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Surrogacy in Russia: Current Trends in Family Planning in Comparison with Western Countries

Ponomarev Filipp Sergeevich

ORCID: 0000-0001-6318-794X

Postgraduate Student, Service and Tourism Department, Don State Technical University

344003, Russia, Rostov region, Rostov - on - Don, Gagarin Square, 1










Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify trends of surrogacy among the population of Russia in the XXI century. The relevance of the work is due to the interest of sociologists in family planning and the demographic situation in modern Russia, as well as the influence of Western culture on the domestic institution of the family. Methods of statistical and bibliographic analysis were applied. The work was carried out on the basis of a sociological survey. The object of the study is the socio-cultural sphere of Western and Russian society related to childbearing and family planning. The subject of the study is surrogacy. Special attention was paid to the attitude to this phenomenon, as well as modern trends related to surrogacy. The issue was considered both in the legal field and in the social sphere. The main conclusions of the study are: the need to improve the legal framework, the need to improve the protection of the rights of both surrogate mothers and people applying for this service. Nevertheless, in the course of the study, we found out that the sphere of family planning in Russia has not undergone any special changes and citizens still strive for independent childbearing. The scientific novelty of the work lies in the study of the assessment of citizens in relation to the possibility of having a child using surrogate motherhood. It is worth noting that this attribute of family planning is characteristic primarily for citizens of Western countries. The author's special contribution to the study is to establish the fact that there are no contradictions between the development of the traditional concept of family relations and innovations that are actively practiced in the West and form the entire financial industry.


demographics, family planning, surrogacy, gestational surrogacy, legal assessment, feminism, traditional family, family values, family institute, social institute

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IntroductionIn the era of rapid technological development and dynamic scientific processes, all spheres of human life are undergoing active changes.

This applies to: work, leisure, society and communication in general. The institution of the family is also undergoing changes all over the world, in particular in the areas of family relations and family planning.

Family planning issues have always been a sphere of special scientific interest of scientists. Thus, in Russian science, V.A. Borisov dealt with the problems of demography and family planning, who determined the dependence of mortality and fertility rates as a socio-cultural phenomenon, and also established a link between social changes and motivation for childbearing among the Russian population. The main thesis of V.A. Borisov is the weakening of the need for the institution of children associated with a change in the values and life priorities of society [2, 192],[3.757].

This problem is also highlighted in the works of A.G. Volkov, who tracked the shift in the need for childbearing within the general hierarchy of human needs, showing the predominance of other personal needs, such as the need for love, care and mutual understanding on the part of a partner [5,151].

V.V. Boyko, in turn, noted that reducing the need for childbearing is part of the mechanism of reproductive behavior, highlighting fertility as an element of culture. Moreover, denoting the restriction of childbearing as a desire for self-realization in various spheres of an individual's life: work, leisure, education and self-development [4,156].

In foreign sociology, the issues of family planning were studied by J. C. Caldwell and R. Lesteg. J.C. Caldwell emphasized that the adoption of the Western lifestyle and its values, which include education based on the model of segregation from the family and full independence of the individual, serves as motivation to reduce the attractiveness of the idea of childbearing. Also, it should be emphasized that high spending on the maintenance of offspring is the financial reason for the unpopularity of the idea of a high birth rate. R. Lesteg outlined the reasons for the "Second demographic transition" characteristic of developed countries. The main impetus for this process is the expansion of personal freedoms. The formation of the cells of society under such conditions begins much later, since the primary task of young women is self-realization through education and career [11,27].

DiscussionThe first public mention of the case of successful gestation and birth of a child by surrogate motherhood occurred in the USA [12].

Accordingly, the primary trends of surrogacy originated in the West. In the 21st century, due to the large number of recorded cases of infertility, as well as concomitant problems with conceiving a child, women in Western countries are increasingly turning to surrogacy. Thus, according to the data presented in the reports on the national health statistics of the United States in the period from 2006 to 2010, 41% - 46% of women aged 25 to 44 years have fertility problems. In the period from 2006 to 2010, 38% of women sought help in pregnancy planning [8.5]. 36% of women used direct medical care in order to get pregnant [8,7].

