"--IANS/EFE"
Barcelona, May 2 - Every year, around 800 Spanish couples who see surrogacy as their only reproductive option must go abroad because Spain does not permit the practice, experts said here at a conference organised by law firm Subrogalia.

Only a few countries have any legislation regulating surrogacy and establishing that legal paternity resides with the couple who hire the surrogate, specialists in the field told EFE Thursday.

Spanish couples pay anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 euros - for the process.

The top surrogacy destination for Spanish couples is Ukraine, where some clinics offer unlimited implantation procedures for a fixed fee, but Mexico is becoming more popular, as Ukrainian law bars surrogacy clinics from serving single people and gay or lesbian couples.

Four years ago, the United States was the top destination and represented around 80 percent of all Spanish couples, Diego Sanchez, president of Subrogalia, said, adding that the proportion has since fallen to 15 percent.

If we could go to a closer country to hire surrogate mothers, then we would, he said.

While Britain, Greece and Cyprus permit surrogacy, the practice is limited to residents and the prospective parents may not pay the surrogate, the attorney said.

Adoption is difficult in Spain, Sanchez said, noting that more than 15,000 couples are officially registered on the waiting list to adopt 80-100 children a year.

--IANS/EFE

ab/deb/vt


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