Demand for surrogate mothers increasing in Switzerland
There are many reasons why people turn to surrogacy, from infertility and pregnancies that would be classed as high-risk to same-sex relationships and single parenthood - or simply because they choose to. Now, after a Swiss sports presenter and his husband spoke out about their experience using a surrogate, a new debate has been stirred about whether surrogacy should be made legal in Switzerland, and if it is made legal, who should be given access to it.
Not many statistics available about surrogacy in Switzerland
More and more people in Switzerland are considering using a third-party surrogate to help grow their family, according to Blick. While there isn't much data available on how many Swiss children are actually born through surrogacy, limited figures from cantonal authorities say that 48 kids were born via surrogate somewhere abroad - however, the Tages-Anzeiger estimates that more than 1.000 Swiss citizens are born each year by surrogate.
Carolin Schurr, Professor of Social and Cultural Geography at the University of Bern told Blick that despite surrogacy being illegal in Switzerland, "demand is increasing." She explained that women around the world are choosing to have children later in life - after they have pursued education and a career - and are therefore impacted by lower rates of fertility, along with well as an increasing number of same-sex couples choosing to have children.
Surrogacy, therefore, allows these couples to start their own families, something they may not have been able to do in the past.
Surrogacy in Switzerland
The recent conversations about surrogacy in Switzerland were sparked when SRF sports presenter Olivier Borer and his husband spoke about their experience using an American surrogate mother to give birth to their child. In an article for Blick, Borer spoke with sadness about the comments he faced from people online, criticising him for being a homosexual father.
Borer said that despite the online hate, he feels it is important to talk about starting a family as a gay man so that other homosexual couples can be aware of their options when it comes to having children. Today, surrogacy is prohibited under Swiss law, with many reasons often cited as to why - namely, because there is a risk that mothers could be financially exploited by couples.
Despite this, many Swiss couples go abroad to places like the United States, where surrogacy is legal, and make arrangements with foreign surrogate mothers. In principle, this process means that Swiss parents are not liable for prosecution, but many still choose to seek legal advice before starting the process.