Sweden may ban surrogacy in all its forms after a high-level inquiry recommended the move.
A report submitted to the government, and authored by Justice Eva Wendel Rosberg who led the governmental inquiry into the practice of surrogacy, states unequivocally that all forms of surrogacy in the nation should be discouraged, and, further, that Swedish citizens should be prevented from travelling abroad for the purposes of procuring surrogate services.
“The most important reason we do not want to allow surrogacy in Sweden is the risk of women facing pressure to become surrogate mothers,” the report states, cautioning that little is still unknown about the implications of surrogacy, not least for the children born by that arrangement.
While the Swedish government now considers such a ban, the report has its own implications for Swedish society, where same-sex marriage is legal, offering the potential for legal challenges based on the desire of gay couples to have equal rights to a family. In recent weeks, for example, single women were granted the same rights as gay couples to access state-funded IVF treatment, bolstering any equal rights case a couple may subsequently choose to bring.
For those who argue for a system of so-called ‘altruistic surrogacy’ meanwhile, where the surrogate mother receives no fee for her birth, the report also deals a blow, asserting that legislating for such arrangements has no effect on commercial surrogacy, and women may still receive secret payment under the guise of altruism, or be pressured to become a surrogate. In addition, substantial ‘expenses’ running into thousands of euro are also usually paid.
Surrogacy is currently permissible in a number of European countries including Ireland, Britain, Denmark and Belgium, as long as the surrogate mother is not given a fee, or is only given ‘reasonable’ expenses. Further afield, commercial surrogacy is legal in India, Russia and some US states.