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Surrogacy law by country. How to choose a country for your surrogacy program overseas?

Many infertile couples all around the World are suffering from the impossibility to use surrogacy services and/or egg donation in their own country because of moral or legal ban of this kind of treatment. After a lot of high-profile cases, such huge surrogacy destinations as India and Thailand were closed for foreigners that left a lot of infertile couples confused about their possible surrogacy destination. Today we are going to talk about the most common surrogacy destinations overseas, so you can find the best option for your country specifically.

Surrogacy in United States of America

United States is one of the biggest countries with the most controversial legal practice about surrogacy nowadays, as it varies from state to state from the total ban to very loyal attitude to this issue. Some states are surrogacy friendly, such as Arkansas, California, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada or New Hampshire. In some states there is no legislation about this, for example, law of Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and Massachusetts is silent about surrogacy. Other states have banned this practice totally, such as Louisiana, Michigan or New York.

So, the best option is to perform surrogacy program in the State, where it is legal, and surrogacy contracts are enforceable by law and supported by courts. The other thing is that together with great opportunities and guarantees Intended Parents should be ready to face huge expenditures in case they choose United States option for surrogacy.

First of all, surrogacy agencies in USA are extremely expensive. The same is with attorneys, medical services and delivery process, let alone genetic tests, travel expenses and medical insurance. In total price of surrogacy program in USA will vary from approximately 95,000 to 200,000 USD Dollars that is at least three times more expensive than price for the same programs in Ukraine or Georgia. That’s why some couples who live in USA apply for surrogacy abroad for themselves, especially if they know that according to their health conditions they will most probably need several IVF cycles.

Second thing you need to be aware of, is the birth order. The birth order is a specific document, issued by court, which assigns parentage to a child. There are pre-birth and post-birth orders, depends on the state. The pre-birth order is done before the baby is born, although it is not effective until the birth occurs. However, it gives to the Intended Parents peace in mind, as after obtaining it, the maternity house will indicate the names of the Intended Parents in the original birth certificate and the child will be given directly to the parents from the hospital. Without it, the name of the surrogate mother will appear in medical documentation and further legal steps will be needed to finish the process. Consequently, the post-birth order can be issued only after the baby is born and the hearing in the court is finished. Sometimes, for such cases parents should attend the trial personally.

In most cases, US allow surrogacy for heterosexual married couples only, therefore and in case that you are a member of LGTB community, we strongly recommend you to seek for highly-qualified legal advice when searching for surrogacy in United States.

The good news, is that every baby (including babies born via ART and surrogacy) born on the territory of US is getting US citizenship automatically. So, this can be a very good option for countries where there are difficulties with getting baby’s passport in the Consulate of their country of origin, such as Spain, France or Germany (we remind you that without citizenship and passport of the baby will not be able to come back home after the surrogacy process).

Surrogacy in Russia

Another big destination for surrogacy is Russia.

In Russia surrogacy is allowed by law, where it is specified, that only married heterosexual couples or single women, who are not able to carry a baby, can sign a surrogacy contract. At the same time, there are some cases, when surrogacy was performed there not only for single woman, but for single men. We want to warn you, that in such a way, even if it is possible, it can cause some delays, additional expenditures and legal difficulties at the end of  the surrogacy journey, as to get the baby’s birth certificate in Russia is possible only for married couples. Single parents should undergo the hearing in the court to get the birth certificate of their babies. From the April 2018 all parents who have their babies through surrogacy in Russia cannot take the baby out of the maternity house until they get baby’s birth certificate in the civil registrar office. On the other hand, in case of a married couple it is quite quick process.

Additionally, a surrogate mother in Russia has the right “to change her mind” and to keep the baby for herself after delivery. In practice, however, it can occur very rarely, as in this case the surrogate mother will need to give all the expenditures for her pregnancy care, delivery and monthly payments to the Intended Parents back. 

A general advise: we strongly recommend all our clients to have at least 50% (one parent) genetic link to their surrogacy baby, as it makes the process of obtaining the baby’s nationality and passport in the Embassy of their country of origin possible.

In general, Russia is a good option for married heterosexual couples, who are seeking for Slavic egg donors and surrogates. In general the main legal conditions are very similar to Ukraine, including the difficulty in getting the Russian citizenship for a baby in case of complications in getting the citizenship of your own country (in your Embassy). The price is also approximately the same – from 35,000 to 60,000 USD Dollars.

Surrogacy in Ukraine

Surrogacy in Ukraine is totally legal for heterosexual married couples only. The rights of Intended Parents are protected here, as they will be written as legal parents in the birth certificate, issued by Civil registrar office and surrogate Mother has no right to keep the baby, even if she wishes so (on the contrary to Russia, where she has this right). All other questions that are not specified in the Law are usually specified in the Contract between the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Parents. You can be sure, that lawyers who work in this sphere in Ukraine are highly-qualified and know which issues should be specified in the Contract to protect the rights of all sides.

 As an agency which have a long experience working in the surrogacy field in Ukraine, we can give you the real picture about the process there. Ukraine nowadays is the most attractive destination for foreign couples. Affordable prices for surrogacy programs, big amount of surrogates and huge variety of beautiful fertile egg donors makes this country extremely popular among infertile couples all over the World. In Ukraine you can find very highly-equipped private IVF clinics and very good reproductive specialists, as this field has been developed in Ukraine for very long time.

The price of surrogacy programs varies here from 35,000 to 60,000 USD Dollars, which is more or less the same as in Georgia or Russia and three times less than in USA. On the less bright side we strongly recommend infertile couples from such countries as Spain, France or Germany to think twice about this destination, because the process in the Consulate can be extremely long here in case that any difficulty occurs. For example, in case that you country of origin rejects giving the passport to your baby, you will need to spend in Ukraine approximately 3 months before the Ukrainian government will issue Ukrainian citizenship to your baby and the travel passport. Such procedure does not exist in Ukrainian law and is performed with the assistance of the professional lawyers in exceptional cases.

