• Sweden edition
 
Sweden mulls legalizing surrogate motherhood

Sweden mulls legalizing surrogate motherhood

Published: 13 Mar 2012 16:38 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Mar 2012 16:38 GMT+01:00

Sweden took a step toward a possible lifting of its ban on surrogate motherhood on Tuesday, despite impassioned opposition from political parties on both the left and right.

The Riksdag's Committee on Social Affairs voted by a wide majority on Tuesday to authorize the government to carry out an inquiry into surrogate motherhood.

Currently, surrogate motherhood is outlawed in Sweden.

However, the Christian Democrats and the Left Party both opposed the measure.

"The issue of childlessness shouldn't be solved by having women's bodies used to carry and give birth to children for other people. Women's bodies aren't a commodity," the Left Party's Eva Olofsson told the TT news agency.

Even if surrogate motherhood is allowed on a non-commercial basis, there is nevertheless a risk for a black market trade in surrogate births, argued Olofsson.

She said that legalizing surrogate motherhood would send a signal that would increase acceptance of the practice that would open the door to trade with surrogate mothers in other countries, citing India as an example.

"It's possible that we need more regulations that would make it so that it's not allowed in Sweden to buy a child that has been born this way in India. But that's not how the proposal looks," said Olofsson.

In voicing his opposition to the measure, Christian Democrat head and social affairs minister Göran Hägglund emphasized concerns that women could become victims.

"We believe there are obvious risks for socially and economically vulnerable women to become victims in this trade," he said.

Hägglund also pointed to concerns that potential parents or surrogate mothers might change their minds in the process, which could result in difficult conflicts that would have a negative impact on the child.

He also commented on the fact that opposition to looking at legalizing surrogate motherhood came from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

"From totally different perspectives, we've arrived at the same conclusion," Hägglund said.

He also thought Sweden's other political parties were treating the matter too lightly.

Supporters of the measure pointed out, however, that the inquiry will be open-ended and not an indication of any particular stance regarding whether the ban on surrogate motherhood should be lifted.

"It's not decided in advance where things will end up, but rather is about a number of questions that will be examined. I have yet to take a position," said Barbro Westerholm of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet).

Among other things, the inquiry will look into the legal framework required for surrogate motherhood.

"A yes to allowing surrogate motherhood is a totally different question. That's something that won't be relevant until a later stage," said Social Democrat MP Lena Hallengren.

Committee chair Kenneth Johansson of the Centre Party was taken aback by the Christian Democrats' opposition to the inquiry.

"It's surprising that the Christian Democrats don't want to increase understanding [of the issue]," he said.

Tuesday's vote comes just two weeks after the committee approved proposed changes that would allow single women to have access to artificial insemination treatments despite Christian Democrat opposition.

However Johansson doesn't think the divergent opinions of the Christian Democrats and the other parties in the centre-right Alliance government on the issues will affect the working of the government.

"These are issues that we've long known we're not in agreement about. Now we'll settle it in the Riksdag," he said.

TT/The Local/dl

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:12 March 13, 2012 by gpafledthis
How very SCARY !! Swedes mulling !! Do what every smart swede does-ASK a Finn !!
19:50 March 13, 2012 by Abe L
I fail to see how it's the government's business to make these decisions. There are a lot of people who can't get children themselves for whom this is the only way. And just because it's officially not allowed in Sweden doesn't mean it doesn't happen or that people don't go abroad for it.
23:05 March 13, 2012 by johan rebel
Whose tummy is that in the picture Police "professor" Leif GW Persson's?
07:01 March 14, 2012 by Decedo
Totally agree Abe L., but does the Swedish government have their finger in everything here. I used to think Canada was bad for government meddling, but this place is ridiculous
16:48 March 17, 2012 by Evander
Why is it that "protecting" women's bodies always means taking the rite of choice away from women? If you want to protect women, you should give women the power to protect themselves, not force them to rely on other peoples decisions for their bodies! And since when does outlawing something make black market trade less of a risk? It doesn't work with prostetution, drugs, abortion, or human trafficking, why would it work with surrogates?
05:41 March 21, 2012 by CriticalDragon1177
I had no idea until I read this, that surrogate motherhood was ever illegal in Sweden. I guess this just shows that as an American who didn't read much as far as foreign news, until recently, there's a lot I still don't know.
15:50 March 22, 2012 by Baned
Well said, Evander!
Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

754
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com