- Russia has introduced a bill to ban foreigners from using Russian surrogate mothers.
- A co-author of the bill said the move is necessary to protect children born in the country.
- Critics have worried that paid surrogacy could lead to the exploitation of vulnerable people.
Russia has introduced a bill to ban foreigners from using Russian surrogate mothers in a bid to end a practice that critics say commercializes the birth of children.
According to Reuters, the bill was passed “nearly unanimously” in Russia — where paid surrogacy is legal — following its first reading on Tuesday. The bill needs to undergo two more readings before it is reviewed by the upper house of Russia’s parliament and signed into law.
One of the bill’s co-authors said the new legislation is needed to protect children born in the country, per Reuters.
Vasily Piskaryov, a lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, said it was difficult to keep track of where the babies born to surrogate mothers go after birth.
“We don’t know who their parents are, their so-called ‘mom’ and ‘dad,’ and why they are purchasing a baby,” he said.
Piskaryov added that around 40,000 babies born to Russian surrogate mothers had been raised by foreign parents outside of the country.
“Why should we spend our funds on resolving the demographic problems of other countries?” he said, calling for all babies born in Russia to be automatically given citizenship.
Paid surrogacy is legal only in a few places, including Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, and some US states, per The Guardian — and the practice has not been without controversy.
Besides the welfare of surrogate children, critics worry that it could lead to the exploitation of the most vulnerable people.
In 2020, as many as 1,000 babies born to surrogate mothers in Russia for foreign families were stranded in the country after borders were closed to stem the spread of Covid, The Guardian reported. Nearly 100 such babies born that year were also left stranded in Ukraine for similar reasons.