Russian authorities have allegedly threatened to arrest queer men involved with surrogacy after comparing the process to “baby trafficking”.
A source within Russia’s Investigative Committee stated that it was an offence for men with “non-traditional orientation” to use their sperm for in vitro fertilisation (IVF), according to the Independent. The individual further compared surrogacy with child trafficking.
The source stated, “We plan to arrest a number of suspects, single men, and Russian citizens, who have used surrogate mothers to give birth to children.”
In January 2020, a state investigation was launched following the death of a baby in a Moscow flat. The child was discovered alongside four other children and two women, who were nannies.
The state investigators declared this constituted baby trafficking in July and detained medical staff and lawyers under claims they had facilitated it. Since then, seven people have been arrested in connection with the case.
According to evidence, the baby died from natural causes. The nannies were caring for the child while preparing documentation for their Filipino parents to take them back home.
Lawyer Igor Trunov, who is representing the parents in the case, stated, “Whatever you do, you should not believe state investigators when they say they are acting out of interests of child welfare. They have chosen to send three eleven-month-old kids to a children’s psychiatric facility.”
Trunov said his clients were taking legal action against the Russian government for “abducting” their children. The lawyer further suggested that the investigators were conjuring a “gay bogeyman” to sway public support in their favour.
Regarding the alleged threats by Russian authorities against queer men involved with surrogacy, Trunov stated, “[Investigaors] want to connect baby trafficking to the idea of sexual orientation, knowing how that resonates with the wider public. They understand no one is going to stand up for gays.”
Although there has been no official confirmation of authorities proceeding with the mass arrest of queer men involved with surrogacy in Russia, the LGBTQ+ community are expressing concerns over their rights being further stripped away. However, activist Igor Kochetkov cautioned against making conclusions beyond the criminal case while also acknowledging that there are significant causes to worry.
Kochetkov said, “This could be the initiative of the State Investigative Committee alone. It could just be their own very weird point of view. We can’t yet be sure it’s a done deal across the government.”
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