fbpx
  • PONS MEDICAL
  • GROUP

Surrogacy in Spain

Spain is one of the most incredible countries in the World with lovely people and wonderful patisseries, beautiful architecture, impressive nature and high-quality life standards. Unfortunately, when we are talking about surrogacy, the picture is not so good. In our experience Embassies of Spain all over the World are the most ”picky” related to cases where surrogacy relationships occur. And it has its own reasons.

Legal basis for Surrogacy in Spain

Surrogacy is not allowed in Spain. Despite the fact that such kind of activity in Spain is not regulated and it is not possible to obtain a legal license even for agencies to provide such kind of services in the country, surrogacy has already became a part of reality of many Spanish families. However, the desire to become parents leads these couples to Ukraine or Georgia, where surrogacy is allowed and doesn’t cost so much as in USA. On the other side, when the baby is born, parents get the birth certificate of the baby in the country where the surrogacy program and/or delivery was performed. Usually, they are already written in the birth certificate as legal parents, but it doesn’t help a lot in cases of surrogacy with Spanish couples, as the country of surrogacy program (Georgia or Ukraine) doesn’t give the nationality for such baby automatically, leaving it in some kind of “legal limbo” until the parents go to the Embassy of their country of origin for obtaining citizenship and therefore passport for a baby to travel home.

Citizenship via option

According to the Spanish legislation about nationality and citizenship, a baby born outside of Spain, who have at least one parent (Mother or Father) with Spanish nationality (that have Spanish passport), can apply for Spanish citizenship via the Embassy.

Applying to Spanish government for Spanish citizenship for a baby, parents automatically put themselves into the field of legal relationships that fell into the scope of Spanish substantive law. It means that from the moment you enter the Spanish Embassy you are under the regulation of Spanish civil, family and reproduction law. From this part legal difficulties appear.

The filiation of the surrogacy babies

According to par.4 art.9 chapter IV of the Preliminary title of the Civil Code of Spain, if it is not possible to establish the filiation of the child or if the child lacks habitual residence and nationality (exactly surrogacy case, when newborn child doesn’t have any citizenship, residence or nationality yet), the Spanish substantive law will be applied. Article 10 of the Law 14/2006, of May 26, on techniques of assisted human reproduction specifies that the contract for which the pregnancy is agreed (surrogacy contract), with or without a price, by a woman who renounces maternal filiation in favor of the contractor or a third party shall be null and void. The filiation of the children born by gestation by substitution will be determined by birth. The possible action for claiming paternity with respect to the biological father is preserved, in accordance with the general rules.

Position of Spanish government

The position of Spanish government in surrogacy cases is very clear, as it is written in official recommendations of Ministry of Justice of Spain, “In no case will be accepted as a suitable title for the registration of the birth and filiation of the birth, a foreign registration certificate or the simple declaration, accompanied by a medical certificate regarding the birth of the child that does not show the identity of the pregnant mother”. It is possible to use court decision in some cases, and in other cases the Spanish government wants to be sure that there were no violation of surrogate’s rights by the legal system of the country where surrogacy was performed.

Since Spain recognizes the mother as a woman who carries and delivers the baby, the Embassy requests a medical certificate of birth from Maternity House, where delivery was performed to get proofs that the legal mother (according to the legal birth certificate), has delivered the baby in reality. In Ukraine and in Georgia in the medical certificate of birth is always written the surrogate mother, as the medical institutions in these countries are not responsible for legal part of the process. The registration of a baby is performed here in judicial bodies (Civil registrar office of the Ministry of Justice), not in Maternity House. On the contrary, in Belarus, the genetic (Legal, Intended) Mother appears in both documents medical and legal certificate of birth. Another thing is that Spain doesn’t recognize any of these documents in any case, as it was given according to rules different than their own.

Problems is the end

So, in the end of the surrogacy process, parents face the problem, when their baby doesn’t have citizenship and passport of any country. Consequently, they cannot travel home until this problem is solved. On the other hand, the Spanish Embassy requests: 1) recognition of the parenting rights from the genetic (legal) father and 2) abandonment papers from surrogate mother, although it has been already done in the “surrogacy” country before the signature of the surrogacy contract in the Notary or after the baby’s birth, 3) completely disregarding at the same time the genetic mother of the baby, regardless if it was program with egg-donation or not, as she didn’t deliver the baby. All this makes the parent’s impression of the surrogacy process poisoned and duration of their stay abroad much longer.

