February 21, 2024

Russia sanctions Western parents seeking surrogate mothers

In the bewildering world of tit-for-tat economic sanctions, Russia is coming off much better than anyone expected after it invaded Ukraine. President Biden tweeted on March 27: “As a result of our unprecedented sanctions, the ruble was almost immediately reduced to rubble. The Russian economy is on track to be cut in half. It was ranked the 11th biggest economy in the world before this invasion — and soon, it will not even rank among the top 20.”

However, with some clever finessing of the currency and exploitation of Russia’s position as a major energy supplier, the ruble has bounced back and seems to be stronger than ever.

In fact, Russia is imposing its own sanctions. One that is relevant to the interests of readers of BioEdge is an impending ban on commercial surrogacy for overseas parents.

Last month the Duma, Russia’s Parliament passed – almost unanimously — the first reading of a bill banning foreigners from using surrogacy services of Russian woman. The bill has to pass a second and third reading and needs the signature of President Putin.

Retaliation over Western sanctions makes this almost inevitable, but it is not a new measure. Commercial surrogacy is opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, for instance. One of the main sponsors of the current bill, Vasily Piskaryov, of the United Russia Party, has been lobbying for restrictions on surrogacy for some time. He told the Duma: “We don’t know who their parents are, their so-called ‘mom’ and ‘dad’, and why they are purchasing a baby.”

About 40,000 babies born to surrogate mothers had left Russia to be raised by foreigners, he said. “Why should we spend our funds on resolving the demographic problems of other countries?”