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