Spanish government ministers on Wednesday criticised a 68-year-old television actress who a celebrity magazine said had adopted a child born through a surrogate pregnancy in the United States, a practice that is illegal if undertaken in Spain.
Ana Obregon, who rose to prominence in the 1980s and starred in Spanish sitcoms in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was pictured on the cover of ¡Hola! magazine outside Miami’s Memorial Regional Hospital, sitting in a wheelchair and holding a newborn baby girl.
The article, billed as exclusive and headlined “Ana Obregon, mother of a baby girl born through surrogate pregnancy”, does not quote Obregon, cite any sources, or say whether she financially compensated a surrogate mother.
She posted a picture of the magazine cover on Instagram saying: “We’ve been caught! A light full of love came into my darkness. I will never be alone again. I AM ALIVE AGAIN.”
Obregon’s only biological child, her son Aless Lequio, died of cancer in 2020 at the age of 27.
Neither the actress nor her management agency responded to a Reuters request for comment.
Spain, along with some other EU countries such as France, Germany and Italy, bans all forms of surrogacy, including so-called “altruistic” ones, where no money changes hands.
The report of surrogacy reignited a controversy in Spanish society, with three government ministers publicly criticising the move despite it being legal as the magazine said it had occurred abroad.
“It is a form of violence against women,” Equality Minister Montero told reporters, adding that there was a “clear poverty bias” with regards to women who become surrogate mothers due to financial need.
Her critical comments were echoed by Presidency Minister Felix Bolaños and Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero.
“Women’s bodies should neither be bought nor rented to satisfy anyone’s desires,” Bolaños said.
Commercial surrogacy is a contract whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and deliver a child on behalf of people in exchange for financial compensation.
Critics equate it to human trafficking and the United Nations describes it as the “sale of children under human rights law”. It is illegal in the European Union.
Defenders of surrogacy say it is a way for LGBT and infertile couples, as well as single parents, to form families, allowing for more involvement throughout the pregnancy than traditional adoption.
Due to restrictions in their home countries, people seeking to have a surrogate child often travel to other nations with laxer laws.
Italy’s conservative majority said this week it would seek to prosecute people who go abroad to have a baby via surrogacy.
Last year’s Spanish abortion law reform also banned advertising any form of surrogacy. Parentage after surrogacy is only recognised through legal adoption.