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Iceland: Legalization of Surrogacy Proposed

(Oct. 26, 2015) On October 13, 2015, Iceland’s Health Minister, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, announced a proposal to legalize surrogacy in Iceland. (Proposal to Legalise Surrogacy in Iceland, MBL.IS (Oct. 14, 2015).)

The proposed law would permit only altruistic surrogacy agreements, not commercial ones. It would allow both men and women to solicit a surrogate to carry their child. The draft law does not stipulate any requirements as to the marital status of the person(s) seeking a surrogate, enabling homosexuals to have a child with their genetic DNA. The legislation would continue the current ban on anonymous donations of reproductive cells, thus requiring that the intended parent and child know the identity of the potential egg or sperm donor. (Þingskjal 245 — 229. mál. Frumvarp til laga um stað­göngumæðrun í velgjörðarskyni (Lagt fyrir Alþingi á 145. löggjafarþingi 2015–2016) [Proposal for an Act on Altruistic Surrogacy (Presented to the Parliament as No. 145 of the 2015-2016 Session)] Parliament website (last visited Oct. 23, 2015).) According to Júlíusson, this provision is designed to safeguard a child’s right to know its genetic heritage. (Proposal to Legalise Surrogacy in Iceland, supra.)

Under the proposed law, an agreement on surrogacy must be completed in writing and may not be made for compensation. (Proposal for an Act on Altruistic Surrogacy 2015-2016, § 3 item 4 & § 15, supra.) The proposed legislation would set the age requirements for surrogate mothers at between 25 and 39 years of age. (Id. § 8 ¶ 5.) Both of the parents using surrogacy would be required to be 25 to 45 years of age. (Id. § 9 ¶ 4 item 3.) The surrogate mother would retain autonomy over the pregnancy for the duration of her pregnancy. (Id. § 5.) Surrogacy for profit would continue to be banned (id. § 30) and only certain specific costs associated with carrying and delivering the child would be reimbursable (id. § 17).

The draft legislation also proposes the establishment of a Committee on Surrogacy, which, among other tasks, would accept and evaluate the applications submitted by potential parents and, after they have been approved, also assist them with consulting lawyers and other resources and with accepting and evaluating the applications submitted by potential surrogates. (Id. §§ 6, 11, & 12.).)

Background

Surrogacy has been discussed in Iceland since 2012. Another draft law was first presented for debate in 2014. (Frumvarp til laga um staðgöngumæðrun í velgjörðarskyni (heildarlög) (Lagt fyrir Alþingi á 144. löggjafarþingi 2014–2015.) [Proposition for an Act on Altruistic Surrogacy (Full-Text) (Presented to the Parliament as No. 144 of the 2015-2015 session)], Ministry of Welfare website ( last visited Oct. 23, 2015).)

According to the Health Minister, there have been only about ten instances a year of people expressing a desire to solicit surrogacy services. (Proposal to Legalise Surrogacy in Iceland, supra.)

Iceland would become the first Nordic country to allow surrogacy. At present surrogacy is not allowed in Denmark (Surrogatmoderskab [Surrogacy], ANKESTYRELSEN (Nov. 14, 2013)), Finland (Lag om assisterad befruktning (22.12.2006/1237) [Act on Assisted Pregnancy ( Dec. 22, 2006, No. 1237)] (as amended), FINLEX), Norway (Surrogacy, GOVERNMENT.NO (last updated Jan. 23, 2015)), or Sweden (Lag om genetisk integritet m.m. (SFS 2006:351) [Act on Genetic Integrity etc. (No. 351 of 2006)], NOTISUM).