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Gay men in Russia with surrogate children warned they face arrest

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  • Gay men in Russia with surrogate children warned they face arrest

    Pride rally in Saint Petersburg(AFP via Getty Images)

    Russian authorities have warned of the arrest of gay men who have fathered children to surrogate mothers, firing what appears to be another salvo across the bow of LGBT+ rights.

    Commenting on a long-running criminal case to state media, a source in the country’s Investigative Committee equated LGBT+ surrogacy to baby trafficking. It was an offence for men with “non-traditional orientation” to provide sperm for in vitro fertilisation, the source asserted.

    “We plan to arrest a number of suspects, single men, and Russian citizens, who have used surrogate mothers to give birth to children,” he added.

    The unattributed source has not yet been supported by official statements. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment during his daily call with journalists on Friday. But the note in TASS appeared to be a warning the state is preparing to take a much closer interest in the most intimate aspects of citizens’ lives.

    State investigators have already jailed seven people – and put three kids in care – in connection to the criminal case, which was opened in January following the tragic cot death of a baby boy. The baby was discovered alongside four other children and two women in a Moscow flat. In July, investigators declared this constituted baby trafficking and arrested the medical staff and lawyers they said had facilitated it.

    In fact, the babies were being cared for by the women, who were nannies, while documents were prepared for their Filipino parents to take them back home. There is no evidence to demonstrate the young boy died of anything but natural causes.

    “Babies, unfortunately, do die, and especially when we are talking about [IVF] technology,” says the lawyer Igor Trunov, who is representing the parents in the case. “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.”

    Mr Trunov said his clients were taking the unusual step of suing the Russian government for “abducting” their children, who are de jure “foreign citizens.”

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