ECPM members vote against maternity traffic

The ECPM is seriously concerned about the practice of surrogacy after a small research done by ECPM in this area has revealed its dangers. The results of the research can be read in the Research Paper: Surrogacy. Furthermore, the ECPM found it necessary to voice this concern in a resolution presented during the ECPM General Assembly. All ECPM members share this concern and a majority of the ECPM members have voted in favor of the resolution Against Maternity Traffic. Below you can read the resolution as presented during the GA. 

ECPM Declaration against Maternity Traffic

The practice of surrogacy, whereby a woman accepts to undergo a pregnancy and give birth to a baby for someone else, is an infringement on fundamental rights and poses serious questions in terms of biomedical ethics, human rights, and the dignity of human persons. The human dignity of the woman carrier is undermined as her body and its reproductive function are used as a commodity. The human rights of the baby conceived as a result of the arrangement are disregarded as he becomes a product to be bought and sold.

Surrogacy, although strictly forbidden in a number of countries, is a highly encountered practice. The unregulated nature of this practice creates numerous legal issues. The ECPM calls for the legislation and the practice of surrogacy in different countries to be assessed on the basis of existing international human rights treaties1.

 The practice of surrogacy is incompatible with the provisions of numerous international conventions2.It is also a direct contradiction of the principle of human dignity that makes up the cornerstone of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which prohibits ‘making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain”. The ECPM, therefore, considers that legitimizing surrogacy contradicts EU and international law and effectively consists in commercializing maternity.

Moreover, the assisted reproduction techniques used within surrogacy pose serious health risk to the women carriers and those donating eggs to be used in these arrangements. The ECPM calls for the health concerns surrounding surrogate motherhood to be seriously considered and openly discussed.

Surrogacy arrangements, in particular commercial surrogacy also commodifies the child born from the arrangement. By relinquishing a child to third party commissioning couple or individual, surrogacy becomes a sort of programmed abandonment causing psychological repercussions for children. A serious and significant problem in many International Surrogacy Arrangement cases is also the legal status of the born children. The ECPM highlights the need to evaluate the feasibility of refusing a transcription of birth certificates or recognition of the legal decisions of the birth country.

The ECPM is concerned with the fertility tourism associated with international surrogacy arrangements which often leads to the exploitation of women in disadvantaged positions and a black market of ‘baby selling’.

ECPM Members recall that surrogacy is not a fertility treatment to restore a person’s deficient ability to procreate and cannot be accepted, therefore, as a remedy for couples who cannot have children.

ECPM Members condemn surrogacy, in particular commercial surrogacy, and strongly encourage the admissibility for countries to adopt laws against this practice.  ECPM considers it is therefore urgent to develop an international convention forbidding and criminalizing the practice of surrogacy.

Such as the ‘Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children,’ ‘Child Prostitution and Child Pornography’, ‘Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women,’ the ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,’ the ‘European Convention on Human Rights,’ the ‘EU Fundamental Rights Charter,’ and the ‘1926 Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery,’ the ‘Conventions of the Rights of the Child’, on ‘the Elimination of All Form of Discrimination’, on ‘Adoption’, ‘Against Slavery’, on ‘Human Rights and Biomedicine’.
See international legal instruments such as: the ‘United Nations Slavery Convention’ (Article 1), the ‘CEDAW Convention (Article 6),’ the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 7 § 1),’ the ‘International Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 9 § 1 and 35),’ the ‘Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (Article 2 a) and Article 3),’ the ‘European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Article 5),’ the ‘Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Article 21),’ the principles of the ‘Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.’ 

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