The vice president of Italy's Senate launched an attack against Sir Elton John over his use of surrogate mothers to carry his children.

John and his husband, filmmaker David Furnish, have two sons, Zachary, 5, and Elijah, 3. The boys were born with the use of a surrogate mother.

The issue of surrogacy, which is banned in Italy for all couples, has taken center stage as lawmakers prepare to debate a gay-inclusive civil unions bill.

(Related: Thousands rally in support of civil unions for gay couples in Italy.)

“With wombs for rent it's easy to arrive at eugenics and Nazism,” Senator Maurizio Gasparri told Radio 24 on Sunday.

“What he did was the selfishness of a rich, arrogant man who exploited other people's desperation,” he added.

Earlier in the month, Angelino Alfano, Italy's interior minister, described surrogacy as a “sex crime.”

A controversial amendment to the proposed civil unions bill sought to impose steep penalties against gay couples who could not prove they did not use a surrogate.