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Ciudadanos wants to regulate surrogacy – but with no payment to the woman carrying the baby
A PROPOSED law covering surrogate pregnancy is on the table thanks to centre-right party Ciudadanos, who wants to make sure parents who have no other way of having children are fully covered against anything that could go wrong.
But the legislation text bans any financial compensation from changing hands, making surrogacy purely altruistic – a situation that could put many potential 'baby-carriers' off as they go through the discomfort and inconvenience of pregnancy to produce a child that will not be hers, and will get nothing out of it for herself.
Surrogate mothers must be Spanish or resident in Spain, and must be at least 25 years old which, again, could limit the number available as female fertility begins to decline from the late 20s and the probabilities of getting pregnant from age 35 onwards are less than 5%.
But it would prevent teenage girls from becoming surrogates to earn money, which is beneficial since pregnancy at such a young age is potentially dangerous.
Ciudadanos believes 'there are generous people out there who are willing to donate life', to justify the non-remuneration aspect.
But the party's draft law means a major step forward in solving the legal hassles faced by heterosexual couples where the woman cannot conceive or carry children, or all-male couples or would-be single dads.
Party leader Albert Rivera says babies born via surrogacy 'should not have to queue at the doors of the civil registry', given that at present, with the method not being recognised in Spain, it is impossible to register a child's birth to both parents without the surrogate mother having to be named as one parent – legal hurdles that can mean a baby effectively has no identity, and potentially no healthcare rights ore even a legal school place.
Rivera adds that with the ban on financial compensation for surrogate mothers, parents who need to make use of one 'will not have to remortgage their house to have a baby', nor go abroad.
“Prohibiting surrogacy is not the solution,” says Rivera, alluding to the right-wing PP's and its main rival, the PSOE's having stated they were against allowing 'rent-a-womb' schemes to be recognised in Spain.
Rivera calls upon the rest of the parties to 'be brave' and 'not put up obstacles or be influenced by in-house pressures'.
He went along to a conference on 'new family structures' yesterday (Saturday) at the San Antón market in Madrid's Chueca neighbourhood, well-known for its proliferation of bars and clubs for same-sex couples and singles.
“We've spent months working on the law text alongside legal experts and compared it against legislation in force in other, more evolved countries, such as Canada,” Rivera explains.
“We're in the 21st century, and new family structures are a fact of life, so we have to be brave and give them the legal protection we need – if we don't, we're just giving fuel to the mafia-style organisations who would make a hefty profit.
“The family is the pillar of society and Ciudadanos wants the law to progress in line with all types of family structures in our country – we don't want anyone to be left behind or to have to battle through an absolute labyrinth to become a parent, adopt, have a baby via a surrogate mother, enjoy shared custody of their children or enjoy life however they want either as a single person or as part of a couple.”
Ciudadanos' leader points out to traditionalists who are only willing to recognise the existence of the nuclear heterosexual family that 'once upon a time it was said that test-tube babies were not natural', that until the early 1980s in Spain divorce was not legal as it 'went against the sanctity of marriage', and that until 2005 in Spain, it was commonly believed that 'marriage was purely a union between a man and a woman' and therefore same-sex couples 'were not allowed to live with and wed the person they chose and fell in love with'.
Adoption, whether by same-sex or mixed-sex couples or singles, takes around 10 years to process, Rivera argues, and this 'does not make sense' – he has urged the PP-led government to take steps to speed it up so people can realise their dream of becoming parents without going through a decade of red tape.
“We just need to let other people lead their lives as they want,” Rivera stressed.
“Remember that the four main principles of modern life are love, freedom, equality, and ensuring everyone's problems are solved.
“It will be an honour to defend just causes in the right place – in the courts and in Parliament,” Rivera concluded.
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