On Friday March 3, 2023, a hundred researchers and practitioners from 5 continents and representing 74 countries signed a declaration asking states to ban surrogacy, in other words, for a universal abolition of this practice.
The association Jurists for Children (JPE) welcomed the initiative. Bernard Garcia Larrain, doctor of law and jurist at JPE explained the genesis of this project.
“Originally, it was researchers, mainly lawyers and doctors, who were convinced that we must work together on the means of creating an international initiative to protect women and children from the global surrogacy market: they have acceded to a draft International Convention, proposed to States that would like to engage in this process.”
“In order to give a global resonance to this project, experts of all nationalities are invited to join this group. The goal is to go around the world in this way to challenge the States.” A Facebook page has been created to follow the event and allow its dissemination, under its English title: Declaration for the Universal Abolition of Surrogacy.
Aude Mirkovic, lecturer in law and spokesperson for JPE, who has campaigned against the opening of medically assisted procreation to female couples, as well as against surrogacy, opened the seminar with Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna, former president of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Suzanne Aho Assouma, former vice-president of the same committee.
Le Figaro summarizes the global situation: “Today, around 15 countries authorize surrogacy, either in law or in fact.” Some “like Russia, Ukraine or some states in the United States do it unconditionally, others restrict it only to national citizens.” In France surrogacy is still prohibited, but children born abroad are registered in the civil registry.
Why in Morocco?
Morocco is an example for researchers because the legislation very clearly prohibits this practice. It is in Casablanca that the declaration will be signed by a hundred specialists, a text demanding the universal repeal of this practice which can legitimately be denounced as slavery.
Here is the text of the declaration, as published by Le Figaro: The Casablanca Declaration
We, the signatories of this declaration,
Conscious of the suffering of people who cannot procreate, the appeal of reproductive technologies, and the international challenge of effective protection of human dignity; Convinced that the contract by which one or more sponsors make an agreement with a woman that she will carry one or several children with a view to turning them over at birth, regardless of the names and terms and conditions of such contract, here below called surrogacy (1), violates human dignity, and contributes to the commodification of women and children; Require from the States the prohibition of surrogacy in all its modalities and in all its forms, whether remunerated or not, and to adopt measures to combat this practice.
For this purpose, we make the following recommendations to the States:
• prohibit surrogacy on their territory,
• refuse any legal validity to contracts involving the commitment for a woman to bear and deliver a
• punish the individuals and corporations acting as intermediaries (2) between the surrogate
mothers (3) and the sponsors (4),
• prosecute the individuals entering into surrogacy on their territory,
• prosecute their nationals entering into surrogacy outside their territory,
• work towards the adoption of an international legal instrument bringing about the universal abolition
We propose in the appendix to this declaration, a draft international convention to be freely used by States wishing to engage in this process.
(1) Surrogacy, gestational surrogacy, surrogate motherhood, reproductive exploitation, use of a surrogate, is the arrangement by which one or several sponsors agree with a woman that she will carry one or several children for the purpose of their delivery upon birth, regardless the arrangement has been entered into directly by them or though one or several third parties.
(2) Intermediaries for the purpose of obtaining surrogacy: individual(s) of corporate body(ies) who put a woman in contact with one or more sponsors so that she will carry one or more children and deliver them at birth, and/or mediate between the woman and the sponsor(s) for this purpose.
(3) Gestational carrier, surrogate, or substitute mother: a woman making an agreement with one or more sponsors to carry on their behalf one or more children to be delivered to them at birth.
(4) Sponsor(s): individual or individuals, also called clients or intended parents, who enter into an agreement with a woman, for her to carry for their account one or more children to be delivered to them at birth.