Surrogacy debate at the Council of Europe: the case of conflict of interest of rapporteur De Sutter

On the 15th of March, the Council of Europe will debate the report “Human Rights and ethical issues related to surrogacy”. The rapporteur is the Belgian senator Petra De Sutter who is accused to face a conflict of interest because she has already openly confirmed her involvement in surrogacy practices in in the University Hospital Ghent where she works.

Also Huffington Post wrote that Ms. De Sutter collaborates with a Clinic of India “Seeds of Innocence” which openly uses surrogacy.

On the Indian Clinic’s website it is possible to read the confirmation of prof. De Sutter’s collaboration and support:

Seeds of Innocence signs strategic cooperation agreement with Vrouwenkliniek – Belgium on 7th July 2015. (…) He also appreciated the support and contribution of Dr. Petra De Sutter of Vrouwenkliniek – Belgium in launching this project. While signing the cooperation agreement, Dr. Petra De Sutter said the issue of infertility is extremely sensitive more particularly in conservative societies. As professionals, we should continuously strive to make the treatment affordable by every section of society.


council-of-europeAccording to CoE legal framework, rapporteurs under article 1.1.1 of the code of conduct, must ‘not have any economic, commercial, financial or other interests, on a professional, personal or family level, connected with the subject of the report, and obligation to declare any relevant interests”. (Code of conduct of rapporteurs)

Replying to the accusations of conflict of interest, the Belgian senator replied on the column of the French version of the Huffington Post explaining that “No, the Council of Europe does not support commercial surrogacy“.

The European Parliament already approved a resolution condemning all form of surrogacy on December, 17th.