For the second time, the Hilton Hotel in Brussels is hosting the Men Having Babies conference“presenting options to same sex couples for recourse to a ‘surrogate mother’ in the United States” (see GPA: Une foire commerciale prévue à Bruxelles _ a commercial exhibition to take place in Brussels). A group of citizens gathered outside the hotel to protest against this “bursary for surrogate mothers” and to remind people that the European Parliament declared a total ban on surrogacy in December 2015.
For Géraldine Mathieu, lecturer at Namur University and head of projects for Defence for Children International, the surrogacy debate must refocus on the child. Men Having Babies has clearly shown its desire to“help gay men who want a child” by “creating children in a unique attempt to satisfy this desire”. But,“however legitimate and powerful that desire may be,” Géraldine Mathieu “loudly proclaims” that,“the right of the child does not exist. A child is a person and is therefore not for sale”.
She questions how such practices come under the legal umbrella: “Does the law still have room to manoeuvre when faced with these phenomena that appear to exceed it scientifically, economically and sociologically? Should facts determine the law or the law determine facts?” She “does not want to believe that the law could nowadays be reduced to nothing more than a mechanism for promoting personal desire. The law still has something to say and must say it”.
It is definitely easier to “beg for ‘tolerance under certain conditions’ than to ban something altogether”: “Desire does not tolerate frustration gladly”. But “human beings, who have a conscience, basically know inside that limits must be drawn for certain things”. Furthermore, “what credibility would the future parents have in the eyes of their children when an essential part of their parenting skills is to impose limits and to explain precisely to their children that no, we cannot do everything or have everything all of the time… “ ?
As far as Belgian community councillor, Aymeric de Lamotte, is concerned, this conference at the Hilton Hotel highlights the legal loophole in surrogacy legislation in Belgium: “anything that is not clearly prohibited is actually authorised”. In fact, several hospitals practise surrogacy in Belgium. However, they are obviously contravening two basic legal principles: human dignity and the unavailability of the human body. Aymeric de Lamotte is calling for an international ban on surrogacy, quoting Sylviane Agacinski: “there’s no cure for all ills”.
La libre, Géraldine Mathieu (23/09/2016); Belga (25/09/2016); Le Soir, Aymeric de Lamotte (23/09/2016)