The Spanish Embassy accepts only such kind of legal birth certificates where the surrogate mother is written as the legal mother, genetic father is written as the legal father and genetic mother is written…nowhere. After the family come back home, to Spain, genetic mother will need to adopt her own baby. For some strange reason, the Spanish government prefers to get a legal certificate of birth without mother at all, than to get one where the genetic mother appears.

This statement comes from “protecting of the rights of the child”, stipulated in the Article 7, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child of November 20, 1989, where it is written, that the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. The problem is, that this child will for sure know his or her real (genetic) parents, as they are already a family, and this child is not lost, moreover he is already registered in another country.

Wonderful Spain

In all this process, Spain as a country put itself in the position that doesn’t recognize the legal documents of another country that is quite strange for a Member of the Convention abolishing the requirements of legalization for foreign public documents, Concluded 5 October 1961 in Hague. From one side, such surrogacy countries as Ukraine or Georgia don’t have any mutual agreement with Spain about mutual recognition of birth certificates and other civil documents. From the other side, all of these countries are members of Hague Convention 1961, which stipulates simplified regime of recognition of documentation in general, including birth certificates, marriage certificates or court decisions, they just need to be apostilised. So, the question is: why Spain recognize documentation in another fields of life (driver license, marriage or education documents), but doesn’t recognize it when it comes to surrogacy?

Under general principles of international law, there can be only four regimes of recognition of the documents issued by other countries:

  1. National (when the country recognizes it without any questions and formalities, like they issued these documents by themselves);
  2. Legalization (consular and diplomatic legalization);
  3. Apostilisation (more simple than legalization, just need a stamp of specific form, works for all Member of Hague convention 1961) – Spain, Georgia and Ukraine are Members of this Convention;
  4. Special regime – even a more liberal regime according to mutual agreements between countries.

Consequently, any other claims or demands of any country in the World relating to the non-recognition of the documents, especially when it comes to ones that prove relationships inside the family, between children and parents, are not only illegal or strange, they, first of all, interfere in the internal affairs of another country and second, undermine the prestige of the government that issued such documents.

Fortunately, such countries as Ukraine and Georgia, that allow surrogacy, are always on the side of parents and their children, that’s why it is always possible to get Ukrainian or Georgian citizenship and passport for babies, born via surrogacy on the territory of these countries, if the Embassy denies them.

Pons Medical Group is ready to help you in your surrogacy journey.

Contact us today to get free consultation about your case!


Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of Pons Medical Group

Why should you sign a contract with Pons Medical?

Why should you sign a surrogacy contract with us?

First I would like to mention that I don’t pretend to list the usual reasons that you would find in other websites or company brochures. I want to have an honest conversation with you, to tell you the truth about the steps you are ready to take.

No, cheaper surrogacy cost is not better. Yes, I know you don’t have too much money, or maybe you have but you need to save, you have other plans and expenditures. But Surrogacy is not a field where you would like to save. Saving will come to a cost, a very heavy one. You pay low, then your child will be born in the cheapest hospital, the surrogate mother will get the cheapeast medicines, you will have the risk of malformation of the child because of not performing PGS and no harmony test… is really what you want? I am sure that the answer is NO.

Maybe the clinic you have chosen is not expensive, you feel lucky. But you don’t know the quality of the embryologist, you don’t know if the equipment is old or was bough second hand, you are just listening to beautiful statistics and promises of the marketing team or the coordinator, and after 2, 3, 4 embryo-transfer you have no results, you feel frustrated and you give up or change clinic/agency and start all over again after wasting thousands of Euros/Dollars.

Or maybe you are thinking about a surrogacy contract in Ukraine/Kenia or other cheap countries. You contact a Ukrainian agency and they show you beautiful donors, you are fascinated…what you don’t know is that in Ukraine donors are anonymous and after you select the beautiful one, another ordinary donor will be stimulated instead of the one you chose. Yes, I know, not all clinics in Ukraine are the same, probably not all of them are cheaters, but the risk is very high. And what is worse; people still flock to an infamous Ukrainian clinic that I will not mention here, even after that clinic was news all around the world for totally unethical practices and not only once!

