ECPM condemns the conference Men Having Babies held in Brussels on May 3rd, 2015, which aim was to make a profit through the commercialization of women and children. The event provided an overview, to gay couples, of the possibilities of commercial surrogacy. It was hosted by the House of the Brussels Region and organized by some twenty private clinics and American intervention services. More than 200 people from all over Europe participated in order to understand the existing legal frameworks in the EU Member States. A baby could cost up to $ 100,000 (90,000 euros).
About sixty supporters of the movement "No Maternity Traffic", an initiative launched by the ‘International Union for the abolition of surrogacy’, protested at the entrance of House of the Brussels Region, where the conference was held. The ‘pro-life’ activists from different NGOs such as Action pour la Famille/Actie voor het Gezin, European Center for law & justice, l’Appel des professionnels de l’enfance, Alliance VITA, FAFCE, La Manif Pour Tous, l’Agence Européenne des Adoptés, Care for Europe, European Dignity Watch, Fondazione Novae Terrae declared to defend women and children´s rights.
Representatives of ECPM were also present during the protest. Two Belgian political parties, The Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur, MR) and the Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre démocrate humaniste, cdH) declared to be opposed to any form of commercialization of the human body as well.
ECPM reminds that these practices violate several treaties, conventions and protocols such as: the conventions of the rights of the child (1989), on the elimination of all form of discrimination (1979), on adoption (1967 and 1993), against slavery (2005), on human rights and biomedicine (1997), and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (2006). In particular the Article 2 of this Protocol: "(a) Sale of children means any act or transaction whereby a child is transferred by any person or group of persons to another for remuneration or any other consideration. The European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised) 2008, Article 17 states: "No one shall derive any improper financial or other gain from an activity relating to the adoption of a child."
ECPM strongly denounces this new form of slavery and reminds that surrogacy treats children as objects with the aim to create and separate them from their mother.
The reaction of civil society and Belgian politicians on the promotional conference on ‘Men Having Babies’ shows that surrogacy left no one indifferent in that, it clearly violates the human rights of both children and women.