Surrogacy outside the Netherlands

Intended parents sometimes travel abroad to have a child through a surrogate mother living there. This is not always a good option for the surrogate mother or the child.

Use of anonymous donors

Commercial surrogacy is permitted in India and certain states in the United States. These countries generally also allow anonymous donation of sperm and egg cells. That is why some intended parents from the Netherlands travel abroad to find a surrogate mother by whom they can have a child.

The Netherlands doesn’t believe that anonymous donors should be used. Every child has the right to know who their biological parents are. Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child also says that children have the right to know their parents, as far as possible.

Potential exploitation of surrogate mothers

In most cases, promoting surrogacy does not involve trafficking in human beings. But surrogate mothers abroad are sometimes exploited (by their spouses or by intermediaries) and forced surrogacy certainly exists. This is a form of human trafficking.

In the past, the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children has focused attention on the situation of surrogate mothers abroad and the risk of exploitation.

Bringing the child to the Netherlands can be difficult

Intended parents who have a child through a surrogate mother abroad may have problems when they want to bring the child to the Netherlands.

Some countries, but not the Netherlands, automatically recognise the intended parents as the child’s legal parents. But Dutch law states that a child’s biological mother is also its legal mother. So if the intended parents apply to a Dutch embassy for a Dutch passport for the child, the application will be rejected. This means that the child cannot travel to the Netherlands.

For this reason, India now requires an official declaration from the government of the country of which the intended parents are nationals. The declaration must state that the child will be given that country’s nationality, or at least will be permitted to enter the country (in this case, the Netherlands). However, the Dutch authorities do not issue declarations of this kind.