Update: Unfortunately, we have heard recent news about horrible mistakes of some Ukrainian clinics and agencies, which leads to the impossibility to go out of the country with the baby, specifically there are many reports of lack of genetic link between babies and their parents because of mistakes, and Intended Parents that have been prosecuted for child traffic or who suffered the shock of being taken the babies away. On the web-sites of Consulates there are warnings about Ukraine, as some countries believe that if you are going to this surrogacy destination, you need to be aware about the possible risks that it involves. Moreover, according to our own experience, Ukraine has suffered a sharp deterioration of the sanitary and epidemiological conditions during the last 2 years, as reflected in official statistics of high incidence of such dangerous diseases as Measles, Tuberculosis and HIV infections because of poor vaccination, extreme poverty and widespread drug addiction.

Finally there are current considerations in the Ukrainian Parliament to prohibit surrogacy for foreign couples in the near future. We believe that if the situation in Ukraine does not improve, it can repeat the destiny of India – another very popular surrogacy destination which is now closed for foreign couples for a number of reasons.

Surrogacy in Georgia

Georgia is a relatively new and not so popular destination for surrogacy. European and American clients are typically not very familiar with this country andd know very little about specialists, laboratory equipment and law regulation about surrogacy process in Georgia. We can assure you, that with more or less the same price than in Ukraine (the prices here varies from 35,000 USD to 55,000 USD) in Georgia you can get the same or ever better quality of services.

First of all, during last few years IVF and surrogacy in Georgia has developed enormously and new opportunities for international couples have arisen. Lastly, the country has seen the opening of several new IVF clinics equipped with the most advanced technology, which gives more possibilities for treatment not only for local or middle-east patients, but for patients all around the World.

Comparable with Ukraine or Russia, here you can request infertility treatment and surrogacy, even if you are not married. According to Georgian legislation, it is possible for heterosexual couples, although still not possible for single parents. Egg-donors here are not anonymous, so you can personally meet them and even sign a contract in Notary together with your surrogate mother.

Neither surrogates nor egg-donors have parental rights of babies born through surrogacy in Georgia. Intended Parents are written as legal parents in the birth certificate of a baby.

Another extremely important advantage here is that in case that your country of origin rejects giving the citizenship to your baby you can obtain Georgian citizenship and travel passport in less than a month. The procedure for such cases is strictly regulated and simplified and takes not more than 3 weeks and a 100 Euros legal fee. This is much quicker and cheaper than in Ukraine or Russia, where such procedure for babies born via surrogacy is not established and decisions are taken by the government exceptionally.

Many couples hesitate when deciding if to come to this country, just because it doesn’t have so many Embassies of foreign countries inside it. It is true that many Embassies and Consulates, which are responsible for Georgian territory are situated either in Turkey or in Armenia but still the country counts with Embassies of such important countries as Germany, China, US, France and United Kingdom. In any case, we strongly recommend this surrogacy destination for all couples, without exceptions. According to our experience, it takes much less time to come to the Embassy in Turkey and back, that to wait for decision of Ukrainian or Russian authorities regarding the issuance of nationality for the newborn surrogacy baby.

Surrogacy in Belarus

Surrogacy in Belarus is strictly regulated. Even though this destination for IVF tourism is not popular yet, we believe that in the future the situation will change and this country will become more open for the international tourists. According to the Belarusian law, surrogacy is possible here for married heterosexual couples and single women, but on practice most clinics work with the married couples only. Eggs from a donor undergo here a 6-month long quarantine, to avoid any possibility to infect the future child, as the incubation period of some diseases is exactly 6 months. So, you can be sure that your donor is double-checked.

Intended Parents will be written as legal parents in both medical and civil certificate of birth without any mentioning about the surrogacy program, because the medical confidentiality is highly respected in Belarus. The level of the medical treatments here is very high, as the qualification of Belarusian medical staff is extremely high, they are very good professionals, who will treat you in the best way. Besides, the cost of prematurity care is nearly zero.

We think that the price/quality ratio in the biggest in Europe here, as the average cost of surrogacy program in Belarus varies from 35,000 to 45,000 USD.

Surrogacy in Canada

Surrogacy in Canada is possible on altruistic basis only, since it is possible to pay for the medical treatment of the surrogate mother and reasonable expenses only. So, if you are going to perform your surrogacy program here, be ready to wait for a long process and many requirements. Another risk is that Canada has no pre-birth orders that can guarantee your rights after the baby’s birth, so be ready, that the surrogate mother in Canada has the right to keep the baby, as in Russia.

The good part of surrogacy in Canada is that you will probably not pay anything for the agencies, as you can manage the process by yourself, what reduces the price of surrogacy program enormously comparable with USA (the total cost of surrogacy program in Canada is around 70,000 USD). In the same way as in US, the baby born through surrogacy in Canada has the right to get Canadian citizenship and passport, what is a big advantage in some cases.

Surrogacy in Greece

The situation with surrogacy in Greece is more or less the same as in Canada. It is allowed, but restricted. Greece is a very attractive destination for EU citizens, as it gives them ability to travel home with their baby immediately after the baby’s birth. Nowadays, surrogacy is allowed in Greece for heterosexual couples (either married or unmarried) and single women on altruistic basis only with or without egg-donor. The main difference from Canada is that here the Intended Parents need to undergo the trial even before the surrogacy contract is signed. In Greece court gives to the Intended Parents some kind of permission for the surrogacy program according to their age, marital status and medical reasons.

Another thing, is that in Greece (after the court decision) Intended Parents automatically become legal parents from the moment of conception, so the surrogate mother will not appear in any medical documentation. This fact can be very helpful for some Embassies during the process of obtaining the baby’s citizenship and passport. Take into the consideration, that the surrogacy baby is not entitled for the Greek citizenship and passport.

