March 1, 2024

Sweden could ban surrogacy

Government report recommends a stop to both altruistic and commercial surrogacy


Eva Wendel Rosberg with Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Erik Nylander / TT    

Both altruistic and commercial surrogacy should be officially discouraged in Sweden, according to a report to the government. Justice Eva Wendel Rosberg, the author, said that “The most important reason we do not want to allow surrogacy in Sweden is the risk of women facing pressure to become surrogate mothers. It is a big commitment and it involves the risks of becoming pregnant and giving birth.” She also says that the government should prevent Swedes from going to IVF clinics abroad to recruit surrogate mothers.

There are still many unknowns about surrogacy, she observed. Women can be subjected to pressure to enter into a surrogacy arrangement. And little is known about how it affects the children themselves. Furthermore, under Swedish law, the birth mother is the legal mother, which could lead to complications if a surrogate changes her mind about the pregnancy.

Justice Wendel Rosberg’s recommendations conflict with another report from the National Council on Medical Ethics (SMER), which proposed that surrogacy would be acceptable provided that the surrogate mother and the commissioning parents had a close relationship.  Justice Wendel Rosberg said that SMER had examined only the medical ethics of the issue and had not studied the numerous complex legal issues involved in a surrogacy contract.

Left-wing Swedish journalist and anti-surrogacy activist Kajsa Ekis Ekman contributed a blistering commentary in The Guardian in support of a ban.

Surrogacy may have been surrounded by an aura of Elton John-ish happiness, cute newborns and notions of the modern family, but behind that is an industry that buys and sells human life. Where babies are tailor-made to fit the desires of the world’s rich. Where a mother is nothing, deprived even of the right to be called “mum”, and the customer everything. The West has started outsourcing reproduction to poorer nations, just as we outsourced industrial production previously. It is shocking to see how quickly the UN convention on the rights of the child can be completely ignored. No country allows the sale of human beings – yet, who cares, so long as we are served cute images of famous people and their newborns?

It will be interesting to see how the politics of surrogacy plays out in Sweden, where same-sex marriage is legal. Gay couples are becoming an important segment of the growing market for surrogate mothers around the world. Will their supporters be able to block the government’ plans?
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