by Michael Cook | 18 Feb 2012 |
Once again Dutch legislators are organising a legal work-around for a procedure which is clearly illegal in the Netherlands. This time the issue is commercial surrogacy. The Deputy Justice Minister, Fred Teeven, is concerned that more and more Dutch women are seeking surrogate mothers abroad because fulfilling the conditions for legal surrogacy is quite onerous. The surrogate mother must be a family member, must work for free, and must not want any more children herself.
What Mr Teeven proposes is that children born overseas to commercial surrogate mothers be legally recognised as the children of Dutch citizens, even if the procedure remains illegal at home. There will be certain conditions: the mother must be known and either the eggs or the sperm must be Dutch.
René Hoksbergen, an expert in adoption, expressed his opposition in vigorous language, calling it “reproductive prostitution”. He told Radio Netherlands:
“There are good reasons why this practice is banned in the Netherlands. Your starting point has to be the position of the child, and such a process cannot result in a happy child. They will end up having unsettling questions about who they are: ‘I emerged from an Indian womb and the Indian woman who bore me was a poor person who was given 1,000 dollars for her trouble. I was bought and sold.’ It’s ridiculous that laws are being amended to make this possible.”
“Commercial surrogacy amounts to reproductive prostitution. You make use of the bodily functions of another person to fulfill your own needs. That’s what happens in prostitution. It has nothing to do with the interests of the child.”
Professor Hoksbergen estimated that the commercial surrogacy industry in India has a turnover of 1.7 billion euros.