The Observatory of Bioethics of the University of Barcelona (UB) has joined the voices contrary to the bellies of rent (a practice also known as surrogate pregnancy or substitution that supposes that a woman gestates a son who gives motherhood and paternity to other people). The Observatory's Opinion Group has launched a positioning document in which it rejects this practice, considering that it "opens the door to situations of exploitation of women and children". The experts consider that the hiring bellies encourage "the instrumentalization and reification of women".
"Our proposal is that we stay as we are," said Maria Casado, director of the Observatory. In Spain, the Law of Assisted Human Reproduction includes the nullity of surrogate pregnancy contracts. The problem is that many couples resort to pregnant women from other countries where this practice is not forbidden and then return to Spain with the baby born requesting the recognition of his legal affiliation with the child. To protect the interest of the child and in line with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries established in 2010 guidelines to allow the filiation of children through a womb of rent (have a judicial decision of the country of the pregnant woman, for example).
The Observatory of Bioethics of the UB defends that the surrogate pregnancy "is not an assisted reproduction technique anymore". "Pregnancy generates an emotional bond between the pregnant woman and the fetus that should not be subject to contractual relationships," said Manuel López Baroni, professor of Philosophy of Law at the Pablo Olavide University in Seville and member of the observatory of the Catalan campus. Experts argue that this practice requires the participation of a woman in a foreign reproductive project in a "quantitatively and qualitatively different way than any other reproductive collaboration". Quantitatively, for the time it takes between getting pregnant and the months of pregnancy. And qualitatively, because this practice requires that the pregnant woman not be emotionally or psychologically involved and then renounce all personal and emotional bonds.
Experts also insist on the idea that a couple's desire to have children does not make it a right. And they warn, in addition, that this practice supposes "the commodification of the human body". "It is difficult to isolate pregnancy by replacing the context of lobby There is no economic exploitation around it, "Casado warned, and experts reject the mantra that, if it is an individual choice of the pregnant woman, there is no exploitation." The possibility of individual choice is determined by the socioeconomic position in the current market society, "the document says.
The Observatory maintains, in short, that the surrogate pregnancy "generates numerous doubts about the rights of pregnant women, as well as about the situation of exploitation of women."
However, they warn, if the legislators choose to modify the regulations and make this practice more flexible or permissible, it would have to be a "guarantee" legislation. Thus, experts bet that there is an exhaustive judicial control of the process and that intermediaries are excluded with profit motive.
The Observatory also defends that the pregnant woman -not the couple who rents an alien womb- has the right to change her mind during the whole process and that the clients pass a suitability control, with the same filters that there is to enter into a process of adoption, for example.