WAVE member Autonomous Women’s Centre takes stance against legalization of surrogacy in Serbia

Considering the announcement of legalization of surrogacy, proposed in the new pre-draft of The Civil Code, the Autonomous Women’s Centre warns the public, state institutions and members of the group working on the document, that the legalisation of surrogacy represents legalisation of serious forms of exploitation of women and trafficking in children.

Surrogacy, in its essence, represents exploitation of women’s bodies and trafficking in children, especially considering surrogacy for commercial reasons, which has been announced by the member of the working group proposing new draft of the Civil Code, Prof. dr Miodrag Orlić. Use of the term “moderate reward” in the amount of 8.000 to 15.000 euros doesn’t diminish the fact that this is exploitation and trafficking. Women will get pregnant, carry pregnancy (which can be of the high risk) and deliver a child to other people, and in return receive this reward.

In Serbian society, where one third of the population is living in the poverty and social exclusion, considering the fact that women are always more affected by the poverty, it is clear that most of the women in the need of financial resources will be forced to take the role of surrogate mother. Additionally, in society where half of the women have survived some form of violence during their life ime, it is of the serious concern that violent partner or male family member could force women to become surrogate mother in order to collect house income. The “award” mentioned above is actually the money for renting a woman’s body and buying a child.

With Professor Orlić, who announced legalisation of surrogacy, proposed by the pre-draft of the law, we agree only on the fact that surrogate mothers, as he announced, will be incubators whose reproductive organs will be exploited by all others except themselves.

This is not the first proposition of the surrogacy legalisation in Serbia, although it is clear that the state would, by introducing surrogacy, violate obligations defined by international agreements, but also decided to go in the opposite direction from the European values and directives that should be applied by the member states. The European Parliament has defined surrogacy as a serious problem that represents exploitation of women’s bodies and women’s reproductive organs. In the same time, legalisation of surrogacy is violating UN Convection on the Rights of Children. Articles of this Convention describe specific situation allowing separation of the child from biological parents, not mentioning surrogacy as the specific situation.

The state dedicated to combating violence against women and protecting rights of the children should not allow such practice. We trust that this commitment remains at work.

Original (in Serbian): https://www.womenngo.org.rs/vesti/1434-saopstenje-za-javnost-legalizacija-surogat-materinstva-je-legalizacija-eksploatacije-zena-i-trgovine-decom