Surrogate motherhood has firmly entered our life, becoming available for a huge number of desperate couples. However, not all so simple. Let’s look at the medical, legal and ethical issues of this practice.
- What is it?
Reproductive technology involving three people: biological parents providing genetic material for in vitro fertilization (in other words, an embryo in a test tube), and a surrogate mother — woman who agrees to carry, give birth and give them a child for a monetary reward or other arrangement. Sometimes a surrogate mother becomes a donor of female egg cells – in the case of female infertility, medical contraindications for pregnancy, or if the father of the child is a single man. But Ukrainian law prohibits this practice.
- When did it appear?
Modern surrogate motherhood is rooted literally in the Old Testament times. Resourceful ancient Romans gave their wives (ventrem locare) for the birth of children to couples in whom the wife was infertile. Hebrew childless wives, to give heirs to their husbands, resorted to the help of slaves. However, in reality, these “temporary moms” were genetic, not surrogate mothers.
The first experience of the real surrogate motherhood – when fertilizing an infertile woman’s egg cell outside the body and transferring the embryo to another woman’s uterus – belongs to the British scientist. In the UK, the genetic material of the parents was transferred to the sister of a infertile wife, who gave birth to a healthy child in 1989.
- Who need this?
To people who are unable to conceive a child in the traditional way and do not interested in adoption. There are several reasons: infertility of one or both spouses, non reproductive age, medical contraindications for gestation and childbirth. Sometimes this method is used by women who are afraid of the physiological consequences of pregnancy – weight gain, deformation of the pelvic bones and changes in the shape of the breast. For homosexual couples, surrogate motherhood is the only way to have children with their own genes.
- Is it legal?
Yes. Unlike Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, several US states, France and Switzerland, in Ukraine surrogate motherhood is not prohibited by law.
5.Who is allowed to become a surrogate mother?
Any healthy woman from 18 to 38 years old, psychologically and somatically healthy, without harmful habits also availability of at least one healthy child is required. This is the optimal childbearing age, and own children are a kind of safety net to minimize the risk of the mother’s instinct to a not genetically linked child.
- How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending on type of surrogacy program that is required. Cost of surrogate motherhood program that include IVF procedure using own egg cells of a woman is 35 000 € (Euro). In case, if woman is unable to use her own egg cells, we offer surrogacy program on donor egg cells. Price for such program is 36 000 € (Euro). If intended parents already have cryopreserved embryos, our clinic provide our clients with surrogacy program that include IVF procedure using frozen embryos. The cost is 32 000 € (Euro). Also, there is “Guarantee” program on donor egg cells which include unlimited number of attempts until the childbirth. The price for this program is a bit higher, it is 46 000 € (Euro). Although, such prices is lower in comparison with USA or Europe, which is obviously is one of the advantages of surrogacy programs in Ukraine.
- Is it compulsory to be officially married to use the services of a surrogate mother?
Yes. Due to legislation of Ukraine, only officially married couples are allowed to participate in surrogate programs. Only in case if couple want to participate in IVF program official marriage is not required.
- Pro et contra
Surrogate motherhood topic raises controversy and is discussed both by a number of religious faiths and by secular movements. The main aspects are:
- Ethical. Opponents of technology insist that the transfer of a child from hand to hand for money resembles human trafficking and turns surrogate mothers into incubators for bearing children. Also, there are reasons to believe that sometimes parting with a child, even not genetically linked, becomes a strong psychological trauma for a surrogate mother, and a child in the future acquires psychological problems.
- Religious. The point of view of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the problem is unambiguous: “Surrogate motherhood traumatizes both the bearing woman, whose motherly feelings are trampled on, and the child who may later experience a crisis of self-awareness.” Representatives of Islam share the same opinion. However, Judaism welcomes the use of technology only in case if the nationality of the child is transferred from a surrogate mother and not from genetic one.
- Juridical. Biological parents receive parental rights and the opportunity to register a child only in the case of the official consent of the surrogate mother. Thus, the parties sign a contract before participate in program in which determined the fact that surrogate mother won’t be claiming on the parental right over the child she will born. So potential moms and dads always have a 100% guarantee that they will be claimed as official parents of the baby.
From a legal point of view, the contract between genetic parents and the “gestational courier” is a normal civil law contract, which is to transfer / acquire civil rights and obligations.
There are cases in the world when surrogate mothers, because of various reasons, refused to give the child to the intended parents. In order to minimize this risk, it is necessary to approach extremely carefully to the choice of the future “temporary mother” and discuss all the variants of the development of events in advance in the contract. A normal practice is the condition when the surrogate mother compensates for all the expenses (and, probably, moral damage) incurred by the donor parents.
- Where can I find a surrogate mother?
There are two ways: on your own or through family planning centers. In the first case, you need to be prepared for the fact that the process will have to be taken under your own control – to look for both a surrogate mother, and doctors, and lawyers. Therefore, it is more reliable to apply to a specialized organization and entrust efforts to people who are competent.
VittoriaVita, Center for Human Reproduction is always happy to give our helping hand. We will help you to find surrogate mother, provide you with a huge database of donors, give you all kinds of consultations. You can rely on us in all kind of juridical issues. Foreign citizens who are wishing to take part in a surrogate motherhood program are provided with visa support. The members of the VittoriaVita’s team will help you to get a visiting or work invitation, as well as to legally register your temporary residence in Ukraine. We will make sure that your stay in Ukraine is comfortable and pleasant!
If you dream about having a sweet family, we are waiting for you.