Surrogacy throughout Europe is still all over the show when it comes to rules and regulations. Help you and your family make the right choice by looking at our comprehensive guide to surrogacy in Europe.
When looking to create a child, infertility issues can feel like they put a stopper in many hopeful parents plans. More couples than ever are searching for opportunities to grow their families. But with restrictive laws or large price tags, many couples are forced to broaden their horizons, looking to other European countries to carry their dreams.
Surrogacy laws throughout Europe vary greatly from country to country. So it can be a bit confusing for parents that are hoping to find their ideal surrogate. Laws surrounding surrogacy in Europe can restrict the type of arrangements available to different family models and there are many different legal obstacles to consider. Certain determinate factors, such as marital status or medical necessity can severely limit the choices that some couples have access to.
The biggest bifurcation in surrogacy law is what type of surrogacy a country will allow. While there are definitely smaller bylaws and considerations, the choice between altruistic or compensated surrogacy programs is heavily mitigated by the laws set in place by each respective country’s government.
Altruistic surrogacy is a type of arrangement in which the surrogate mother is not entitled to, or cannot accept, payment for her role in the process. While most countries do allow for the altruistic surrogate mothers to claim reparations for medical expenses and certain other expenses that are incurred during the pregnancy, they are not allowed any monetary compensation for the act of carrying the child.
Altruistic surrogacy can be performed by family members and may even utilize the highly controversial practice of “traditional surrogacy”, where the surrogate mother donates the egg for the child. Gestational surrogacy (where the carrying mother supplies no genetic material to the child) is the preferred route because of legal complications.
Compensated surrogacy is a surrogacy in which the mother carrying the child is paid to do so. On top of medical expenses, living stipends, care necessities, and a number of other expenses agreed upon by both the intended parents and the surrogate, the gestational mother will also be paid an agreed-upon fee. These fees are discussed during initial negotiations and are put into a surrogacy contract.
There are many debates regarding the morality of compensated surrogacy and the ethical practice of allowing it. Concerns are often raised about the exploitation of poorer class women.
Generally, if a country publicly permits altruistic surrogacy, they do not allow any form of compensated surrogacy. This doesn’t go both ways however, as many countries that allow compensated surrogacy, also allow for altruistic.
Countries that allow for altruistic surrogacy are:
- United Kingdom
Many of these countries have additional laws that require couples to be heterosexual, married, or that the intended parents are nationals of the country they intend on pursuing the surrogacy through. Some allow for altruistic surrogacy, but at the same time do not have laws that enforce or supplement the practice
Most of these countries have legislation in place with laws that specifically protect the intended parents, as well as extend their services to foreign nationals. Be aware that some countries only extend their compensated surrogacy programs to parents who have documented medical problems that prevent them from conceiving themselves.
Unregulated or Illegal*
- Czech Republic
*banned in all forms
Where surrogacy is strictly illegal, countries can also regulate or refuse the act of obtaining a surrogacy elsewhere- even for their citizens. So it’s always important to check that your country will allow you and your newborn child safe and legal passage back into your home country.
Debates and Morality
While some countries and people contend that compensated surrogacy leads to exploitation of mothers or creates a “womb for rent” business, others believe that the women deserve payment for their hard work. While exploitation does in fact exist, there are ways to ensure that you and your family do not become involved in such a situation.
Choose Your Agency Wisely
Always make sure when choosing surrogacy abroad, that you use a reputable surrogacy agency. Finding ads online, or through private vendors increases the risk of being involved in less than legitimate services. Ask what sort of tests and evaluations that require for their surrogates. Tour their operations. Look for an online presence or reviews.
Always be knowledgeable about the laws in the country you’re looking towards for surrogacy, as well as in your home country. Check and see if the surrogacy agency of your choice supplies its own legal team when it comes to drawing up initial contracts, as well as helping you and baby arrive home safely.
Be aware of what medical procedures can be carried out by the agency and their affiliates, and what you’ll have to travel elsewhere to obtain. Ensuring that you are comfortable with your agency, their staff, and their standard practices can provide you with the necessary piece of mind that you have made the right decision.
Understand the Law
Know what sort of laws the country you plan on going through has in place for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Try and discover what sort of legal process is necessary for pre-surrogacy contracts, as well as custody and travel. Countries that require visas to visit can cause some logistical and legal difficulties for intended parents. In whatever country you choose to go with, there should be laws in place that protect everyone involved in the process.
Consider Financial Obligation
While money is usually the last issue on the table, as most hopeful parents would sacrifice anything to have their family, it’s still a very important consideration. Occasionally, travelling outside of the borders of your home country can offer you drastically smaller price tags for the same quality of care. Understand exactly what you’re paying for and consider any possible additional charges that may come into play. You need to be aware of all the costs you might have with surrogacy.
Choosing Your Future
There are many things to consider when choosing a surrogacy agency or a surrogate. Make sure that you and your partner carefully review all of the pros and cons of any agreement. As well as where you each stand morally and ethically. For many couples throughout Europe and even in the United States, surrogacy in Ukraine offers them the peace of mind, a secure legal process and the affordable options and travel that they are looking for.
Ukraine has topped the charts for surrogacy abroad for a few years, and with good reason. They have ideal legislation that protects both intended parents and surrogate mothers alike. They also are capable of offering lower prices without compromising on medical care and technology.