And then come the times of processing the documents of the newborn children in your consulate, the final step. But your clinic is not a law company, it gives you some documents, you need to go to the consulate alone. In the best case somebody will assist you, maybe without experience, and because of small fails you will stay in the country 2 months, 3 months. You though you made a good deal, you saved 3000 Euros, but now you cannot sleep for two weeks, you don’t know how to go out of the situation, nobody is there to help you.

Or you can avoid these problems. By making a contract with us, you will save time and money and above all you will have peace of mind. We at Pons Medical Group are specialists in Reproductive Technologies and Family Law. We know which clinic is best, which maternity house is best, we know how to deal with legal issues. And we have prepared the best package of services for you, for your convenience and success.

Yes, we take care of you and we value your time and your money. Above all we are committed to help you from your landing to your take off because we feel a huge responsibility. It is your family and your future that are at stake and we, as co-creators of this future will always do our best, we will always be on your side. Your success is our success.

Surrogacy conflicts: why do they exist?

Surrogacy is not a totally regulated
field of Law. There are a lot of gaps in legislation, either in the countries,
where surrogacy is allowed or banned. Referring to the surrogacy field, we
need to remember that it is quite a young method of infertility treatment, for
example gestational surrogacy is used from the end of 20TH century
only.

Why legal frameworks of Surrogacy are uncertain?

Why it
is not regulated still? Why couples face the problem when their surrogacy
babies have unclear legal
status and for what your own countries put these babies into “legal limbo”?

To answer these questions we need to understand
what Law Regulation is in general. The system of legal rules was created in
order to protect the rights and properties of the different actors of a society
in which private relations
of production developed and as a response to rising inequalities among
the population. These inequalities arose first of all because of cultural
and economic development of the society, as people had already goods, properties and models
of behavior that they wanted to maintain or protect. We should remember, that any
legal regulation is
always based on the moral
foundations
of society,
because people (creators of rules) always need to be sure what exactly they are
going to protect. Morality is a system of principles for a person’s
deeply personal attitude to the world from the point of view of his justice.
And as long as society has not yet decided whether surrogacy is good or not, a
noble goal or women’s exploitation or even a rebellion against God, the legal
framework will not
come to its balance and will continue to be uncertain.

Moral values battle

Nowadays, we are witnessing some kind of competition between governments, social and healthcare organizations in defence of the preeminence of their own moral values. And we don’t know in reality who will win in the end: will surrogacy be considered as a way of treatment, as we understand it, or will it be considered as violation of human rights? But we do know precisely that infertility problems are rapidly increasing every year and nothing can stop desperate couples who cannot have a baby to seek solutions for achieving the happiness of parenthood. We know for sure, that sometimes Surrogacy motherhood is the only one way for infertile couples to get a baby, and for Surrogate mothers to improve their financial situation.

And if God gives us an opportunity to get two happy families instead of two unhappy, and to help new people to come to our World, why do we need to doubt?

We already accept tissues and cells donation and transplantation of organs in our legal systems. During the surrogacy process, surrogate mother doesn’t lose any part of her body. We use surrogacy just because a human organism cannot be developed in other conditions than in a woman’s womb. Science has not found the way to develop a human being in another way yet. On the other hand, Surrogacy can be a morally tough process for a surrogate mother, as she usually has no legal filial rights to the child she carries. That’s why the compensation for her help is not something terrible, as usually presented in media, but it’s a kind of financial support that Intended Parents are willing to do for the Surrogate mother family for her “carry and delivery in time” services.

Delivery in time

The legal nature of Surrogacy agreement is quite interesting and have elements of a contract to supply services for payment. The Surrogate mother doesn’t sell her body or a child, as the embryo to become the future child is made in laboratory conditions from genetic material of the Intended Parents and sometimes a Donor. The Surrogate mother sells her services of “baby delivery”, the only one thing is that her delivery is not in a distance, but in a time, as she needs to create a certain conditions for baby’s development and take care of him or her during the whole pregnancy until the moment of birth.

Yellow surrogacy journalism

Certain tabloids christened companies working in the Surrogacy field as “baby factories” and Surrogate mothers as “slaves”. We have worked in the surrogacy field for many years and we cannot tell that the Surrogate mothers we work with are very poor or dying of a hunger. They all are contemporary women with their own goals and aspirations and they want to help their children to get better education or life conditions and to help infertile couple to feel the happiness of parenthood. They all have their own children and can always share their love with them after the surrogacy program ends.

