Surrogacy. The debate on "surrogates" birth in the complexity

mere porteuse inde Gestation pour autrui. Le débat sur les « mères porteuses » accouche dans la complexité

The Monde2 Photo of 19 June 2009 (S. Clair)

The Law on bioethics , ethics vi e which we can better understand all the news by reading this, will take a position on the issue of surrogacy, better known under the item of debate surrogates .

This is a complex issue that lawmakers will have to decide. Today this possibility is forbidden in France. "The fact to intercede" to resort to this practice is punishable by one year in prison and 15,000 euros fine. The fine is doubled if the act is done for profit reasons. The French ban was passed in 1994 and again in 2004. Nevertheless there have been cases of surrogacy in France, authorized by law since no variance there, not derogate there not because the law did not exist. It was between 1987 and 1991. The number of children born to mothers during this period is estimated at 70. To my knowledge, there are no epidemiological studies on the monitoring of these children since that could allow legislators to decide in full knowledge of the facts and avoid the fantasies of both sides. (Shift 24/06/2009: The Express returns in its edition of Thursday, 25 June on this issue via an article repeating the journey of three families with the testimonies of children born to mother).

Many today are people and organizations to take a stand on this issue.

Among the proponents of a controlled surrogacy authorization are: the Association Maia , the Committee Clara , Elisabeth Badinter , the Minister for Family, Nadine Morano , Genevieve Delaisi Perceval, a working group of the Senate.

Among the opponents, the more rows provided, we find the "father" of the first French test-tube baby, the doctor René Frydman , philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, the Housing Minister Christine Boutin, the 'OPESCT (Parliamentary office dedicated to ethics which includes several deputies and senators sensitive to these issues and publish reports), the National Consultative Ethics Committee , Catholic and Protestant as well as representatives of Islam and to a lesser extent the churches c onsistoire of Paris . About opponents, René Frydman said he was "outraged by the lobbying of some associations that advocate the legalization of this practice to defend the interests of wealthy few." It is bitter, strong, perhaps too much.

Each side has their own influence to advance his ideas. Interviews are given, open blogs, participation in conferences and seminars companies, mail and files sent to parliamentarians, reflections committed to advance his ideas, defend his point of view (as the synthesis of the Board State shows) increase its visibility and participation in the construction of the decision on this complex subject.


  1. . « Donner » son corps le temps d'une grossesse pour qu'un couple puisse accueillir son propre enfant est un acte altruiste de haut niveau. Accept act of generosity. "Giving" his body time to pregnancy for a couple can receive their own child is a selfless act of highest level. This was the main motivation of French surrogates in the late 80s This act is sometimes proposed by relatives of the woman who can not bear his child.'s Mother, sister, friend ... http://www.
  2. Avoid procreative tourism. Several countries in the world accept surrogacy. These include the United States, Canada, Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Denmark and Greece, five countries of the European Union. Other countries, such as India, accepts this practice and conduct an industrialization of the process as it will be objected by opponents of legalization. Accept surrogacy would thus avoid double standard measures between those who have the financial and cultural means to establish foreign contacts in this direction, and those who, for various reasons, can not do . According to this argument is that the principle of equality prevails.
  3. . Comme le suggère l'affaire Mennesson , recourir aux mères porteuses à l'étranger n'est pas sans poser problème lors du retour en France des parents biologiques avec leur enfant. Avoid civil status issues. As suggested Mennesson case , use of surrogate mothers abroad is not without its problems when returning to France biological parents with their child. Who is this child? The child's mother under French law? Who is his mother according to the law? One who delivers the child. QED. However, the interest of the child here that have a legal identity, a civil status, without which no act of everyday life can be achieved (a passport, to vote, to pass an exam ...) is essential, in our culture, on all other principles can be put forward.
  4. Do not refuse the advances in medical technology. While the donation of gametes, male and female, sperm and eggs is permitted, that embryo donation is accepted, why is it that the loan of his body be forbidden a consenting person? Under q ual ethical or moral? Would it not deny the interest of scientific progress in the medical field as to deny that progress is reaching?
  5. Help fight the suffering of women who can not have children. Beyond the issue of convenience that could motivate women not giving birth (fear of childbirth, fear of the decay of the body thereafter anxiety about the pain ...), there are a number of purely medical reasons that prevent women to bear children. This is the case of women whose uterus has been altered by radiation, for example, women affected by the syndrome of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser . In total, it is estimated, according to Cross, 300 the number of women affected by the syndrome Mayer and postpartum hemorrhage. But in society of ours, there is a strong social pressure (not to mention biological and psychological pressures) that women of childbearing age to do so. This partly explains the fertility levels in our country, and this reinforces the suffering of those who can not afford the social role that is given to them.
  6. A movement is emerging in the opinion. Not that the French, according to polls, have become largely for this, but one third of them are not opposites. Now we know the laws that cause profound changes can not be made without the consent of a large part of the population. For at least two reasons, first, because it allows supporters of this development to have supports and relays in public opinion, secondly, because it suddenly cut grass under the feet of opponents, more Supports in the opinion, it is less of opponents in the street, on internet forums, in newspaper columns. Today, however, the point of view of public opinion, the game is not won for advocates of legalization. However, they have managed their first bet: put on the public square question. It is no longer taboo. This is a first essential step in the recognition of surrogacy.
  7. This has been done, it is done. The argument seeks to show that these practices are ancient and still current, despite the ban, are somewhat specious point of view of the morality of public debate, but it is a fact. In France, as I mentioned in the introduction, it was a reality tolerated for four years. And even today, without that we know how many people are involved, this practical course. Except in centers in the country at least by citizens traveling abroad.
  8. And the father in all this? Often seen as the issue of surrogacy affects mostly women. It is true that there is no father-carrier and for good reason. However, "women can not have children on their own." At one point at least, a little before fertilization while the man is required. By his presence, and his ejaculation, or in absentia, having frozen his own sperm or donating his sperm in a CECOS. Or in the case of a couple of potential parents, a man and a woman, therefore the meaning of the law, if we have seen the power of the wish, desire or need, feminine, instead of the father, his wish, his desire or need, is neglected. It has also the right to have children, if it exists. And in a free society, it may decide with whom he wants to have. If this woman he wants for mother of his children can not accommodate the gestation of their child, not where it undergoes a double penalty. That of seeing his wife suffer and that not being able to be a father.

