Surrogacy in Italy

To deepen the theme of surrogacy in Italy, it is essential to consider the following aspects:

  1. Can we speak of a surrogate mother in Italy?
  2. Is surrogacy legal in Italy?
  3. The difference between Italian law and the law abroad
  4. What are the risks for Italians who embark on a surrogacy journey abroad?
  5. Understand if surrogacy is a crime in Italy.


Can we speak of a surrogate mother in Italy?

Before analyzing the Italian law about surrogacy, it is crucial to understand the meaning of the term “surrogate mother”.
The surrogate mother is a woman who freely, autonomously and voluntarily chooses to host an embryo developed through in vitro fertilization techniques in her womb, to favour its development until the end of pregnancy, including childbirth.
Therefore, this path represents a solution for single individuals or couples who, due to their sterility and/or infertility, cannot undertake a pregnancy or carry it to the term for medical-physiological reasons or personal situations, psychological or social.

Is surrogacy legal in Italy?

No. In Italy, surrogacy is prohibited by article 12, paragraph 6 of law 40/2004.

Many Italians undertake this process abroad in countries where surrogacy is legal.

This has led to the evolution of Italian case law on the matter. In fact, over time, the approach of the judges who found themselves resolving individual cases relating to the use of these techniques by Italian people abroad has changed. In assessing their conduct, they have tried to reconcile the interests of all the individuals involved, focusing, in particular, on the protection and safeguarding of the best interest of the child.

The difference between Italian law and the law abroad

While surrogacy is prohibited in Italy, the situation abroad is different and different countries have specific regulations.

What needs to be evaluated more carefully is the possibility of recognizing in Italy the legal status of parents acquired abroad.

In fact, according to the different situations, Italian law may not automatically recognize the parental status acquired in the foreign country. It may be necessary to undertake a legal procedure to identify this status in Italy.

Therefore, conducting a case-by-case analysis and, above all, receiving careful and specialized legal advice on surrogacy matters is essential.

At the end of this article, you will find a video where I talk about surrogacy in Italy and abroad.

What are the risks for Italians who embark on a surrogacy journey abroad?

To understand the risks for Italians who access this process abroad, contacting an expert lawyer on surrogacy is vital.

The Italian judges have, in some cases, attributed criminal relevance to the conduct of those who have entered into a surrogacy agreement abroad (e.g. the crime of misrepresentation of marital status and false attestation or declaration to a public official on the identity or one’s personal qualities or those of others).

Based on statistics, the most disputed cases concerned Italian couples or subjects who went to Eastern European countries to undergo a surrogacy process.

Is surrogacy a crime in Italy?

According to Italian law, doing, organising, and advertising surrogacy is a crime.

Law 40/2004 provides, in article 12, paragraph 6, that “… Whoever, in any form whatsoever, carries out, organizes or advertises the commercialization of gametes or embryos or surrogacy is punished with imprisonment for three months to two years and with a fine ranging from 600,000 to one million euros…”.

Paragraph 9 of article 12 establishes that: “… The professional practice shall be suspended from one to three years for a healthcare professional convicted of one of the offences referred to in this article…“.


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