Because it violates the law in this country, more and more Swiss couples are simply fulfilling their desire to have children abroad. But there are risks for parents and children.
The prohibition of surrogacy is being circumvented more often than expected via abroad. This is shown by a survey of the cantonal civil status authorities, which for the first time provides official figures for the whole of Switzerland. According to this, 48 surrogate mother children were registered last year alone, twice as many as in 2016. In total, the cantons have counted 144 cases in the past four years, as reported by the “NZZ am Sonntag”.
Most children were born in the United States, followed by Ukraine and Canada. These numbers are higher than the federal estimates so far, but they were only the tip of the iceberg. Experts suspect that the practice is secretly much more widespread and that up to 1000 children born in this way already live in Switzerland.
Cantons are far from a solution
Politicians now want to focus more on this topic, which involves complex legal questions. For example, the surrogate mother continues to be the biological mother in Switzerland, even if the mother has already signed a waiver in her country of origin. However, it could take weeks or months for the foreign countries to check these documents. Only when the Swiss couple has officially adopted the child are they legally considered parents. It is also unclear what happens if the partner dies. Specialists therefore warned of the long-term consequences that are known today from adoption policies in India and Sri Lanka.
However, opinions among experts and politicians differed widely. The NZZ am Sonntag, for example, quotes a text from the ethics committee from 2013: “If an adult, capable and adequately informed person gives her consent to surrogacy, it is difficult to claim that this person is being exploited.”
Philosopher Barbara Bleisch and legal scientist Andrea Büchler also argue in their new book “Children want” that a ban on surrogate motherhood cannot be justified in every case: “However, the condition is that women do not agree to such an arrangement out of financial difficulties they can decide on all interventions on their bodies and that the dignity of the child is preserved. » The surrogate mother should therefore be given an adequate place in the child’s biography. *
Others see surrogacy as an act of commercialization that violates the physical integrity of women. “Freedom of reproduction does not include the right of people who want to have children to access the bodies of third parties,” the newspaper quotes a letter from several scientists. The Federal Council hopes that the international community will agree on a common line. However, this is still not foreseeable.
Surrogacy – VIP package costs almost 65,000 euros
According to its online presence, the Ukrainian company Biotextcom offers the full range of reproductive medicine: from artificial insemination to surrogacy «VIP package», including prenatal diagnosis, hotel stay, chauffeur and shoulder belly for women who wanted to pretend to be pregnant at home. For this, the company estimates a price of 64,900 euros and guarantees “100 percent success”. “The cheapest surrogacy in Europe in the poorest country in Europe,” says the Biotexcom website. Competitors therefore described the company half contemptuously, half admiringly as the “Burger King” of the fertility industry.
* In an earlier version of the text, the economic aspect was missing in the reasoning of the philosopher Barbara Bleisch and the lawyer Andrea Büchler.