Arguments against.

  1. There is no GPA without trade. This is a punchline. In many cases, surrogacy is manipulated to become a business. In India, women, confined in a shelter, are recruited to become surrogate mothers on behalf of foreign and domestic wealthy who "buy" the opportunity for a little less than 10,000 euros. In Ukraine, it takes 15,000 euros. In North America, about 40,000 euros. Depending on the nature of contracts, legal liability, insurance, the price varies. The earth is flat, wrote the American journalist Thomas Friedman. Nothing is more true regarding surrogacy. It is possible to choose its production area and guarantees that come with it. The argument is without question but it remains theoretical. Nobody can say with accuracy that France would happen the same way since the practice is prohibited. Everything leads us to believe that this issue is a major obstacle to acceptance by the public: a child can not have a price, though here we are not talking about buying children but loan or lease bellies then evicting the tenant.
  2. This is not "a public health priority." In an interview on this issue with the weekly L'Express, the gynecologist René Frydman, already indicates that requests for assisted reproduction, which is favorable in Fertilization vitro, artificial insemination ... are difficult to meet. For reasons of ways in the few medical centers offering these services or because of a strong shortage of donor gametes. Thus, the agency Biomedicine states in its annual report that 400 couples per year are awaiting donation egg but only 220 women volunteers each year to keep the gift inherent in medical treatment and ultimately to several their eggs.
  3. The medical profession does not accept this technique. The vast majority of doctors are reluctant to accept changes in the legislation on surrogacy. Jean-François Mattei, MD, former Minister of Health, author of a remarkable book on bioethics, argues against for the reasons stated here. However, even if at the time of the debate the authorization of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy in France in the early 70's, there were more than 10,000 sign against the anti-abortion appeal, it is difficult to change laws Bioethics without their consultation or assent. The pressure group it is, even if his forehead is not always united, represents a strong power of influence especially as many parliamentarians come from their ranks and therefore less sensitive to atavism their arguments .
  4. The status of the surrogate mother is blurred a legal point of view. Who is the woman who gives birth to a child who is not biologically his? Who is this child to this woman in travail? We do not measure well the psychological effects for the woman who gave birth to her child leave his biological mother. The Working Group of the senate which addressed the issue suggests that the surrogate mother can change your mind within three days after delivery. That is to say, it may decide to keep the child who is not quite far from it, his own. Usually, in the classical case, during the three days following the birth of a child, the whole family, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, friends came to the maternity hospital, or the kitchen, or in the pool, see the child, praise the mother, the father of the child, discuss its resemblance so and so, give gifts, take her in his arms. At birth the child was already nine months. Is given, it was given a name, an identity. He is welcomed into the family with open arms. It is the future. There is hope. How then accept that for three days, three long days, a couple is in feverish anticipation of a change of mind parturient? What anguish! What suffering of waiting! Finally, what about the right of access opposable might ask the surrogate mother? She still carried the child, fed, talked, perhaps even whispered words of love. And if that is not the case, then studies have proven the importance of the peace of the mother during the pregnancy and the presence of the father, why this child would he deny, from the Initially, beyond the vicissitudes of life couple, these attentions.
  5. This implies a contract that does not qualify. Use a surrogate requires a contract between the two parties, the carrier and recipients, with commitments of both sides, rights, duties. From a philosophical point of view, this assujétion, the alienation of man by man is not admissible. This is already happening in the contracts, but not with these implications, this constancy during the time of pregnancy. This contract also entails legal responsibilities. What will happen if this surrogate prefers fair break, alcohol to strawberries, rolled cigarette Russian cigarette? Selection of surrogate mothers should be able to guarantee upstream part of the serious candidates but can not ensure full loyalty of the surrogate mother vis-à-vis its commitments.
  6. And if the biological parents refuse the child This question is rarely asked. Presumably a couple who engages in this process knows why he undertakes his thinking has matured, tried everything outside of this process. But what if during the time of pregnancy parents separate? Is this the common law on parental authority applies? How to decide?

