International Surrogacy

The international surrogacy and assisted reproduction landscape continues to evolve rapidly. There have been multiple changes to assisted conception and international surrogacy law and policy in recent months. These changes have taken place in Italy, the Republic of Georgia, Greece, the Ukraine and Russia, making it essential to keep on top of developments in fertility treatment and international surrogacy and consult an expert international surrogacy lawyer.

Surrogacy in The Republic of Georgia
In June 2023 came news that the Republic of Georgia will ban overseas intended parents from undertaking international surrogacy arrangements from 1 January 2024. Over the last ten years, the Republic of Georgia has become an international surrogacy destination of choice for intended parents prohibited from undergoing surrogacy at home or seeking lower-cost surrogacy arrangements abroad. News of the international ban will impact intended parents from all over the world. In future, only Georgian citizens will be able to undertake surrogacy in the Republic of Georgia and there are government indications that this may only be permitted on an altruistic basis, with restrictions placed on advertising as well.

Surrogacy in The Ukraine and Russia
The ongoing Russian war in the Ukraine has also greatly affected the Ukrainian fertility treatment and surrogacy sector. Before war broke out at the end of February 2022, the Ukraine was another international surrogacy destination of choice for intended parents prohibited from undergoing surrogacy at home or seeking lower-cost surrogacy arrangements abroad. Ongoing war in the Ukraine with continuing missile attacks and fighting creates many dangers for anyone undertaking surrogacy there including: risks navigating Russian checkpoints in occupied territory, attacks on critical infrastructure including energy (disrupting electricity and water supplies and heating), damage to bridges and roads, educational and cultural facilities and residential housing stock. This creates significant difficulties and risks practically and legally for everyone involved and has led to a shift in focus away from the Ukraine to other surrogacy destinations including Africa, Mexico and Argentina. The ongoing warzone in Ukraine serves as a reminder of the importance of undertaking surrogacy in destinations that are stable, free from political instability and war and benefiting from clearly defined laws.

Surrogacy in Greece

Surrogacy or surrogate motherhood is legal in Greece for both opposite-sex couples (married or unmarried) and single females who cannot carry a child to term naturally. Only altruistic surrogacy arrangements are allowed.

In Greece, it is required for intended parents to obtain court approval of the surrogacy arrangement prior to the embryo transfer to the uterus of the gestational carrier. At this point, the IP(s) must submit to the court evidence of their medical inability to have children. When looking for surrogacy clinics in Greece, IPs must make sure that they will be assigned a Greek lawyer, who will be responsible for preparing the surrogacy agreement and the documents that must be submitted to the court.

At this point, the surrogate can get started with the medical preparation for the transfer, but the transfer itself cannot take place before the Court has delivered its official judgement.

Given rapidly evolving law, policy and practice governing surrogacy and fertility treatment it is now more important than ever that intended parents carefully navigate the associated legal issues and ensure they can put in place a viable legal and practical action plan before embarking upon an international surrogacy journey. If you would like specialist legal strategies and solutions to assist with the management of surrogacy law, please contact us.               

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