Surrogate birthing becomes legal in Portugal “for medical reasons”

It’s a major step. Not quite as ambitious as surrogacy laws in America – which allow VIPs and wealthy couples to leave the trials of pregnancy and childbirth to contracted third parties – but Portugal’s new law which comes into effect today spells hope for all infertile women of child-bearing age.

It allows them to hire a ‘surrogate’ “who will receive no payment” for her act, but whose medical costs will be “guaranteed by the new family”.

Couples seeking what are nationally dubbed as “tummies for hire” will have to do so through an official ‘centre for assisted reproduction’, and undergo psychological evaluation.

They will however be free to choose the nationality of their surrogates.

The law, which has taken months to fine-tune, defines “time spent” between surrogates and the baby they carry should be kept to a minimum, unless the surrogate is a member of the child’s family.

Secretary of State for Health Fernando Araújo has said the new law is open to couples both heterosexual and Lesbian, whether married or simply living together.

It is also open to foreigners “even if they don’t normally live in Portugal”.

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