A Comparative Study on the Regime of Surrogacy in EU Member States

While surrogacy is not a new reproductive practice, it is commonly accepted that it is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon. Recent reports have documented a rise in the practice of surrogacy, to include arrangements that cross national borders. Precise statistics relating to surrogacy are, however, hard to estimate. This is for a number of key reasons. First, traditional surrogacy does not necessarily require medical intervention and can thus be arranged on an informal basis between the parties concerned. Second, although gestational surrogacy does require medical intervention, officially reported statistics do not necessarily record the surrogacy arrangement but often only the IVF procedure. 3 Third, in many countries there is simply no legal provision, regulation or licensing regime for either fertility treatment and/or surrogacy, to include commercial surrogacy in countries where such is not otherwise legally prohibited. This means that there are no formal reporting mechanisms, which can lead to a rather ad hoc collection of statistics by individual organisations, if indeed they are available at all. Finally, in countries where surrogacy is legally prohibited, those involved could potentially face criminal prosecution, thus exacerbating the difficulties of collecting relevant and accurate data.

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