Surrogacy in Cyprus

Surrogacy in Cyprus is not regulated by law, what creates some kind of legal vacuum that is widely used nowadays by some agencies and legal companies working in this field. We strongly recommend you to be very careful with the provisions of the surrogacy contract if you are going to perform your surrogacy program in Cyprus, as this is the only one document that will regulate your relationships with the surrogate mother. In any case, it is not possible to give any assurance that this contract will be enforceable by a Cypriot Court. Regardless of the provisions of the surrogacy contract, the surrogate mother will be considered as a legal mother of a baby, born out of wedlock. The genetic connection to the Intended Father can be established via DNA test or medical documentation from the IVF clinic. So the baby can be registered on the name of surrogate mother and the genetic father by his voluntary acknowledgement or by Court.

The next step for the Intended Parents is to adopt the child via the hearing in the Court.

The cost of the surrogacy program in Cyprus will be around 60,000 USD and is mainly used by gay couples, the surrogate mothers are mainly from Ukraine as Cyprus is a very small country with small population.

Surrogacy in India, Thailand and Mexico

Surrogacy in India, Thailand and Mexico is not legal for international couples any more.

Conclusion

We didn’t talk in our article about such surrogacy destinations as Cambodia and Kenya, as we believe that the high risks and high rates of the baby’s mortality will keep you away of these destinations.

To know more about childhood and protection of children in the following countries we recommend you to read the “End of childhood report 2018” from “Save the Children” organization with the latest rates of all countries over the World.

We wish you good luck in your surrogacy journey in the destination of your choice. We, at Pons Medical believe that anyone who is opened to new horizons, the impossible will be become possible. We wish you happiness for you and your family!

Don’t hesitate to contact us if any questions appear.

Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of Pons Medical Group

Monitoring of Surrogate Mothers

The monitoring of the surrogate mother during pregnancy is an essential part of a surrogacy program. The monitoring is explicitly mentioned in our contract.

How is the Monitoring performed?

The monitoring involves three levels of intervention:

First line monitoring

First level involves a phone call every three days to the surrogate mother to check her health and psychological status, nutrition and overall living situation. This level, called “first line monitoring” also implies that the surrogate mother will contact the coordinator immediately if something unusual occurs. In case of some complication, the surrogate mother is taken to the hospital in the shortest time and a treatment is implemented to address any possible complication.

Second line monitoring

The second level or “second line monitoring” involve a plan of medical visits during the pregnancy period. Every month the surrogate will visit the gynecologist to monitor the development of pregnancy. Photos and video recordings will be taped in order to create a comprehensive medical report for the intended parents. Blood tests are also performed routinely as well as a brief visit to the psychologist to evaluate the mental health of the surrogate. In case that some complication is detected, the protocol of the “first line monitoring” is activated and the surrogate is taken to the hospital for further evaluation or treatment. If the complications are not serious, as for example, a vitamin deficiency, the gynecologist will prescribe the necessary supplements or medications.

The “second level monitoring” lasts for the whole pregnancy period. From the nutritional point of view, the second level of monitoring involves monthly sessions with a nutritionist to evaluate the food intake of the surrogate mother so that it corresponds with the standards of nutrition under pregnancy, implying enough intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy fats, etc. as well as negligible intake of harmful food, like trans-fats, sugar, and industrial caned products. We also discourage the consumption of industrial poultry and other meats with high level of hormones or antibiotics and a high level intake of vegetables, eggs, white fresh fish, healthy whole grains and fresh fruits.

Third line monitoring

Finally the third level or “third line monitoring” involves random visits to the surrogate mother to evaluate her living conditions in-situ. It also involves the indications of random blood tests to detect the use of toxic substances, drugs, etc. These tests are done every three months. The surrogate mother is not warned beforehand and it can happen at anytime.

With the implementation of our three levels of monitoring we assure optimal living and health conditions for the surrogate mother during pregnancy. We also assure that any health complication is addressed in a timely manner. Constant monitoring also contributes to the psychological stability of the surrogate mothers, as they will feel guided and protected during this difficult period.

Human life is the most precious treasure, that’s why, we at Pons Medical Group, perform exhaustive testing and monitoring during pregnancy to guarantee successful deliveries and happy and healthy children.

Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if any questions appear.

Author: Edel Pons, General Director of Pons Medical Group

 

Read more about recruitment of surrogate mothers in our blog!

Recruitment of surrogate mothers

Starting a Surrogacy Program is a one of the most important decisions that a couple can make. This journey consists of few steps, which are interconnected and need to be strictly followed.

One of these steps is finding an appropriate surrogate mother for the Intended Parents. In our article we want to talk about the way we recruit surrogate mothers for our couples.

Surrogate mother for every couple

We think that it is relevant for our future couples to know how we find and choose a surrogate mother for them. There are few steps according to which we choose and introduce our potential surrogate mothers. Unlike other agencies or companies we don’t have a static database of Surrogate mothers. It is not convenient to keep a static database because of some reason, for example, surrogate mothers are registered in different agencies and at moment of calling a specific candidate she may be unavailable, for example if she has not been checked by a doctor, there are possibilities that she is not able to participate in the program for medical reasons, and in this case the candidate would to be dropped and even she may not be interested in surrogacy anymore or enrolled in another surrogacy program with another couple.

As we said, the opinion of our couples really makes sense for us, that is why we find a surrogate mother according to they wish. We will give to every couple the possibility to chose among 3 candidates that have been previously checked by a doctor with all medical analysis in order and ready to start the program in the shortest time. To recruit at least 3 candidates for a given couple usually takes not more than 3 weeks and can start before the arrival of the intended parents once they have confirmed their arrival and bought their tickets.

Finding a surrogate

The first thing we do is running an advertisement campaign to find potential surrogate mothers, who are 21-35 years old, are completely healthy  and have at least one child.

 After collecting their health and personal data by the use of questionnaires we take our potential surrogate mothers to our reproductologist specialist in surrogate mothers’ health and pregnancy potential in order to check their health condition, endometrium thickness, internal organs, and psychological health. Ultrasound of endometrium is the first-line imaging test to evaluate it. After the ultrasound of the uterus and especially of the endometrium, it is possible to conclude if the potential candidate can become a surrogate mother or not for the Intended Couple. The next step we take is to check other important organs such are:

  • Heart
  • Breast tissues
  •  kidneys
  •  Liver
  •  Gallbladder

And of course we make blood tests, PAP test, Torch, tests for several infections and check the BMI (Body-Mass Index) of the potential surrogate mother. If the BMI is greater than 30, unfortunately it is not a good result. So, it needs to be less than 30. We do it, because overweight may become an obstacle for our couples and surrogate mothers to start the program. That is why we take every detail into our consideration to avoid further problems.