It should be emphasized that the surrogacy market is estimated to be worth about $ 14 billion at the time of 2022. The age group with the largest number that resorts to surrogacy services is people aged 35 to 44 years. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 30% of US men suffer from infertility. In turn, the number of women unable to procreate was 12.1%. The cost of the surrogacy market in combination with statistical data on infertility among men and women indicates the existing need for such services [14].

However, some women resort to surrogate motherhood, despite having the ability to procreate. For example, feminists believe that the possibility of surrogacy is one of the choices that can be made by any woman, regardless of the opinion of others [13]. This is due to the popularity of feminism in the West. Moreover, a social survey conducted by the Pew Research Center (USA) showed that 61% of American women somehow consider themselves to be a feminist movement. Of these, 19% answer the question categorically. Below is a summary in the form of a table on the materials of the Pew Research Center social issue dated 07.07.2020. The number of respondents surveyed was 3143 people among adults [15].

Table 1 Percentage of American women who consider themselves feminists (Table 1 Percentage of American women who consider themselves feminists)

Fully identify themselves as feminists

Partially identify themselves as feminists

Total percentage

All women




Age 18-29
















Source: https://pewrsr.ch/2DjsXV4

One of the most famous theses of feminism as an ideology is the freedom to dispose of one's own body, health and resources by female representatives. Accordingly, as mentioned above, procreation refers to the attributes of free choice with adherence to the ideology of feminism. Feminism also includes the freedom to choose sexual orientation. Moreover, in the USA, in the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, LGBT representatives are allowed to resort to surrogacy, including for female same-sex couples [16, 6-7].

Based on the above, we can draw the following conclusion: in the West, for a number of socio-cultural reasons, not only physiologically healthy women, but also men can resort to surrogacy, based solely on their own desire and considerations.

This trend takes place on the territory of Western countries. Thus, according to the results of the report of the National Center for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion of the United States in the field of assisted reproductive technologies, at the time of 2016, more than 5,521 cases of surrogacy were recorded in the United States. In 2007, this indicator was about 2 thousand cases [9, 53]. Moreover, the trend continues to grow rapidly, as evidenced by the data of the report for 2019. In 2019, there were 9195 registered cases of surrogacy, 9% of which related to women who do not have reproductive health problems. In 2019, the number of women delegating childbearing to surrogate mothers was 5.4%, the sample included women with problems with conception, gestation and other concomitant reproductive ailments. It is important to note that in 2010 the indicator was 2.1% [10.34].

The modern domestic institution of the family is also undergoing certain changes. For example, the number of civil marriages is significantly increasing [1,128]. At the same time, the number of officially registered marriages is rapidly decreasing. According to the calculations of the RPN for 2017, the share of women in a civil marriage, also postponing the birth of a child due to uncertainty in a partner, was 46% [7.26-32]. It should be emphasized that the attributes of the so-called second demographic transition have reached Russia, namely: an increase in the age of entry into family relations, an increase in the proportion of non-marital children, an increase in the birth of the first child.

Nevertheless, for the most part, Russian society continues to remain traditional. Speaking about the issues of motherhood, Russian society remains conservative. According to a TASS poll, 86.2% of Russians believe that a woman's key role is family and offspring. Respondents noted that the key roles are played by the upbringing and education of the younger generation [6].

As part of our empirical research in the format of a social question among 410 respondents aged 18 to 67 years, 168 respondents answered the question about the possibility of using surrogate motherhood services that it is unlikely (Fig.1). It should also be noted that respondents see a low probability of using surrogate motherhood for the future families of their children (Fig. 2). The dominant position is still occupied by independent gestation and childbearing.


Figure 1 Respondents' opinion on the likelihood of using the surrogacy method (Picture 1 - Respondents' opinion on the purpose of using the surrogacy method)


Figure 2 Respondents' opinion on the likelihood of using the surrogacy method in the future (Figure 2 Respondents' opinion on the purpose of using the surrogacy method in the future)

So, on average, more than 400 respondents, among whom 61 men and 344 women (out of those who indicated their gender during the survey) preferred independent childbearing to surrogate motherhood.

