Complex subject of surrogate motherhood requires further orientation

State Secretary of Security and Justice Teeven will organise an expert meeting on the subject of surrogate motherhood at the end of March/beginning of April 2011. The objective of this expert meeting will be to carefully consider the various aspects of surrogate motherhood. It is a complex social issue, about which many people in society are concerned. State Secretary Teeven expressed this today in a letter to the House of Representatives.

The impetus for the organisation of this expert meeting was provided by the report on the “Surrogate Motherhood and Illegal Placement of Children” study performed by the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law (UCERF). By order of the Ministry of Security and Justice, the UCERF investigated the nature and scale of surrogate motherhood and the illegal placement of (foreign) children. The UCERF report shows that the scale of (commercial) surrogate motherhood and illegal placement of (foreign) children, and the extent of the resulting problems, cannot be assessed with certainty.

The UCERF also concludes that Dutch legislation policy takes a reticent stance with regard to surrogate motherhood. International surrogate motherhood is not fully regulated in the Netherlands, which may create legal uncertainty for the children, intended parents and surrogate mothers involved.

Although surrogate motherhood is a phenomenon that is limited in scale, the occurrences of surrogate motherhood may have far-reaching consequences. The report raises the question of whether surrogate motherhood should be regulated, and if so, in what way. If agreement could be achieved with regard to regulation, the question remains whether the standards that are set could be maintained. Through the organisation of the expert meeting, State Secretary Teeven seeks to find clear answers to these questions.

‘I should then like to discuss the matter with your House to determine how we will proceed on this subject,’ the State Secretary wrote in his letter to the House of Representatives.