A heated debate in Spain triggered by a 68-year-old celebrity who was reported to have used a surrogate mother in Miami to have a baby took a twist when the woman revealed the girl is actually the daughter of her son who died of cancer in 2020.
Actress and presenter Ana Obregon told magazine Hola! that doctors had encouraged her son, Aless Lequio Garcia, to preserve samples of sperm before he began treatment and that he expressed a desire just before dying to have a child.
She said the samples were stored in New York.
Surrogate pregnancies are banned in Spain although children from such pregnancies in other countries can be registered.
“This girl is not my daughter, but rather my granddaughter,” Obregon told the magazine. “It was Aless’ last wish to bring a child into the world.”
Initial reports about the baby grabbed the attention of the Spanish media and the country’s political parties, sparking criticism from the leftist coalition government.
Many leading politicians and outlets of Spanish media refer to surrogacy as “womb renting”.
Equality Minister Irene Montero, of the leftist United We Can coalition partner, said surrogate pregnancies were “a form of violence against women”.
The coalition’s Socialist party said legislation should be tweaked to prevent Spaniards using surrogates in other countries.
But Defence Minister Margarita Robles on Wednesday held off from criticising Obregon, saying that while the law was clear in Spain, personal decisions should be respected.
The main opposition conservative Popular Party has said it is open to debate on legalising such pregnancies if there is no payment involved.
Initially, the fact that the matter concerned 68-year-old Obregon seemed to generate as much controversy as that of surrogacy itself.
Hola! said the baby was born on March 20, and was conceived in June, when Obregon’s son would have turned 30.
Obregon, a biologist, is one of Spain’s biggest celebrities and has appeared on many TV shows, including an episode of The A-Team. She was once best known for her yearly start-of-summer magazine photo shoot in a new bikini.