Other tests

Besides making medical tests, our surrogate mothers meet with a psychologist, and after having a conversation with them our psychologist will confirm if they are psychologically ready to become a surrogate mother and if they understand what it means to give birth to an unknown couples’ child.

Finally having all medical and psychological test results in our hands, we introduce three surrogate mother candidates to our couple and wait for their answer.

We know that it is not easy to choose and trust an unknown person to take care of your child during 9 months, but you can be sure that you, your child and the bright future of your family are in the hands of our professional, experienced and caring doctors and staff.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if any questions appear. We would be very happy to help you in starting your surrogacy program with us and find the best surrogate mother for you!

Author: Knarik Margaryan, coordinator of Georgian unit

Surrogacy in Germany

Germany’s health care system is known as one of the best in the whole world. Many people from abroad come to Germany for treatment or surgery, seeking for the highest-qualified specialists in a certain area. Unfortunately, such kind of infertility treatment as surrogacy and IVF with egg-donation is still unavailable in this country, most of all because of ethical issues and strict position of the government on this issue.   

Embryo as a subject of Law

It’s interesting to know, that according to German law embryos are protected under the three fundamental rights of human beings: protection of human dignity, free development of personality and right to life. The Embryo protection Act, dated 13.12.1990, indicates this in its main provisions.

For example, it is punishable up to three years of imprisonment for usage of donor eggs, for transferring more than three embryos at once to the future mother’s uterus, for fertilization of more woman’s eggs than can be transmitted within a cycle and, of course, surrogacy is banned. Moreover, under the par. 3, 3a of this Act, whoever undertakes to make a PGD or a sex-selection of the future baby for any other reasons than medical will be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine.

Egg and sperm donation in Germany

It is curious how strict is the legal system to egg donation and surrogacy in such a developed country as Germany. Infertile women are totally out of the protection of the government there, as they can use neither egg donor nor a surrogate mother. On the contrary, there is no any explanation why sperm donation is allowed. According to the new sperm Donation law in Germany, from the 1 of July 2018 all information about the sperm donor will be included in the specific register, where upon attaining the age of 16 years old any child born via ART technology can obtain the information about his genetic father (sperm donor). However, it doesn’t give any parental rights to the sperm donor, it just gives the person born via ART right to know its origin.

Surrogacy overseas

Some couples face the problem, that IVF even with sperm donation doesn’t help them to achieve the pregnancy. This forces them to choose other options for their treatment like egg-donation and surrogacy abroad. If you are ready to start your surrogacy journey abroad, draw your attention to the following items.

Above all, even if your surrogacy program will be performed overseas, take into consideration, that in the end you will come back to Germany with your baby and it can cause some legal difficulties with the Embassy process. That’s why we suggest you to pay attention to some details from the very beginning of the process.

Two mothers, one baby

First of all, when choosing your surrogate mother pay attention to her marital status. Why is it necessary?

Even if you get the certificate of birth of the baby in a foreign country where you are written as legal parents of the baby (legal mother and legal father), German Embassy will not recognise this certificate of birth and you will need to establish your paternity rights one more time in the Embassy according to the German law.

Under the German law, the mother of a baby is always a woman who delivers the baby, regardless of the baby’s genetic link to his biological (genetic, intended) mother, and the father of the baby is always a legal husband of a woman, who gave birth.

In that regard, we strongly recommend you to find a single surrogate mother for your surrogacy case abroad.

In the German Embassy, the genetic mother will have no rights to the baby at all and, consequently, cannot transfer her nationality to the baby. If your surrogate mother is single, it will be possible to acknowledge paternity of a biological (genetic, intended) father in the Embassy according to the specific procedure.

Otherwise, if you already have a surrogate mother, who is married, you will need to get the nationality and the passport of a baby in the country, where the baby is born (for example, it is possible in Georgia), take it to Germany and after some time of living there, the child will have a possibility to get German citizenship according to its domicile.

Who is the father?

As we already mentioned before, the biological (genetic, intended) father needs to acknowledge his paternity in front of the German Consul. There is a specific statement that can be done in the Embassy in two different ways: before or after the baby’s birth.

In the first case, the Intended Father who has the genetic link to the baby has to legally recognize the child in the Consulate, while the Surrogate Mother is pregnant, with the consent of the Surrogate. This recognition needs to be publicly certified (usually via Information Sheets on the Websites of the German Embassy/Consulate). Once the child is legally recognized by an Intended Father who is a German citizen, the (unborn) child automatically acquires German citizenship.

In the second case, Intended Father is doing the same, but after the birth and also with the personal presence of the Surrogate Mother in the German Consulate (for making her consent). In both cases it must be clear that the Surrogate Mother decided voluntarily to carry out the child and to give custody and all parental rights to the Intended Father. No hearing is necessary to prove that, a declaration suffices.

Paper work

The Intended Parents should be ready to give the following list of documentation (with translation and apostilisation if necessary) to the Embassy for acknowledgement of the paternity rights:

  • Passport or identity card of the Intended father
  • Passport or identity card of the Surrogate mother
  • Proof of legal presence and address in the country where surrogacy was performed;
  • birth certificate of the child (translated and apostilled)
  • birth certificate from the hospital
  • For prenatal paternity recognition: evidence of pregnancy, the calculated date of birth and sex [if determined] should be apparent) etc.

After the paternity acknowledgement and establishment of the baby’s nationality, Intended Parents will need to get the passport of a baby to travel home through the border.

Before it was a big problem to get the baby’s passport for German couples, but situation became a little bit better after the Germany’s Supreme Court ruled that the government must recognize the children born via surrogacy in other countries as the legal offspring of German intended parents.

