International Law & Surrogacy
The number of intended parents looking to start a family with the help of an international surrogate has been steadily on the rise since 2006. The steady climb of children born in one country with the intention of seeking citizenship in another has been the subject of close scrutiny by foreign governments and human rights groups alike.
While some countries have been targeted for their failure to recognize children born abroad through surrogacy as nationals within their home countries, the tide seems to be slowly turning. It is becoming the more frequent case that foreign countries are finding ways to recognize the nationality and parentage of children of surrogacy.
The European Court of Human Rights has issued several judgement over the past several months that all point in one direction: support. The recent decisions have all sided with protecting the well being of children born with the help of assisted reproductive technology as well as protecting the security and rights of their intended parents.
Notably, the ECHR has handed down unanimous decisions in both France and Spain declaring that children born of an international surrogate cannot be denied citizenship within their home countries. Germany has issued similar legislation stating that children born via foreign surrogates must be legally recognized as the offspring of their intended parents. However, the scope of this legislation is still being flushed out.
The Hague, a private international law convention working to find answers to global legal questions, has been looking into the process of international surrogacy through their “Parentage/ Surrogacy Project.” The project has been ongoing for many years at this point and continues to address the needs and issues arising from the influx of global surrogacy. The main interest of the project is to protect the well-being and safety of children born to an international surrogate. The group is also considering whether or not surrogacy should be regulated on an international level of conformity.
The overwhelming feedback from these groups is one of comity, or legal reciprocity. The hope is that by respecting and validating what is legal in the country where the child was born, the basic human rights of these parents and children will be best served.