- The Iona Institute - https://ionainstitute.ie -

Italian parliament approves bill to criminalise overseas Surrogacy 

Italian lawmakers have advanced a bill to extend the country’s ban on surrogacy to couples who seek it abroad [1].

As in most European countries, surrogacy is already illegal in Italy, though there is a flow of clients who can afford it who travel to countries such as Ukraine and Russia to avail of it. Ireland is moving to make overseas surrogacy much easier for Irish people, including commercial surrogacy.

The bill was approved by the lower house of parliament by a vote of 166 to 109 and now heads to the Senate.

It would make Italian citizens who seek surrogacy in other countries liable for prosecution on their return to Italy.

Under 2004 legislation, anyone involved in surrogacy in Italy could face three months to two years in jail and a fine ranging from 600,000 euros to one million euros.

Eugenia Roccella, the families minister, said the bill puts Italy “at the forefront of the defence of women and children at an international level. We hope this vote will open a global debate on this practice in order to arrive at its abolition.”

Brothers of Italy MP Elisabetta Gardini condemned surrogacy as a “uterus for rent” that “outrages the dignity of women and tramples on the rights of children”.

In Ireland, the Irish Examiner reported that one Irish expert called the move “disturbing” [2].

Lawyer Annette Hickey, who specialises in IVF and surrogacy law, said “the steps Italy is taking would not be something I agree with.”

While legislation banning citizens from travelling abroad to avail of surrogacy is novel, many countries have moved to ban foreigners from using their domestic surrogacy services.

Georgia’s government recently announced it was banning international surrogacy [3] from January 1 next year.

The country has been one of the most popular locations for Irish couples availing of the practice.