The State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, will soon ban foreigners from paying Russian women to become surrogate mothers, its Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has announced. A bill on the matter will be passed in early December, he added.
“The sale of children is unacceptable,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday. “Over the past few years, 45,000 toddlers born by surrogate mothers have been moved overseas. It is a major illegal business venture with an estimated turnover of more than €2 billion [$2.04 billion].”
Volodin stated that “such babies oftentimes end up in very dangerous situations: they become victims of crimes, including illegal organ trade, and get adopted by same-sex couples.”
Legislators have been pushing for restrictions on surrogacy, with some calling for a total ban on the practice in Russia. A bill that would prohibit the use of surrogate mothers by foreign nationals was initially introduced last year.
Moscow banned the adoption of Russian children by US nationals in 2012, citing several high-profile cases of mistreatment and deaths of the adoptees, as well as Washington’s sanctions on Russian citizens.
Same-sex couples cannot legally marry in Russia or adopt children.