Another thing is that we cannot compare a compensation for a Surrogate with a new human’s life creation. We should consider it as a financial support, a help from the Intended Parents or a reasonable compensation for her time and medical care undergone, but not for the baby. A nascent human life is something invaluable by definition.

How much does your child worth to you?

Ask any mother on the Earth, she would never give you the price tag. At the same time, we are very proud that in our daily work we are involved in the most incredible miracle on the Earth – the creation of life.

Legal basis of Children’s rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child
– recognized all over the world-, dated 20th of November, 1989, in
par.2 article 2 says: “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to
ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or
punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or
beliefs of the child’s parents, legal guardians, or family members”. Article 8
of the same Convention prescribes that “States
Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her
identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law
without unlawful interference. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or
all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide
appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily
his or her identity”.

Never give up!

Despite this Convention’s existence, the term “surrogacy baby” is still used for some reason, as if it would really have some relevance in what way this baby came to our World. We still are fighting side-by-side with New Parents for their genetically related babies’ rights in the Consulates, as not every government is helpful in issuing the citizenship of the newborn babies who were born via surrogacy. Nevertheless we still believe that the situation will change, it has to change and in the mean time we keep fighting the good fight.

We want to help you to achieve the main dream of your life. Contact us today to know more about the Surrogacy programs of Pons Medical Group or book a consultation with one of our specialists totally free of charge.

Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of Pons Medical Group

Male infertility

The reproductive system is a complex mechanism, any detail of which may be impaired due to various pathologies. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, near 50% of male infertility causes cannot be determined. Here we will describe a few of the known causes to increase your awareness and your chances to overcome it.

Hormonal disregulation

          Both hormonal and neuronal signals are controlling our internal organs: they can either stimulate or suppress the secretion of glands, to change the blood flow through it or even regulate the development of organs in the fetal period. The same applies to the reproductive system and glands. In both cases, with congenital or acquired hormonal disbalance, it may lead to male infertility. Let’s go to the more details.

Important hormones in reproductive system

          Although a lot of hormones have a function in the reproductive system, we can highlight three of them:

  • Testosterone. It produced in testicles, in cells known as Leydig cells;
  • Luteinizing hormone. It produced in the pituitary gland and regulates Leydig cells to produce testosterone;
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone is also produced in the pituitary gland, its’ function is to stimulate another type of cells, Sertoli cells, to initiate the spermatozoa maturation.

Reasons of hormonal disbalance

          The male infertility problems may appear at any step.

For example, due to the previous trauma or infection of a producing gland, the synthesis of these hormones may become reduced, which will be not enough for normal spermatozoa production. Tumors may also impair this process.

Another case if, due to a specific mutation, there is a loss of sensitivity of target cells to these hormones. They are extremely rare, however, in this case, a patient may require genetic counseling.

There are also cases of congenital underdevelopment of these glands, which will also impair their functioning.

To see the exact reason, your fertility specialist may order several tests. For example, blood biochemistry to evaluate the concentration of hormones, spermogram to see the spermatozoa morphology and activity, and some additional ones.

In some cases, it is possible to compensate the hormonal dysregulation with replacement therapy, but in other cases, the changes may be irreversible and IVF may the only choice.

Immune infertility

Our immune system has a tolerance feature: during the early development, it recognizes the own body antigens to prevent an autoregression. Sometimes this system becomes impaired, this may lead to autoimmune diseases.

There is an important moment: as first spermatozoa become produced only in puberty, when the immune system is already mature, there is no chance to develop a tolerance to the cellular components of it. The immunity recognizes it as foreign antigens and starts to attack it.

This happens in the case, if, for some reasons (trauma, tumor, inflammation), the components of testicular tissues enter the bloodstream.

If a doctor will suspect it, the testing for antispermal antibodies may be required. In the case of positive analysis, a doctor will consider treatment options, including IVF if relevant.

Sexually transmitted diseases

There are some infections, which may make an impact on the reproductive function. For example, chlamydiosis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, trichomoniasis, etc. Some of them are associated with an acute beginning and severe symptoms, while chronical course without manifestation is the characteristic of others.