In its ruling the high court stated that German authorities must respect the decisions of foreign authorities in regard to the parental rights of German intended parents even though surrogacy is not legal in Germany.

We want to encourage our future parents, that in case that they choose us as their surrogacy provider in Georgia, we will help them with any legal difficulties they may face after the baby’s birth. It is worth pointing out that even in the event of a change in the German law that makes obtaining the German citizenship of the baby more difficult, it will be possible to get the Georgian citizenship and passport for a baby born via surrogacy. The procedure is straightforward and takes not more than three weeks.

We wish all German families to fulfill their dreams!

Don’t hesitate to contact us if any questions occur.

Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of Pons Medical Group

Six questions and answers about surrogate motherhood

Surrogate motherhood is the solution on the way to overcome infertility related to the impossibility of child carrying and live birth. However, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around this process, so we decided to shed more light over it.

Read more about the reasons of male and female infertility in our Blog!

What is surrogate motherhood?

    This is a program of reproductive medicine. A technology in which the embryo is being transferred to the uterus of a surrogate mother, which carries it through all the pregnancy. In this case, a surrogate mother will not be a biological mother, as she will not have any connection to the embryo: it will be received through the combination of the genetic material of a future mother and father. In the case of need, it may relate to only one of the parents, when the parents need a donor material (donor oocytes or donor sperm).

Is surrogate motherhood legal?

    Despite the surrogate motherhood regulated differently in different countries, we are providing only the services which fit the law. Our company is operating in the countries, where the surrogate motherhood is protected and guaranteed by local laws. In addition, we’re providing legal services according to your situation and destination, as we are not just working on your pregnancy, but also on your possibility to go home with a child to realize your dreams.

    In brief, the situation looks next: in the countries, where our agency is based, the surrogate motherhood regulates by local laws, which describe the criteria and responsibilities of a person who wants to become a surrogate mother; when you are contacting us, we are starting to work on your home country situation, so we are providing the way how to recognize a child by your country authorities.

Who can become a surrogate mother?

    According to the laws, it should be a young woman, without any diseases and conditions which may harm a future pregnancy, with her own child (which means she already had at least one successful pregnancy and births), and her child needs to be healthy. These are the basic points of the laws, however, most of the candidates will not pass the following testings because we are requiring perfect health, readiness to become a surrogate mother from both physical and mental health.

    After you are provided with a surrogate mother picked by us, you may be sure that she is the best candidate you may find. Also, we will be glad to share her health data under the course of a pregnancy, so you will always be sure what is going on with her and the health of your future baby.

Who uses the service of surrogate motherhood more often?

    Our couples are unique in the most characteristics, so it’s complicated to make a unified portrait. We provided a lot of programs for couples, which was unable to carry a pregnancy, usually because of previous uterus surgery or different anomalies. There were also cases with unexplained infertility, where couple received a lot of miscarriages. Sometimes the endometrium growth of a future mother was insufficient because of background diseases and her ob&gyn specialist recommended considering surrogate motherhood.

    There are few things which are common for our couples: they are very persistent in a way to succeed in a birth of a healthy baby, and they are facing some problems to go a surrogate motherhood program in their home country if, for example, this topic is not regulated by local laws.

Who has the right to be a parent after surrogate motherhood?

The laws of countries of our operating are very strict over it: only the biological parents, which concluded a contract with a surrogate mother, has the rights to be considered as parents after the childbirth. The biological parents will be written in the first official paper of their child, the birth certificate.

There are some cases in the world, where a surrogate mother decided to keep a baby after birth. To prevent it, we are not working in the countries where it is possible by the law, and we are working with surrogate mothers before programs to now allow this to happen. We will never take a surrogate mother in the program before she will realize all the process, all the possible consequences and responsibilities of it.

How is the relationship between parents and surrogate mother regulated?

    Communications between parents and their surrogate mothers are one of our priorities, however, there is no legal answer to how their relationships must build. It’s quite individual, for example, some couples prefer to have regular internet calls with a surrogate mother to see her and to know how she is, what news is in her family, or even come to visit her. Some other couples prefer to delegate all communication to us and to receive reports each week or month. Whatever your wish will be, we will provide you with all possible options to realize it.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if any questions occur.

We are always ready to help!

Author: Oleksand Petrenko, Medical Manager of Pons Medical Group

My surrogate mother will give birth soon: what should I care about?

So, there are only a few more steps to become parents. First of all, our congratulations! This point is probably the most worrying part of the whole pregnancy period, so we decided to write a small reminder to you to relief the possible stress.

Planning your second visit

Few weeks to a few months before the expected due date, we will plan your flight to the city where the birth will happen. It’s very individual and we ask you not hesitate to share all your requests with us, we respect your schedule and working plans, so we will organize everything according to it.

A brief reminder: in the case with natural birth, the normal birth diapason will be from the 38th week to the 42nd week. It’s unpredictable and may happen each day within it. Any attempt to stimulate the births process may harm either surrogate mother’s or child’s health, so it is not performed according to the modern medical recommendations.

After your flight, our company will take you to a comfortable flat, so you will be able to relax. We will be glad to provide a meeting with your surrogate mother following days if she will not be in a maternity house yet: usually, these meetings are emotional and important for both parents and surrogate mother.

Expectation for the baby’s birth

The next stage is the expectation: we never know when the birth will happen, and our company is on call 24/7 with surrogate mother and you. Usually, it takes near 15 minutes from the birth activity start and to the meeting with surrogate mother in a maternity house. From the beginning of pregnancy, each surrogate mother knows her maternity house, her doctor and has her “emergency set” prepared, which included all the necessary documents and clothes.

What to take with you?

When you will be in a maternity house, you may want to have some stuff for a child with you. We are proposing the following list:

  • baby jumpsuit with a cape and socks for a child. It’s pretty hot inside the maternity house despite the weather outside, but children are more sensitive to the cold weather. You may take two suits with you to change it during your stay.
  • a bottle for feeding;
  • infant formula for feeding, it should be indicated that it is for children from the 1st day of life;
  • a package of diapers from the 1st day of life;
  • at least a few towels: one is for bathing, another one is for surfaces where you will wear up your baby;

It’s not a problem if you can’t bring it before the flight or if you will need our help: we will follow you in baby shops per request and advice you the best available options.

