Surrogacy increases in Portugal, despite being a criminal offence

in News · 04-06-2011 00:00:00 · 1 Comments
Surrogacy increases in Portugal, despite being a criminal offence

Despite being considered a criminal offence, surrogate pregnancies are on the increase in Portugal, with women charging up to €100,000 in order to perhaps buy a house or “get out of poverty”, while trying to suppress their maternal instincts.

Renting a womb has been illegal since 2006 and is “punishable with up to two years in prison or a fine of up to 240 days,” according to the laws on medically assisted procreation.
The prohibition however doesn’t deter women in Portugal from renting their wombs for as much as €100,000, according to one woman who has acted as a surrogate mother.
The 24 year-old, who asked to remain anonymous, told Lusa News Agency that it was her “financial situation” that led her to do it. Her job “barely paid the bills” and she dreamed of having her own home.
She saw surrogacy as a “quick way of earning good money” and is already on her second contract, which should soon lead to another pregnancy.
Normally, clients looking for this service via the internet “are couples who cannot have children, women who are afraid that their bodies will change, homosexual couples, men who don’t want any responsibilities from the mother of the children, or lonely people who want company,” she said.
The couple who she gave up the first child to were Portuguese. Without revealing how much money she earned, she said that her charges vary between €30,000 and €100,000 “for couples with a secure financial future.”
The rest doesn’t matter. “I don’t want to know who they are, because I’m never going to see them again. As long as they respect the clauses in the contract and they don’t mistreat the child, we don’t want to know anything about their lives. The more we know the worse it is.”
The artificial insemination was carried out at a clinic in Portugal, which is illegal, but “money can buy those things,” she said.
The couple accompanied the pregnancy. “They feel fulfilled,” she said, adding that a woman needs to mentally prepare for this type of “work”. “It’s usual for us to work with our minds, always denying the fact that we are going to have a child.”
Not everyone can do it. Another 22 year old woman, who also asked to remain anonymous, told Lusa that she decided become a surrogate mother because she needed the money due to a health reason.
A friend told her that a homosexual couple in a European country were looking for a surrogate mother and she accepted without thinking, not out of greed but out of “need.”
She knows little about the couple who sought her out.
“I didn’t want to know a lot about the people, the less they involved me, the better,” she said.
She accepted €30,000, of which €15,000 was given to her to start the process. But as time passed she started to think that she “was doing business and treating a human being as an object to barter.”
Even so, she continued following the procedures to prepare for artificial insemination “without having spent a cent” of the money that had already been paid to her.
The preparations were carried out at a clinic in Lisbon, where the woman who was to become the surrogate mother didn’t even have to answer any questions as the establishment belonged to “a friend of the person who wanted the child.”
However at the moment of the insemination, she backed out. “As much as I needed the money, my maternal heart spoke louder. I returned the money and that was that,” she said.
“I know people who have seen it though until the end and then regretted it. As much as they pretend that everything is alright, and try not to become attached to the child, guilt sets in and they feel guilty for giving up a child for money.”
According to her, “the [economic] crisis has doubled the willingness of women to enter this business and clients are making the most of cheaper rates as it saves them going to India, where it is legal.”
She still receives proposals from couples desperate to have a child and offer all that they have. Some cannot come up with the money and offer their cars.
It is proposals such as these that another woman, aged 26, has been analysing for the past three months.
She is waiting to finish her studies before the pregnancy starts to show and to organise herself so that she isn’t contactable after the birth and will not have to explain to anyone about the child’s whereabouts. To do this, she is hoping to spend some time abroad, if the couple agree.
She said she is not prepared to do it for less than €40,000 although she has been offered greater amounts, and says that she will only go ahead when she feels safe: “it’s a big step, but I try to think that I am helping a couple, that the child will be fine and be very loved and I will finally be able to get out of this situation I’m in.”


This is traditional surrogacy and no wonder so many emotions are involved. In India, Ukraine, Russia they offer gestational surrogacy where surrogate mother is not related to the baby genetically, only carries it for the couple. This is much safer in trrms of rights, maternal instinct etc. and in this case no one can say that they are vending the baby.

by Lina from UK on 07-08-2012 07:47:00
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