Families that resort to rent bellies, a practice that is not legal in Spain but to which about a thousand Spanish couples come every year, have a new way to enroll babies. The Ministry of Justice has closed a new instruction, already sent to embassies and consulates, which extends the criteria for the registration of these minors. And it officially includes the use of DNA tests, a new way that arrives after the last crisis in Ukraine and that the associations that defend this practice have applauded.
The new instruction of the Directorate of Registries and Notaries, which replaces the current one in 2010, makes official a path that was applied until July in countries like Ukraine but that was not included in any official document. On February 13, a group of Spanish families who asked to register minors in Kiev started a protest because they were being denied. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed on Friday that it has rejected the filiation of minors to five families, with which they have been put back in contact to inform them "of the way of reviewing their files".
Ukraine and the United States are two of the favorite destinations for Spanish families who come to this practice, which assumes that a woman spawns a baby for nine months and then cedes motherhood and paternity to third parties. In the United States the process costs up to 120,000 euros, in Ukraine, half. The wombs of rent are not legal in Spain, but the State finishes recognizing that these minors are children of Spaniards. The route was opened in 2010 after the approval of an instruction from the Directorate of Registries and Notaries, which reports to the Ministry of Justice, based on the superior interior of the minor and which feminist collectives describe as "a back door" to legalize Facto this practice in Spain. Since then, the legal way was to present a sentence of filiation of the minor, something that can not be obtained in all the countries where the rent bellies are allowed (also known as surrogate gestation).
In the United States there is a clear procedure to register babies because this country facilitates a filiation sentence, as do Canada or Greece. But that is not possible in Ukraine, where Foreign Affairs has recognized 300 cases annually (the associations of families that resort to this practice calculate that in total there are a thousand cases every year). In the absence of that ruling, to date the consulate has been applying different procedures, although it advised against going to Ukraine since 2016. The complaint of the families that are now waiting in Kiev is that the consulate changed the criteria overnight and claimed the judicial sentence of filiation.
The new instruction opens a second way for these families and for other countries, such as Georgia. And it includes as a "preferential path, because of its simplicity, although not exclusive", the performance of a DNA test in which the chain of custody is guaranteed, according to confirmed sources familiar with the document. Until July, families could provide this test at the Consulate of Kiev, which was done in laboratories accredited in Spain. The instruction also contemplates the need for a verification that the consent of the pregnant mother is free and voluntary and that it has been confirmed after birth.
"This is an advance in terms of institutionalizing the legitimacy of surrogacy as a means of access to paternity and maternity in our country, laying the foundations of access to registration and regulation of these children," says lawyer Ana Miramontes, lawyer expert in this matter and member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the association Son Nuestros Hijos. The president of the association, Marcos Jornet, considers it "a giant step that regulates with guarantee the registration of minors".