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MOSCOW, February 4. /ITAR-TASS/. A draft law is afoot in Russia to introduce rules of surrogacy. The bill, reviewed by the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily, describes in detail various aspects of this situation.
According to the document, the child birth technology will be only allowed for conventional couples (a man and a woman whether married or not) or single women but not same-sex male couples. A man who for some reasons lives alone, will not be able to “borrow” a mother for his child.
The authors quoted in the paper believe it to be a fair approach, since women turn to artificial insemination and surrogacy when they suffer from sterility which is understandable and deserves sympathy.
Meanwhile, men can have other motives. “A man’s wish to resort to surrogacy is primarily due to his wish to satisfy his reproductive rights, not to overcome sterility, which is unacceptable,” the authors of the bill explain. In other words, the man is able to conceive a child conventionally, but for some reason does not want to do so.
Besides, future parents will not be allowed to opt for the sex of their child in the vial. Come what may. Exceptions are possible in case a family has inherited sex-related diseases like breast cancer.
The bill will also introduce the secrecy of birth by surrogacy similarly to the secrecy of adoption.
Along with medical conditions, potential parents will have to prove their social and economic creditworthiness - in other words, families will be tested for sufficient income and psychological readiness. Furthermore, surrogate mothers are supposed to face a limit for giving birth to children for other people for them not to become some kind of a child-bearing machine.
The drafting of the document is reported to be nearing completion and the bill can be introduced to the lower house, the State Duma, in spring.
Additional regulation of surrogacy is necessary, believes Director of Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, Gennady Sukhikh. A trident approach is needed, he writes in the Parlamentskaya Gazeta weekly: “The rights of genetic parents should be protected, since this is going to be their child. The health of a surrogate mother is at risk, so she should be protected as well. And surely, a child is not an item for sale.”
The expert believes the society is justified in its indignation about the fact that the possibility of surrogacy itself leads to a distorted perception of childbirth. For instance, when a woman just does not want to give birth herself and for this reason invites a surrogate mother.
“Yes, medical conditions should be legislated but with caution,” Sukhikh warned. “A room for maneuver should be left as life is unpredictable and often cannot be fitted in a document in all its diversity.”
Interest in surrogacy surged last year when pop-performer Alla Pugacheva and her husband, showman Maxim Galkin had their children this way. Earlier, Pugacheva’s fomer spouse, singer Philipp Kirkorov became the father of a girl and a boy in the same way.
The Russian Orthodox Church and some politicians sharply opposed this way of child birth. In particular, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, head of Moscow Patriarchate’s press office Hilarion believes the Church should delay christening of babies born by surrogacy until they come of age, since from the Christian point of view this practice in unacceptable.
“Any intrusion in the childbirth process outside the natural union of a man and a woman clashes with the Christian perception of the mystery of origin of life and birth of a deiform person, as well as decency and vocation of a man and a woman concluding a God commanded marriage,” the Metropolitan added.
In November, the head of the State Duma’s Committee on issues of family, women and children affairs, Yelena Mizulina, advocated a total ban on surrogacy but then simmered down and declared there was a need for proper legislation as the current Russian legislation in this field is often controversial. Even so, she believes surrogacy “threatens extinction not only of Russia but of humanity as a whole”.
As for average Russians, a recent poll by the Russian public opinion research center has shown that an overwhelming majority (76%) does not oppose surrogacy, with 60% of respondents believing it is only acceptable when conceiving children in another way is impossible, while 16% accept it as normal under any circumstances. Only one-fifth (20%) finds surrogacy impermissible.
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