Swedes told they shouldn’t use surrogate mothers

Surrogacy puts too much pressure on women, top experts advising ministers have concluded.

Swedes told they shouldn't use surrogate mothers
File photo of a pregnant Swedish couple. Credit: Simon Paulin/Image Bank Sweden

Sweden should not allow surrogate pregnancies, even if no money is exchanged, according to the team tasked with looking into the controversial issue for the government.

Later on Wednesday lead investigator Eva Wendel Rosenberg will present her findings to Sweden's Justice Minister Morgan Johansson. However she told Swedish news network SVT in advance of the handover that she was not recommending the option for any couples in the Nordic nation.

“The most important reason we do not want to allow surrogacy in Sweden is the risk of women facing pressure to become surrogate mothers. It is a big commitment and it involves the risks of becoming pregnant and giving birth,” she said.

The move goes against separate recommendations put forward by Sweden's National Council on Medical Ethics (Smer) three years ago, which said that surrogacy should be allowed, as long as women aren't paid for it.

Surrogacy is already legal in several other European countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. It is also allowed in the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Belgium, as long as the surrogate mother is not given a fee, or is only given reasonable expenses.

Other major nations allowing commercial surrogacy include India and Russia and parts of the US.

However, Wendel Rosberg's report will recommend that Swedes should be discouraged from exchanging money in surrogacy deals abroad, to avoid the exploitation of women in poorer countries.

Surrogacy is an issue that deeply divides politicians. The right-wing Christian Democrats and the Left Party have said that they are against all forms, while the Liberals and the Moderates support only unpaid models. The other parties have previously said they would await the findings of Wendel Rosberg's investigation before taking a stance.

The debate comes just weeks after parliament ruled that single women in Sweden should be given the same rights as straight or gay couples in Sweden to access state-funded IVF treatment.