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Until recently, Russia allowed citizens to be surrogates to other citizens and to foreign individuals and couples wanting to expand their families, but a new law is about to go into effect that will change that dynamic. The law will prohibit Russian women from providing surrogacy services to foreigners. Religious groups have long been critical of paid surrogacy, as they see it as commercializing childbirth. Others see foreigners working with Russian surrogates as child trafficking, and argue that it must be stopped.
There have been nearly 45,000 babies born to surrogates in Russia just within the past few years, and those children have been taken outside of Russia and home with their parents. The bill stopping foreigners from working with Russian surrogates was first addressed in May 2022, and passed with near-unanimous approval. The second reading also passed. There are three readings of a bill, and the third reading is expected to pass easily, as well.
According to the Ukrainian government, more than 12,000 children have been forcibly deported by Russia, and 440 have died since the start of the war earlier this year. Hundreds more are still missing, and many of those children may never be found alive. Russia denies the Ukrainian allegations and says that the goal has only been to protect citizens and vulnerable people from the soldiers in Ukraine.
There is no word on whether the law banning foreigners from working with Russian surrogacy is a temporary one, but all indications show that the goal is to permanently exclude anyone who is not a Russian citizen from accessing surrogacy services in that country.
As the war with Ukraine continues there may also be more citizens, including children, who are returned to Russia in an effort to stop or reverse what the country is deemed as child trafficking. Individuals and couples who have looked to Russia for surrogacy options will have to explore opportunities in other countries where the laws are on their side.
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