In addition, you should think about your own package: you will live in a patient room together with your baby, so you will need to bring extra clothes and all the necessary for feel as at home. Of course, if you will need anything, our company will find and provide it for you, so you will be focused on your baby.

First steps of…Parents

After surrogate mother will give birth, usually you will be able to be with him or her immediately. Don’t worry about the necessary skills: there are pediatric nurses in a maternity house who will teach you how to feed, bath and care.

The surrogacy program itself will finish soon after it. In a few days, after all, tests will be done, you will be discharged from a maternity house to your home nearby, so we will prepare all the documents for a civil registry. We will follow you there and it will be the last step with your surrogate mother: after signing a termination of a contract in a presence of a notary, both your and her responsibilities will be considered as completed, and after it, you will receive a birth certificate with your names indicated as parents.

Don’t forget to ask us if you will need help at any step of the process. We are prepared for every urgent situation which may happen, so you may rely on us as your partners in the surrogacy program.

It’s our common goal, to make successful births and to make you parents!

Author: Oleksandr Petrenko, Medical Manager of Pons Medical Group

Surrogacy in Norway

The number of infertile couples in Norway is visibly growing from year to year. The clearest evidence to this was the statistic provided by the state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) that declared the decline of the women’s fertility rate from 1.71 children per woman in 2016 to 1.62 in 2017 and the decline in the men’s fertility rate from 1.53 to 1.46 children per man during the same years. The report for 2018 year will be updated on the 7 of March 2019, hopefully with more satisfactory numbers.

Is surrogacy legal in Norway?

Regrettably, the IVF procedures that are allowed in Norway not always help childless couples to get the happiness of parenthood. The Norwegian ban on egg donation means that the surrogate motherhood, when fertilized eggs are used from another woman than the one who deliver the baby, cannot be carried out in Norway. This follows from the Law of 5 December 2003 no.100  (Biotechnology Act). Because of that the number of medical referrals to IVF clinics and agencies who work with surrogacy abroad, has rapidly increased lately.

However, surrogacy overseas is still controversial for Norwegians thanks to complicated legal regulations for surrogacy in foreign countries and quite long Embassy process after the baby’s birth.

Who are the parents?

There are no specific rules in Norwegian law about the parenthood and filiation in case of surrogacy abroad. It means that the general rules of establishing maternity, paternity and adoption will be applied to children born by surrogate mother overseas. Nevertheless, there are some specific issues in surrogacy cases to focus on.

According to Norwegian nationality law regardless of the place of birth, a child acquires Norwegian citizenship at birth if either parent is a Norwegian citizen.

Take into consideration that Norwegian authorities do not recognize civil documents issued by another country in case that such recognition would be contrary to mandatory laws or be offensive to the legal order (this rule works in case of surrogacy and is written in the Dispute Act, section 19-16).

In that regard, please, bear in mind that even if you get the birth certificate of a baby, where you appear as legal parents of the child at the end of your surrogacy program overseas, you have to be ready to establish your paternity rights in the Embassy of Norway one more time.

Mother of the baby

Under the Children Act, section 2, chapter 2 the woman who has given birth to the child is regarded as the mother of the child. In case of surrogacy it is always a surrogate mother, regardless of baby’s genetic link to the Intended Mother.

After returning home, the Intended Mother will need to adopt her baby in Norway. The adoption process can be started only after the 2-month age of the baby.

Father of the baby

When surrogate mother is unmarried, paternity of the genetic father can be recognized according to the section 4 of the Children’s Act. Paternity in this case is recognized by the Norwegian Foreign Service mission (Embassy) and usually requires personal attendance of the parties and the written statement from both the genetic father (about the acknowledgment of the baby) and the surrogate mother (about her acceptance of this fact).

If the woman who gives birth to the child is married and the birth follows the father est rule (i.e. the surrogate mother’s husband is considered a father), the paternity must be transferred from her husband to the Norwegian man.

According to Section 7 of the Children’s Act, paternity can be changed if another man acknowledges the paternity, and the recognition is accepted by the child’s mother and former father. In addition, NAV (the Labour and Welfare Administration) must make an assessment if they “find it credible” that the other man is the child’s father. NAV routinely imposes DNA analysis in these cases.

The DNA test is sent to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Norway for analysis and it  takes approximately 3 weeks to get results in case if DNA test is needed.

Who is responsible?

In cases when the child is born by a surrogate mother abroad, the biological father of the child must, according to the Norwegian law, contact the National Population Register  (Folkeregisteret) for registration of his sole parental responsibility as long as this has been stipulated (must be stipulated) in an agreement. If there is uncertainty regarding the content of the agreement, the National Population Register must obtain necessary documents about the case, including court decision, authority decision and surrogacy contract.

Once the genetic father has gotten the parental responsibility of the baby, it is time to apply for a national ID number (personnummer). It can be obtained via the Embassy, which will send all necessary documentation to the Norwegian Tax authorities.

How long does it take?

It is not possible to apply for the National ID number and the passport at the same time. This is because all Norwegian citizens must have registered their personal identification number in the National Register before applying for a passport. According to the information from the Norwegian Embassy the process of the ID number obtaining takes approximately 6 weeks.

After the paternity rights are established and the ID number of your baby is obtained, the last step is to get the baby’s passport. Common passports are produced in Norway, and it will take about 2-3 weeks before the passport is ready for collection at the Embassy.

As a conclusion, we can assume that the Embassy process in case of surrogacy overseas for Norwegians will take approximately 3 months after the baby’s birth. The continuation of this process (adoption of the baby by the Intended Mother in the Barne-, ungdoms- og familieetaten) will take place in Norway.

That’s why our company strongly recommends you to get a professional legal consultation before you are going to use surrogacy services abroad.

