In keeping with the original aim of the exercise and the UN Special Rapporteur’s recommendation, the drafting of the Principles focused on laying the foundations for worldwide consensus on effectively protecting the human rights of children who are born through surrogacy arrangements. The Principles are consequently drafted from the standpoint of these children’s rights and within the overall human rights framework.
The first draft of the Principles was prepared by a core group of experts convened and coordinated by Mia Dambach on behalf of ISS General Secretariat: Claire Achmad, Nigel Cantwell, Patricia Fronek, Olga Khazova, John Pascoe, David Smolin, Katarina Trimmings, and Michael Wells-Greco. This core group has since taken responsibility for regularly reviewing and adjusting the draft in the light of wider consultations. These consultations have involved a broad group of experts and observers including from UN CRC Committee, Governments, HCCH, UNICEF, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, academics and practitioners from multi-disciplinary backgrounds representing various regions in the world. The lived experiences of donor conceived and surrogate born persons was also sought and received. Securing inputs has been ensured notably through a series of international, regional and national consultations since 2016, including in Verona, Zurich, Israel, The Hague, Cape Town, London and Geneva as well as Cambodia (chronological order). Other regional meetings were also foreseen in the Americas and Eastern Europe but could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was nonetheless possible to include input from experts from these regions in the drafting process.
ISS would like to warmly thank all those who have contributed to and participated in the drafting of the Verona Principles. ISS hopes that these Principles will provide useful guidance for protecting children’s rights in surrogacy, welcoming other efforts to ensure that human rights are respected in this field.
Currently available in English and Portuguese, the Verona principles will be translated into French and Spanish, and on request to other languages.