Several Spanish government ministers today criticized a 68-year-old TV actress who, according to a gossip magazine, adopted a child born to a surrogate mother in the United States.

Surrogacy is a practice prohibited in Spain.

Ana Obregon, who starred in Spanish TV series in the late 90s and early 2000s, is pictured on the cover of ¡Hola! Sitting in a wheelchair outside a Miami hospital, holding a newborn baby girl in her arms. The report, labeled “exclusive” and titled “Ana Obregon, mother of baby girl via surrogacy,” does not cite the actress or any other source. It is also not specified whether the surrogate mother received any monetary compensation.

Obregon herself posted the photo of the magazine’s cover on Instagram, with the caption: “We got a fight! A light full of love has come into my darkness. I will never be alone again. I LIVE AGAIN.”

Obregon’s only biological child, her son Ales Lecchio, died of cancer in 2020, aged 27.

Spain as well as other EU countries, such as France, Germany and Italy, prohibit any type of surrogacy, even “altruistic”, that is, without the provision of any monetary compensation.

The report on Ana Obregon has reignited debate on the issue in Spain, where three ministers have publicly criticized her, although the actress was not illegal in her country after having a child through a surrogate abroad.

“It is a form of violence against women,” said Equality Minister Irene Montero, noting that there is “clear prejudice” against women who become surrogates due to financial need.

Similar statements were made by the Minister of the Presidency, Felix Bolanios, and the Minister of the Budget, Maria Jesus Montero. “A woman’s body cannot be bought or rented to satisfy one’s desires,” commented Bolaños.

Commercial surrogacy is a contract whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant and give birth to a child on behalf of others, for financial consideration. Critics of the practice equate it to human trafficking, and the United Nations calls it “the sale of children under human rights law.”

Proponents of the practice say it’s a way for LGBTI community members, childless couples and singles to have a family by being more involved in the pregnancy than in traditional adoption. Due to restrictions in their own countries, many are often forced to travel to other countries with more relaxed laws in order to have a child this way.

Italy’s conservative government said this week it would seek to prosecute those who go abroad to have a baby through surrogacy. Last year, with the reform of Spain’s abortion law, advertising of any form of surrogacy was banned. Parental rights are recognized only after the legal adoption of the child has been preceded.