The issue of opening of surrogacy for homosexual couples does not arise here. Because it is assumed that it is the biological child, from the gametes of a couple, thus differentiated between men and women, which would be carried by the surrogate mother.

We see from reading these arguments together that this issue is complex by its possible consequences. It also confronts us with our a priori. As Sylviane Agacinski said, "In this field, France is not late, she is ahead." Everyone will be his opinion , Sylviane Agacinski is clearly against, but in any event, our country is undoubtedly ahead of the issue of public debate around this issue.

Mikaël Cabon

"Should we legalize surrogacy?" - Kewego
Sylviane Agacinski and François Olivennes discuss this thorny issue.

The woman who is on the photo illustration of the home page of this article is not a surrogate. This photo is taken from the database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • gmail Gestation pour autrui. Le débat sur les « mères porteuses » accouche dans la complexité


  1. [...] To surrogate mothers in France, I just published an article on this blog Lobbycratie questions. . A major issue for our society like that of research on stem cells, [...]

  2. Eric75 says:

    Surrogacy (where the woman who carries the child has no genetic link to the embryo worn) often amalgamated with surrogacy (where the woman carries a child of his own genes) began in 1984 California. Following the fear of conflict around custody and parentage of children born by this action, but also to respond to the risk of commodification of the female body, commissions studied laws to regulate practices which premiered was passed in 1985 in England.
    Followed Australia, Israel, New Zealand and U.S. states (mostly by jurisprudence). Following the implementation of these legal devices, conflicts over phenomena that could be called "moral panic" disappeared. And from the practice of surrogacy is growing continuously under conditions which are no longer disputed, no authority is also back on legalization.
    It is unfortunate that the effectiveness of these legal provisions has not been evaluated by the French institutions which are expressed on the GPA or fluttering like against-examples or "lowest bidder ethical" few countries such as Belgium and India, where there is no legal framework.

    The interests of the child and the notion of kinship:
    The interest of a child who is not yet born is a very abstract concept that refers to the same perception of the relationship, and that ultimately is used as a "right" of the child not to be born, so passive eugenics to couples who can not bear children. The very history of mankind should prevent us to limit the relationship to one of the biological, gestation, at the expense of transmitting a genetic heritage and most importantly, the social fact: mother or father is the one who behaves as such under the definition given society.
    This is not to deny the importance of trade in utero between the pregnant woman and the fetus, but considering the huge variety of experiences of pregnancy and the lack of determinism uterine. The assertion that the GPA would mean abandonment falls into this reductive approach to parenting. If we followed this definition of abandonment, it would return to France in the legalization of embryo donation to be consistent. But it is not so, because a child who is desired and expected continuously by a couple can not be considered abandoned. The attachment is not a biological function but psychological construction.
    Claim biological gestational primacy is often an expression of defiance, a refusal by the intrusion of medicine thought of as a form of mechanized reproduction. In contrast to the stereotypical view of a delivery under the sole protection of Mother Nature, we must remember that half a century, advances in reproductive medicine, including fantasized representations are the specimen and incubator, helped to end the scourge in our rich infant mortality countries and that of women died in childbirth.
    Infertile couples never claim "right to a child" but the "right of children", including the right not to be deprived of the history of his birth, when everyone agrees, starting with the adoptive parents need to remove secrets related to the birth.

