Changing Parenthood and Migration

Summary of report
18 February 2019

A child with three or four legal parents. And what happens when one of these parents does not have the Dutch nationality? If the Netherlands decide to implement regulations on multi-parenting and multi-parent custody, according to the ACVZ it is not necessary to exclude certain groups of migrants who would like to become a multi-parent. However the ACVZ does advice to only open up the surrogacy procedure to Union citizens and third-country nationals who have permanent residence status in the Netherlands. The imposition of such further requirements can contribute to the prevention surrogates travelling to the Netherlands for the sole purpose of being a surrogate.

In December of 2016 the Government Committee on the Reassessment of Parenthood (hereinafter referred to as the Government Committee) published its report entitled ‘Kind en ouders in de 21ste eeuw’ (Child and Parents in the 21st century). In it, the Government Committee proposed regulations on multi-parenting and multi-parent custody arrangements for a maximum of four individuals. The reason for this is that current regulations do not adequately address the various forms of social parenthood that exist within society (such as stepparent families and same-sex parents). In addition, the Government Committee put forward proposed regulations for surrogacy arrangements with legal safeguards. The aim of these regulations is to prevent Dutch parents from seeking a surrogate in countries that do not offer adequate protection for the rights of the surrogate and the child.

In her report ‘Changing Parenthood and Migration’ the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs (ACVZ) advises on the impact of the Government Committee’s proposals on migration law. The ACVZ concludes that implementation of the proposals of the Government Committee will have an impact on migration law. In the interest of legal uniformity and legal protection, the ACVZ considers that the amendments as regards the concept of a ‘family’ in parentage law urgently needs to be implemented in migration law as well. It is also necessary to regulate the residence status of individuals in these new family structures.

Multi-parenting and multi-parent custody
Misuse of the proposed regulations on multi-parenting and multi-parent custody arrangements cannot be entirely excluded. However, the complexity of the procedures that must be completed is seen as a guarantee against misuse. In the view of the ACVZ, the starting point must be to strike a balance between the prevention of misuse on the one hand and the protection of the legitimate interests of the parties involved on the other hand. The ACVZ therefore advises that the regulations on multi-parenting and multi-parent custody arrangements should not be subject to restrictions on residence. However, in order to guard against misuse, the legislative text should be amended. The family court should consider and assess each application on a case-by-case basis.

Surrogacy
The ACVZ recommends to only open up the surrogacy procedure to Union citizens and third-country nationals with a permanent residence status. The imposition of such further requirements can contribute to the prevention surrogates travelling to the Netherlands for the sole purpose of being a surrogate. The imposition of such further requirements will also guarantee that the child can be born in the Netherland, making sure that Dutch law is applicable and that there is no uncertainty with regard to the parentage. The ACVZ also makes a couple of recommendations that can contribute to the prevention of exploitation of the foreign surrogate.

More information on this report can be obtained from Sonja Avontuur (senior advisor) (+31(0)6-46840908) s.a.a.avontuur@acvz.minvenj.nl