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Russian State Duma limits surrogacy access for foreigners in Russia
The State Duma has passed a bill to restrict legal access to surrogacy services to Russian citizens. Prospective parents can be either married couples or single women unable to conceive and give birth for medical reasons. Foreigners married to Russian citizens can also legally resort to surrogacy options.
The new law also says that only Russian citizens can legally become surrogate mothers. Children born through surrogacy will receive Russian citizenship. The legislators think this will help Russian authorities monitor surrogate children born in Russia if they leave the country.
Vasily Piskarev, head of the Duma Security Committee who co-wrote the bill, says that limiting foreigners’ access to surrogacy in Russia is a forced measure. In a comment to the Interfax, Piskarev said that Russia has no means of advocating for the rights of surrogate children born to foreigners. Authorities also cannot check the backgrounds of prospective parents looking for surrogacy options in Russia.
Surrogacy became a hot topic in Russia following a January 2020 incident, when four babies were discovered in an apartment outside of Moscow after one of them died from SIDS. The Investigative Committee launched a child trafficking case, based on the information that the children were born through surrogacy to parents from Thailand and the Philippines.
Eight physicians involved in the alleged “child trafficking scheme” in 2014–2020 ultimately became defendants in the criminal case. Konstantin Svitnev, an attorney whose law firm assisted with child adoptions, was charged with organizing the “trafficking.” In May 2022, Kirill Anisimov, who worked at the same firm as a translator, was sentenced to six years in a high-security penal colony, as part of a plea bargain. Konstantin Svitnev currently lives abroad.
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