    Operating or empower women?
    The female carrier of the child to others would be used as a machine, "devoid of humanity"? Note that the use of degrading and reductive vocabulary such as "wombs for rent" is almost exclusively of those who claim to respect the dignity of women. This will caricature denies the autonomy of women and denigrates the principle of the donation.
    The dignity of the woman be not better respected if we understood that in surrogacy, she tries to act as fair and rational as possible, respecting others? The fundamental challenge for society - but also for women - is to ensure that they are properly informed of the proposed approach, and that their expectations are not in sync with those of the intended parents. To achieve this logic of exchange and mutual respect, we must admit that for some women, pregnancy is a time of fulfilling life.

    Infertile couples want a real debate takes place on the issue of altruistic legislative framework which would end the ban on surrogacy in France. Our country can no longer hide behind moralistic caricatures while GPA is already on the national territory in a clandestine manner, with all the risks that implies lack of supervision.

    We can not continue to France as if nothing had changed since the debates prior to 1994, as if they still had no recoil as if good practices do not exist. France, a country of human rights, can not further continue to deny the existence and rights of children born by surrogacy abroad.

  3. Claire says:

    It's great fun to read this article in the light of the bill to legalize surrogacy filed January 27, 2010 by 70 senators. We realize that almost all of the arguments against surrogacy are false.

    Thus, as is this bill, we can make the GPA without commerce, without contractual arrangements, giving a clear status to the surrogate, establishing a lineage that protects the child of a (unlikely) withdrawal of parents ...

    There remains only the argument that the medical profession does not accept this technique. What is wrong! Just read the "Results survey questionnaire Medically Assisted Procreation (GEFF, BLEFCO and CNGOF, the SFG and FNCGM, October 2, 2008" to know the reality.

    This speaks for itself.

  4. Lahoyashra said:

    There is little on a forum, I read these words:

    "Personally, I am against the GPA.
    Want to have a child at all costs (at any price ... to trade the kid design yuck) while so many children are suffering and waiting to be adopted. I dare not approach the psyche that the child can develop have been designed like that and trauma to the surrogate mother. It really is a mentality of rich and selfish. Somali women are trying to save children from starvation, then hire belly ... Would rather welcome these children and to adopt momentarily to save the history. It is in this sense that I wrote that the GPA is something rich selfish. "

    And hop, 4 lines on the idea received GPA but also the adoption.

    Otherwise, I am annoyed by the fact that two different words are mixed to me: "Surrogate Mother" and "surrogate".
    In most documents, the use of "surrogate mother" mask profound differences that there are between surrogacy (the woman who carries the child also provides the ovum) and Surrogacy said GPA (wife carrying the child has no genetic relationship to the child). In fact, recent studies show many molecular exchange between mother and child. These exchanges are regulated by mitochondrial DNA said. Unlike nuclear DNA, which is transmitted by a combination of nuclear DNA of parents, mitochondrial DNA is transmitted only by women. Thus, in the case of surrogacy, the woman who carries the child transmits its genetic heritage to the child, and intrauterine exchanges are governed by their own mitochondrial DNA. The contribution of the infertile woman is like adopting this purely social event. But, in case of surrogacy, the woman who carries the child does not transmit genetic heritage to the child, and intrauterine exchanges are regulated by the mitochondrial DNA of the infertile woman who provided her own eggs . Thus, the contribution of the infertile woman is present in this case not only in terms of physical examination with the child, but even contributes to uterine life through its mitochondrial DNA. To simplify, there are two women involved in the pregnancy.

    These biological details seem very important. With this light, I think it's best:
    - Maintain the prohibition of surrogacy because of similarity links and development between the woman and her unborn child.
    - Legalize surrogacy which allows a biological continuity between the child and the infertile couple, even during pregnancy. And further minimizes the risk of suffering of women rely child to his parents because the child does not look like him.