On May 13, 2016 the Portuguese parliament adopted a law authorizing gestational surrogacy for women having uterine problems, as well as allowing all women access to medically assisted procreation (MAP).
Until now under Portuguese law, access to MAP was limited to male-female couples, either married or having lived together for a minimum of two years. The new law is willing to extend it to all women, whether infertile or not, and to single women or women living with a person of the same sex. Regarding the recourse to surrogate mothers, it will now become possible in cases of medical infertility due to hysterectomy or uterine disfunction, without any monetary compensation.
Observers are correct in seeing this as a first step towards subsequent extended openness, as underlined by the daily paper, Liberation: “Portugal thus has a foot in the European club of countries where gestational surrogacy is not considered taboo”.
The law was narrowly passed by a slim majority vote, with the communist party voting against the law. To be definitely enacted, subject to appeal at the Constitutional Council, it must also be signed by the President of the Republic.
Caroline Roux, Director of VITA International, and coordinating member of the collective group No Maternity Traffic, involved in the universal abolition of gestational surrogacy states:
« Having recourse to surrogate mothers is a serious offense to women’s rights, no matter what restrictions the Portuguese parliament intends to provide. Whereas the European Parliament has just condemned all forms of recourse to surrogacy, Portugal is not only seriously violating women’s rights, but also those of the child by instituting and planning the abandonment of the baby by the mother who carries him in her womb. A child is not something to be given away like an object, nor is a woman’s body to be rent, more or less free of charge. Concerning the evolution of access to MAP, society is henceforth endorsing that children can deliberately be deprived of having a father. In all the cases provided for in this law, we deplore that children are abused and treated unjustly to satisfy adults’ desires.”