Amendments to the Artificial Reproduction Act (人工生殖法) that would legalize surrogacy were debated in the legislature’s plenary session yesterday.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Hui-chen (江惠貞), who has also proposed amendments to the act, strongly supported the legalization of surrogate pregnancy, saying that the matter has been up for discussion for nearly 10 years, but has constantly met with objections about the possible violations of women’s rights.
“Contrary to what opponents have said, it is the denial [to those yearning for children of the right to use a surrogate] that violates women’s rights," Chiang said.
Health Promotion Administration Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) agreed, emphasizing that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has drafted the amended Act to allow surrogacy under certain conditions.
Chiou said that the conditions proposed in the amendments are strict and would ensure that the surrogate mother is not exploited, the children protected and the possibility of disputes between genetic parents and surrogate mothers is reduced.
To prevent women becoming surrogates mothers for financial gains, the proposed amendments state that surrogate pregnancies cannot involve payments, although they can involve subsidies for healthcare, nutritional supplements and transportation, she said, adding that the agreement between the intended parents and the surrogate should be characterized by the spirit of “mutual assistance.”
For a couple to qualify to use a surrogate, the wife must have been diagnosed with infertility or problems directly or indirectly related to the uterus that have caused infertility, Chiou said.
Furthermore, the surrogate mother must be a Taiwanese, have given birth before and cannot provide the egg.
Surrogates would be restricted to three births.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬) voiced her concern about the proposals and asked Chiou how many families adopted children due to infertility.
She asked if the legalization of surrogacy would affect the adoption of children.
Chiou said that adoption and surrogacy are two different ways to have children and one would not affect the other.
DDP Legislator You Mei-nu (尤美女) also highlighted the potential risk to the rights of children should they be born with congenital problems.
“What would happen to the baby if the genetic parents decide to give it up?” she asked.
Chiou said that in such cases the genetic parents, just as all parents, would be charged with abandoning a child.