Brussels, 25th April 2024

This week the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to include, among other matters, the issue of surrogacy in a directive aimed at preventing human trafficking. 563 MEPs voted in favour, with 7 voting against and 17 abstentions. The Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) welcomes this latest advancement in the building of a global consensus against surrogacy.

The amendment to the 2011 directive condemns the “exploitation of surrogacy”. This is a positive step towards the wider goal of abolishing surrogacy internationally, on the grounds of the human dignity of mother and child, which is violated by the market of wombs for rent.

FAFCE President Vincenzo Bassi said: “Surrogacy is not merely a discrete violation of human dignity isolated to one country or continent. It is a violation of human dignity on a global scale. The commercial exploitation of women and child through surrogacy knows no borders. Therefore, international consensus is crucial. There is no current consensus. However, this latest inclusion of surrogacy as possible human trafficking is a step in the right direction. We hope that there are debates around the world to say no to wombs for rent.

“Additionally, the directive amended by the Parliament recognises that surrogacy could be a form of exploitation. This means that the national authorities have to verify whether there is exploitation or not in every instance of surrogacy. The Parenthood for the ‘intentional parents’ cannot be automatically granted. In other words, even so-called ‘altruistic surrogacy’ must be proved only after an administrative procedure.

“We must continue finding common ground to promote the family as a gift, not as a commodity.”

FAFCE is proud to be a part of the coalition committed to the universal abolition of surrogacy. Earlier this month, FAFCE and Casablanca Declaration representatives met with Pope Francis and, separately, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State for the Holy See. They both reiterated their full support with the campaign to establish a universal abolition of surrogacy, protecting women and children from exploitation.

After the meetings at the Vatican, FAFCE cooperated in the Casablanca Declaration conference, which featured a broad range of voices in opposition surrogacy. From Italian ministers of government to supranational representatives, from those with personal experience of surrogacy to expert researchers – a diverse movement echoed the need to abolish surrogacy.

At the conference, FAFCE President Vincenzo Bassi said: “No one is here is because they are guided by ideology. We are all from different cultures, different religions, different political ideas, but we are inspired to come here by reality.”

On Tuesday, Bernard Garcia-Larrain, coordinator of the Casablanca Declaration, Olivia Maurel, spokesperson of the Casablanca Declaration, and Francois-Xavier Bellamy MEP (EPP) held a conference in Strasbourg. Reflecting on the vote, Francois-Xavier Bellamy MEP reiterated that “the family should be the absolute limit of the market.”