On Friday 3rd March 2023, experts from 75 nations gathered in Casablanca for a seminar during which they released a proposed International Convention for the universal abolition of gestational surrogacy.
The multi-disciplinary seminar included research scientists, lawyers, doctors, anthropologists, psychologists as well as human rights experts. It aimed to “shed light on the subject from an anthropological and ethical viewpoint on the practice of surrogate motherhood, as well as a grass-roots approach“. The gathering was opened by Aude Mirkovic, a French lawyer, in the presence of observers from the UN Children’s Rights Committee.
The proposed international convention includes several complementary elements:
- Condemnation of surrogate motherhood in all its modalities and all its forms, whether or not it involves any financial compensation.
- Commitment by States to combat the practice in order to protect and preserve the human dignity and rights of women and children, by the adoption of concrete measures and, in particular by prohibiting gestational surrogacy on their territory.
- Rejection of any legal value for contracts involving the hiring of a woman to carry and deliver a child.
It also proposes to punish:
- Any person or legal entity acting as an intermediary between surrogate mothers and sponsors
- Any person resorting to gestational surrogacy on their territory.
- Any of their nationals who resort to gestational surrogacy outside their borders.
The practice of surrogate motherhood is particularly serious: on the one hand it promotes the exploitation of women and their subservience to sponsors, and on the other hand, the programming of a child who, by contract, will be separated from the woman who bears and delivers it, clearly contravenes children’s rights. The suffering of some couples confronted with infertility should not allow to hide the fact that surrogate motherhood is a violence against women and an original child abuse which no amount of regulation can repair.
In France, successive governments have for several years been promising international actions but with no follow-on effect. The present declaration therefore represents an important step towards the universal prohibition of gestational motherhood and the mobilisation of States worldwide.
Alliance VITA which for a long time has been working for the international prohibition of surrogate motherhood, welcomes this new collaborative initiative: it opens the path for true progress for the protection of women and children against exploitation.
International file on gestational surrogacy: https://www.alliancevita.org/bioethique/gpa-a-linternational/