Italians travelling abroad for surrogacy could be criminalised
Progress Educational Trust13 February 2023
Italian couples seeking surrogacy abroad could face fines or imprisonment if the Italian parliament passes a proposed new bill.
Surrogacy has been illegal in Italy since 2004, but families have continued to find surrogates overseas, in countries such as India, Canada and the US. Under the new law, Italians who travel abroad for surrogacy could face fines of up to a million euros or a prison sentence of up to two years upon their return.
The bill, introduced by senators close to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, describes surrogacy as 'the commercialisation of the female body and the treatment of babies as merchandise'. It aims to make the same penalties that already apply to seeking surrogacy arrangements within Italy the same wherever the surrogacy takes place.
Meloni's government emphasises traditional family values. Before becoming prime minister, she said that seeking surrogacy should be considered a 'universal crime' and that: 'a uterus for rent is a commercialisation of women's bodies and human life.'
Presenting the bill, supporters claimed that 'recourse to this practice has dramatically increased and surrogacy is becoming a veritable business which, just to give an example, is €2 billion a year in India.'
India passed laws outlawing commercial surrogacy in 2021.
Opponents of the proposed legislation include Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families) which supports same-sex parents in Italy. President of the association, Alessia Crocini, said: 'This is not worthy of a European country in 2023'.
Crocini expressed concern that couples who do seek surrogates internationally would potentially face arrest and accompanying sanctions on arrival at Italian airports.
Same-sex couples in Italy are not permitted to adopt children, and lesbian couples cannot access IVF treatment or donor sperm. Although some couples have previously had children through surrogacy abroad, there have been problems with the children's legal parenthood and citizenship status in some cases.
According to First Post, the law will also ban Italian same-sex couples from trying to have children outside the country.
Sources and References
8 February 2023. Times
Italian families seeking surrogates abroad could face jail or €1 million fines
9 February 2023. First Post
Surrogacy ban: Italy planning blanket law against 'procreative tourism', offenders to face €1m fine
8 February 2023. Telegraph
Italians travelling for surrogacy face €1m fine in plan to eliminate 'procreative tourism'
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.