genetic links with the child" thereby allowing only the Italian couple to be recognised as the parents on the birth certificate. 

However, when the couple attempted to register the Ukrainian birth certificate in Italy, the registrar was surprised. He had never seen the mother pregnant, bearing in mind that the couple’s home town of Lombardi is small and close-knit. The registrar reported the couple "who could be sentenced to 15 years in prison for their involvement with a surrogate mother in Ukraine". 
However, the Milan Court decided to acquit the Italian couple.

 According to the magistrates, "the couple’s situation is symbolic because, despite medical and scientific advances, married couples with fertility problems cannot consolidate their right to parenthood". Moreover, the magistrates granted the couple "the right to acknowledge the child". 

This kind of decision therefore paves the way for almost 4,000 families who are currently in a similar position. However, the Ministry for Justice decided to take the initiative. In a press release addressed to ambassadors in countries where surrogacy is authorised, the ministry "requires embassy officials to warn Italian nationals that they are risking imprisonment and could have their child taken away from them if they return to Italy". 

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