The problem is, these pathogens can develop an infectious inflammation in reproductive organs, which may impair spermatogenesis, hormonal production, normal functioning, and sperm passage.

Sometimes it is challenging to diagnose and treat it because of an asymptomatic course and treatment resistance of microorganisms, however, the prognosis may be good in case of strick keeping to the doctors’ recommendations.

          There are a lot of causes why male infertility may origin, however, with modern diagnostical and treatment approaches, there are great chances to become a parent despite it. In case, if your fertility specialist will prescribe you an IVF treatment, we will provide you with the best possible options.

Read more about female infertility in our blog!

Author: Oleksandr Petrenko, Medical Manager of Pons Medical Group

Causes of female infertility

Nowadays problems with having babies increase enormously. Sometimes causes of female infertility are not so evident, and woman starts to ask herself “Why I cannot become pregnant?”. Today we will talk about some reasons of female infertility and timely response to it.

What is an infertility?

According to World Health Organization, infertility is an inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year. There is a large number of possible causes of infertility and they may be divided into four general groups: female-related causes, male-related causes, combined causes and idiopathic or unexplained causes. In this article we are going to list some female diseases which may cause infertility.

Cause 1: Polycyctic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which ovaries and, in some cases, adrenal glands produce more androgens than normal. Even though the name suggests that the ovaries are the central organs of the disease, cysts are just a symptom but not a cause of the disease. Some symptoms of PCOS will persist even if both ovaries are removed; the disease can appear even if cysts are absent.

The cause of PCOS is not fully known. There does appear to be a genetic connection. Besides, high insulin level also increases a woman’s risk of developing PCOS.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycle, acne, excess facial and body hair, obesity, alopecia, and infertility.

In 2003, a consensus workshop organized by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and American Society for Reproductive Medicine has developed so-called “Rotterdam criteria of PCOS”. Most of modern guidelines rely on them.

They include:

  1. oligoovulation and/or anovulation
  2. excess androgen activity
  3. polycystic ovaries (by gynecologic ultrasound)

 PCOS is considered to be present if any 2 out of 3 criteria are met, in the absence of other entities that might cause these findings.

How to cure PCOS?

There is no cure for PCOS, but you can manage the symptoms of it. You and your doctor will work on a treatment plan based on your symptoms, your plans for having children, and your risk of long-term health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Many women require a combination of treatments, including hormonal birth control, anti-androgen medicine and medications which lower the concentration of glucose in blood via different mechanisms.

IVF may be also an effective option if medicine does not work. Compared to medicine alone, IVF has higher pregnancy rates and better control over your risk of having twins and triplets.

 Surgery is also an option if the other options are not effective. The cortex of ovaries is thickened in women with PCOS and thought to play a role in preventing ovulation. Ovarian drilling is a surgery in which the doctor makes a few holes in the surface of your ovary using a laser or a fine needle heated with electricity. Surgery usually restores ovulation, but only for 6 to 8 months.

Cause 2: Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including chlamydiosis, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, syphilis, trichomoniasis, etc.

Symptoms

 Most of STDs have typical signs and symptoms which lead a woman to the doctor. However, some of them, such as chlamydiosis and gonorrhea, may be totally asymptomatic and the woman may learn about them only when she tries to conceive.

Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which might cause scarring that blocks the fallopian tubes and does not allow the egg to get fertilized.

Treatment

When diagnosed in time, most of the STDs are treated with antibiotics. However, taking in account that some of them are “silent”, prophylactics remains the best option  for STDs. Practicing safer sex can reduce your risk of getting STDs. Male condom is the only secure option in this case. Besides, it is recommended to screen all sexually active women 25 and younger every year for STDs. Women older than 25 who have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner should also be screened every year. Pregnant women must also pass a screening.

There are numerous surgical techniques which are aiming to unblock the tubes. However, often they are not effective and IVF remains the only option for the patient with infertility.

There are a lot of other causes of female infertility, however, with modern diagnostic and treatment approaches, the chances to become parents are high. In a case if your fertility specialist will prescribe you an IVF treatment and our Team will provide you with the best possible options.

Ask today for a free skype-consultation if you have any other questions, related to female infertility!

Author: Oleksandr Petrenko, Medical Manager of Pons Medical Group

female infertility
English English Español Español