We wish you good luck in your surrogacy journey and want to remind you that the child’s interests are always the highest priority of every government no matter how difficult the legal process for establishing your parental rights is.

In the end any regret will vanish and you will enjoy the biggest gift of your life.

Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions about Surrogacy in Norway.

Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of Pons Medical Group

Surrogacy and religion

Surrogacy is always a hot topic of Internet forums, as it causes a lot of contentious questions from the ethical point of few. As a rule, among the arguments against surrogacy appears theological ones, which have quite strong influence on the people of faith, who suffer from infertility and are afraid to make the step forward that can help them to get the baby they are praying for. Let’s see how the assisted reproductive technologies and surrogacy particularly appear in the worldwide religious and how flexible these religious become with the passage of time and technological development of the society. 

Surrogacy and Christianity

The main book of all Christians – the Bible doesn’t mention surrogacy directly, as this technique that we use today (IVF) obviously was not known on the time when the Bible was written. So, the only one thing we can do is to find common rules relevant in this case and try to adapt them to the modern moral problems and interpret it according to the crux of the Holy Scriptures.

On the one hand, the Bible defines marriage as a union between two people and children can be a result of that union (Genesis 1:28, 2:24). In Psalm 127:3 we see that children are a gift to couples and not everyone is blessed with them.

What does the Bible say?

On the other hand, we can find few stories about something that we called nowadays “traditional surrogacy” and that is not used in IVF Clinics (traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child; nowadays we use “gestational surrogacy” when the surrogate mother is only a carrier of a baby, but has no genetic link to it).

Genesis 30:1-24 says: “When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son”.

Genesis 16:1-16 says: “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived<…>And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram”.

Do it all for the glory of God

So, in reality this is not exactly the cases we have today. We do not apply for traditional surrogacy, as surrogate mother is only a carrier of an embryo that was putted into her uterus in the lab, not because of the sexual contact with the Genetic father, as it described in the Bible and still acceptable, and this embryo is developing to the baby inside her womb. Yes, you were not promised by God to have a Child, but does it mean that you cannot fight for your wish to be a parent if technologies allow this?

We suggest that there is nothing wrong with surrogacy related to the Holy Scriptures rules we found and it must be 100% your own decision to undergo surrogacy as a way of infertility treatment or not. As whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (Corinthians 10:31).

Position of the Catholic Church

However, the Catholic Church expressed its official position in another way. In the Document called Donum Vitae prescribed that “Surrogate motherhood represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of responsible motherhood; it offends the dignity and the right of the child to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up by his own parents; it sets up, to the detriment of families, a division between the physical, psychological and moral elements which constitute those families”.

Unfortunately, it is not specified there how exactly it damages the social institution of motherhood and the dignity of the Child who is carried in another womb. By the way, contraception and IVF are not allowed by the Catholic Church. “Such fertilization (IVF) is in itself illicit and in opposition to the dignity of procreation and of the conjugal union, even when everything is done to avoid the death of the human embryo. Although the manner in which human conception is achieved with IVF and ET cannot be approved, every child which comes into the world must in any case be accepted as a living gift of the divine Goodness and must be brought up with love”.

Catholic Church is one of the strongest churches in the World and it has great influence on the people’s mind. Maybe that’s why in the countries where Catholicism prevails surrogacy is banned.  

Position of the Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church is not as strict as the Catholic one. For example, IVF (without donation) is allowed here as this procedure “does not appear to be any different from the natural conceiving and occur within family and marital relationships”. Regarding surrogacy, it is strictly forbidden by the Russian Orthodox Church even if it is done on the altruistic basis. On the other side, if the genetic Parents are ready to confess their sins, the Russian Orthodox Church is ready to baptize a baby born in such way. “The fact of a “surrogate birth” is not in itself an obstacle to the baptism of a person, because he is not responsible for the behavior of his parents”.

Nevertheless, nowadays Russia and Ukraine are the biggest surrogacy destinations for all desperate couples.

The Greek Orthodox Church suggests the infertile couples to have a well-defined spiritual orientation and be productive in various fields of social and spiritual life, making their faith in God stronger and their soul more mature. The Church also clarified, that it is difficult for them to bless the practice of ART (unnatural and asexual conception, preservation of embryos, PGD etc.) and childbearing that disturb the normal family order as it is against the Church’s Spirit. At the same time the Greek Church accepts homologous intrauterine insemination without egg-donation or IVF with the total amount of embryos created if all of them will be transferred into the Genetic mother’s uterus (of course, only for heterosexual married couples with infertility).

Surrogacy and Islam

In Muslim world surrogacy is a quite controversial thing, as it totally depends from which perspective you are observing it. The law and religion are closely related to each other in Muslim countries. The Sharia Law based not only on the main book of Muslims – the Quran, but also on Hadit or Sunna and thoughts of Islamic scholars.

There are two different schools there: Sunni and Shiite. Sunni are the followers of Mohammad and Shiite are the followers of Imam Ali, the cousin of Mohammad and the ruler of Islam after his death. Sunni scholars disallow surrogate motherhood, since the surrogate mother will carry the baby formed by other man’s sperm to whom she is not married. According to Islam, the legal marriage is the only precept for the procreation of life, so the third party reproduction is challenging in Islam.

On the other hand, Shiite scholars do permit surrogacy as a treatment of infertility, but only for married couples (that’s why it is usual practice in Iran or Lebanon), because they consider the embryo itself as a fetus, that is totally different from the genetic father’s sperm. At the same time, the embryo-transfer is considered as a transfer of an embryo from one uterus to another, so there is no sin in it.

There are a lot of infertile couples in Muslim world. Moreover, Islamic family law envisages wife’s infertility as the major ground for divorce, so childless women are always under the psychological and social pressure that their marriage will be destroyed. However, the marriage usually doesn’t break down on the ground of male infertility.

Donation is totally prohibited in Islam, as the importance of family, lineage and the blood relations is markedly noticeable in Quran: “It is He (Allah) who created mankind from water, then He has established the relationship of lineage and marriage for your Lord has power over all things” (Quran Sura Al-Furqan 25:54).

