Russian Church hopes for prohibition of surrogate motherhood as constitution is amended to protect traditional family

Moscow, July 21, 2020

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Surrogate motherhood destroys the idea of the traditional family, and the Russian Church hopes the issue can be legally reexamined against the background of new amendments to the Russian constitution that aim to protect the traditional family.

“We hope that the adoption of the constitutional amendment that enshrines family values will allow us to re-examine the regulation of surrogacy in the Russian Federation,” said Vakhtang Kipshidze, the Depurty Chairman for the Synodal Department for Relations Between the Church and Society and the Media, reports RIA-Novosti.

In late June and July, Russians overwhelmingly voted to adopt a series of constitutional amendments that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman and provide for the protection of family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood, and for the creation of conditions for the worthy education of children in the family.

The Church representative recalled that the Russian Church considers surrogate motherhood morally unacceptable, as stated in “The Basis of the Social Concept,” adopted in 2000. “It destroys the idea of the traditional family and creates risks of exploitation of women who become surrogate mothers,” Kipshidze said.

“The Basis of the Social Concept” reads:

Surrogate motherhood,” that is, the bearing of a fertilized ovule by a woman who after the delivery returns the child to the «customers», is unnatural and morally inadmissible even in those cases where it is realized on a non-commercial basis. This method involves the violation of the profound emotional and spiritual intimacy that is established between mother and child already during the pregnancy. “Surrogate motherhood” traumatizes both the bearing woman, whose mother’s feelings are trampled upon, and the child who may subsequently experience an identity crisis.

Kipshidze also emphasized that the status of a surrogate mother reduces the dignity of women and undermines the idea of the sanctity of motherhood, and drew attention to cases of children being sold. “The Russian Church supports the prohibition of surrogacy, especially in the context of the growing commercialization of this service, but in Russia surrogacy is legal,” Kipshidze stressed.

In January, the body of a newborn from a surrogate mother was found dead in an apartment in the Moscow Province. Investigators also found three more children born for sale in the apartment. Seven people involved in the case were arrested for human trafficking.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill commented at that time that surrogate motherhood “in some sense exploits women and even encourages the sale of children.”

In the Patriarch’s view, the problem is largely based on social stratification.

“No well-off woman will bear and give birth to children for other people for money. This choice is driven by social insecurity, poverty, and the desire to provide for their own children. The spread of commercial surrogacy is, of course, an obvious humiliation of the dignity of Russian women and the most unprotected of them,” His Holiness concluded.

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