At SvD Debatt (25/4 2019) several members of the Swedish Green Party write a misguiding article against a Swedish regulation of altruistic surrogacy. Unfortunately, this issue has been politically delayed, and the consequences of today's situation are serious. We, therefore, want to clarify some facts, and at the same time address the representatives at the Swedish Green Party's congress next week, requesting them to vote for the regulation of altruistic surrogacy.
May 3 2019
This opinion article refers to the investigation presented in 2016, which suggests that surrogacy shouldn’t be regulated, even though the investigation’s own research shows that, in countries where altruistic surrogacy is legal, it works well. Medical experts who participated in the investigation have also expressed a reservation against the investigation’s suggestion not to regulate altruistic surrogacy in Sweden.
Moreover, Great Britain is presented as an example of where the regulation of altruistic surrogacy has led to an increase in the commercial market. We have, however, not been able to find proof of a change in fluctuations in values based on the legislation. On the contrary, a report from 2016 shows that the majority of British children born through surrogacy within Great Britain are born altruistically.
Absent in the governmental investigation, and also in the opinion article at SvD Debatt, is reasoning around the consequences of not regulating surrogacy in Sweden. Children born abroad become both parentless and stateless, and, as has been reported in media during the past week, are prevented from travelling home to Sweden. Children born in Sweden under informal surrogacy arrangements risk losing the right to their parents if something should happen during the long process of second-parent adoption. The lack of legal protection for these children doesn’t comply with the principle of the child’s best interest. The principle must apply to all children, regardless of how they have been conceived and regardless of what opinions the legislator might have about the parents’ actions in the process.
Finally, it’s provoking that the representative of a feminist party like the Swedish Green Party believes that arguments based on people’s right over their own body “fall flat”. The right to self-determination over one’s own body is an important principle, as is a confidence of people’s capacity to make their own decisions. Risks such as coercion must be dealt with, but shouldn’t be met with an absence of regulations or prohibition. A person with a uterus who wants to help an involuntarily childless person who lacks a functional uterus can today choose to undergo surgery and donate their uterus to the other. We as individuals can also choose to have an abortion or donate organs, and should, with regulations in place and a secure structure, also be able to choose to carry a fellow human’s child.
RFSL has advocated the regulation of surrogacy for a long time, and it’s time for the politicians to take responsibility for the current situation where individuals and families lack legal security with everything that entails. Luckily, during the past few years, many parties have taken a position for a regulation, and next in line are, hopefully, also the Swedish Green Party who at next weeks congress are to make a decision in the issue.
Our hopes are that the Swedish Green Party continues to be the progressive force that they have hitherto been and that we can achieve a strong political unity in Swedish parliament for everybody’s right to start a family the way they want to.
Sandra Ehne, national president of RFSL