In the Russian Federation, the problem of the development of the traditional family is considered as a structural element of statehood, a factor in determining demographic processes. Evidence of this is the Concept of state Family Policy in the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025, which is "an integral system of principles, tasks and priority measures aimed at supporting, strengthening and protecting the family as the fundamental basis of Russian society, preserving traditional family values, increasing the role of the family in society, increasing the authority of parenthood in the family and society, prevention and overcoming of family problems, improving conditions and improving the quality of life of families" [17]. It should be said that among the set of measures of the Concept, medical care for the restoration of reproductive health is named on the basis of ensuring accessibility and improving quality, the use of assisted reproductive technologies. However, any tasks on the problem of surrogacy are not indicated in the Concept. It is possible to consider "assisted reproductive technologies" as such, especially since in 2011-2013 surrogacy acquired a legal basis in Russia [18; 19]. Based on the results of a mass survey, it can be assumed that a small number of spouses with a similar problem got into the sample. The demand for surrogacy in Russian society is primarily due to the lack of the ability to procreate for medical reasons. This measure, used by married couples the union of a man and a woman, both married and not officially married, in principle does not contradict traditional values, but on the contrary is aimed at creating a full-fledged prosperous family, at strengthening it.

ConclusionsDespite globalization and the penetration of Western trends into Russian culture and institutions, the sphere of family planning in the country has not undergone much change in the 21st century.

Russians still want to have children on their own. Meanwhile, a balanced attitude to the problem of surrogacy is required, improvement of the legal framework to ensure the protection of the interests of both genetic parents and surrogate mother.

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In the peer-reviewed article "Surrogacy in Russia: current trends in family planning in comparison with Western countries" the subject of the study was a comparison of attitudes towards surrogacy in Russian and American society. The purpose of the study is not clearly formulated. The research methodology is based on the works on family planning (V.A. Borisova, A.G. Volkova, V.V. Boyko, J. Caldwell and R. Lestega), which substantiate the current trends of weakening the need for children's education by changing values and life priorities of society. One of the research methods was the analysis of data from American research centers (such as the National Center for the Prevention of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion and others). The paper also presents data from an empirical study on the possibility of using surrogacy services, which was conducted in the format of a social survey among 410 respondents aged 18 to 67 years. The relevance of the topic of the publication is determined by the growing social problems that are generated by assisted reproductive technologies. Their influence has long gone beyond medicine and led to avalanche-like changes in traditional social structures and models of interaction in the family. At the moment, relations related to surrogacy are increasingly shifting into the focus of scientific research not only by lawyers, but also by sociologists. This is due to the fact that every year there are many social problems associated with these types of public relations. The scientific novelty of the publication is associated with the actualization of the problem of surrogacy in the context of national values. Noteworthy is the conclusion that in Russian society, the demand for surrogacy is primarily due to the lack of ability to procreate for medical reasons. "This measure, used by married couples the union of a man and a woman, both married and not officially married, in principle does not contradict traditional values, but on the contrary is aimed at creating a full-fledged prosperous family, at strengthening it." Therefore, a balanced attitude to the problem of surrogacy is required, and the improvement of the legal framework to ensure the protection of the interests of both genetic parents and the surrogate mother. The presented material is characterized by general consistency and literacy of presentation, clear and well-founded argumentation. The conclusions are present and have a justification, which indicates the full implementation of the research plan. The bibliography of the work includes 19 references, but most of them contain references to research results and regulatory documents. Of the scientific papers presented, there are no publications in the last 7-10 years in which the problems of surrogacy would be discussed. Therefore, an appeal to the main opponents cannot be considered sufficient. The bibliographic list itself is not designed in accordance with the requirements of the journal. Thus, the work will be of interest to specialists in the field of family and marriage. The article "Surrogacy in Russia: modern trends in the field of family planning in comparison with Western countries" has a certain scientific significance. The work can be published after correction of the bibliographic list.