In genetic gestational surrogacy without donation, breakdown of lineage is impossible, as the biological parents are already known. There is no any adultery in the embryo-transfer procedure that is performed in the IVF Clinic. The only one question that arises here is who the real mother is: the surrogate mother who gives birth to the child or the genetic one?

Quran defines motherhood as: “Their mothers are only those who conceived them and gave birth to them (waladna hum) (Al Quran Surah al-Mujadalah 58:2).

So, there is a mention about the whole procedure from the fertilization moment, including the pregnancy period and the delivery. Thus, Quran denies unconditionally any rights to genetic mother in surrogacy agreement. On the other hand, there are a lot of examples when action was prohibited by Quran, but it was allowed anyway for the necessity and public benefits (usage of insulin made of pork or even transplantation of reproductive organs).

Prophet Muhammad says: “For every disease, there is a cure except senility” (Hadit, Bukhary and Muslaam). So, in case we are talking about surrogacy as about the way of infertility treatment and an absolute necessity for procreation, it is totally possible since both mothers (surrogate and genetic) agree with their roles in this process and legal system will help with the regulation of their legal status.

As it is written in Quran “We did send apostles, before thee, and appointed for them wives and children” (Quran Sura Al-R’ad 13:38).

Surrogacy and Buddhism

Buddhism spread throughout Asia and divided into three major branches, each with distinctive beliefs, practices and cultural nuances: Theravada Buddhism in Southern and Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), Mahayana Buddhism in eastern Asia (China, Korea and Japan) and Vajrayana Buddhism in Central Asia (Tibet).

Buddhism adheres to the basic Indian view, one shared with Hinduism and Jainism, that human existence is a part of ongoing cycle of multiple lifetimes (samsara) the circumstances of which are governed by one’s deeds or actions (karma). Not surprisingly, Buddhist texts offer little direct guidance in such modern issues as artificial insemination and IVF.

Since Buddhism typically value renouncing ideas and consider marriage or divorce as cultural or civil rather than religious affairs, there is no biblical injunction here to be fruitful and multiply. Meanwhile, Buddhism, unlike Christianity, Judaism or Islam, doesn’t make procreation a moral duty.

From the point of view of Buddhist monks, surrogacy is not prohibited by Buddhist teachings. If surrogacy is done with the spirit of generosity, then surrogacy would be considered as a good thing. Many of Thai women, as followers of Theravada Buddhism, have a strong sense of desire to be useful to their fellow women suffering from inability to bear children. There are also those who possess a strong altruistic motivation to help people in a state of suspended atonement for their sins for the purpose of thamboon (accumulating virtue). The Thai populace, of whom 94% believe in thamboon and reincarnation, have a tolerant attitude toward commercial surrogacy.

However, if surrogacy is made with an unwholesome intent, using the procedure to bypass nature, and conceive a baby for personal advantage intent to abuse of natural order as well as lowering the dignity of humanity is would be considered wrong.

According to the Buddhists traditions, children have the right to know their origin since they reach maturity. The same situation is with Hinduism, where surrogacy is allowed, but unknown donation is not, because the child would not know its lineage.

Surrogacy and Judaism

Nowadays three sects of Judaism exist: the Orthodox Jews (around 10%), the conservative Jews (about 5%) and reformed Jews (85%).

Procreation is the first command in the Torah: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill up the Earth”. Torah has the same stories of third party intervention (surrogacy) as the Bible. In this light, today’s children who are born without violating the sacred sexual intimacy of marriage, as well as artificial insemination by a donor are not considered as an act of adultery by halakhic authorities.

The other category of third-party intervention presented in the Torah, demonstrates the willingness to redraft familial lines to overcome infertility. Familiar continuity and having a child was so great value that it overrode the societal norm of familial boundaries. When a man died childless, his next of kin was commanded to procreate with the widow in order to perpetuate the deceased’s name and memory. When Tamar’s husband, Er, died without issue, her father-in-law, Judah, said to his second son, Onan: “Join with your brother’s wife and do your duty by her as a brother-in-law and provide offspring for your brother” (Genesis 32:8).

So, in principle Halakha rejects the all-encompassing conception that everything must be “realized in the conjugal act wherein the spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator, who is love.” And for all sects of Jews IVF is allowed if it is mandatory for procreation reasons. Even possible to do PGD as the soul does not enter the body until 40 days (there is no body yet and the embryo is considered as “bare water”).

Rabbis universally accept the use of medical technology, as “just as tree does not grow if it is not fertilized, plowed and weeded – and even if it already grew, but then is not watered it dies. So, the body is like a tree: the medicine is the fertilizer and the doctor is the farmer”.

Nevertheless there are still some ethical controversies regarding the process of surrogacy. For example, there is such question as who is the halakhic mother of the child: is the biological mother or gestational one? It is not clear when motherhood starts: is in the moment of conceiving or in the moment of birth? That’s why Jews prefer that both mothers, gestational and genetic, are Jewish so to avoid any problems in the future regarding the question if the baby is Jewish or not.

The same situation is with sperm collection for any form of assisted reproduction, because masturbation is forbidden. But in fact even TESE is allowed in case of infertility, as the main rule still “be fruitful and multiply”. In some sources is even mentioned that it is possible to make sex-selection if the couple have at least four children of the same sex.

Anyway, surrogacy is not recommended to anyone according to the Judaism. Otherwise, it is better to find a good Rabbi for each infertile couple to get proper advice about it.

In conclusion, we want to say that primary sources of religious texts are of course very important for understanding the moral and ethical values, protected by humanity for ages as sacred and immutable truth. Meanwhile, we need to take into account that we live in a rapidly developing world imbued with technical progress, which gives us abilities to treat diseases in a new way, as we have never done before. And if nowadays we can treat infertility using assisted reproductive technologies, we do not pretend to be God, we are trying to understand this World and at least to help God to bring new life to it. As even if the embryo is done in laboratory conditions, the life to its first cells must be given by God.

Author: Sukhanova Anna, legal adviser of 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.

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