MADRID - 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 Wednesday when the woman announced in socialite magazine ¡Hola! that the baby is actually the daughter of her son who died of cancer in 2020.
Actress and presenter Ana Obregón told ¡Hola! that doctors had encouraged her son, Aless Lequio García, to preserve samples of sperm before he began treatment and that he expressed a desire just before dying to have a child. The samples, she said, 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" Obregón 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 Defense Minister Margarita Robles on Wednesday held off from criticizing Obregón, 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 legalizing such pregnancies if there’s no payment involved.
Initially, the fact that the matter concerned 68-year-old Obregón seemed to generate as much controversy as that of surrogacy itself.
¡Hola! said the baby was born Mar. 20, and was conceived in June, when Obregón's son would have turned 30.
bregón, 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.