SURROGACY

/SURROGACY
SURROGACY 2017-07-07T12:40:45+00:00

SURROGACY: A PRACTICE AS OLD AS MAN HIMSELF

Using a surrogate mother to bear a child through pregnancy for an infertile couple or person is as old as the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis chapter 16. Sarah could not bear children, so she gave her servant to Abraham so she could have his children.

 

The story of Sarah is the closest the Bible comes to what we call “traditional surrogacy” today, where the mother is impregnated with the sperm of a man -often one whose wife is incapable of producing eggs- usually by means of artificial insemination.

Also practiced today is “gestational” surrogacy where both of the intended rearing parents may have a genetic connection to the child. The intended rearing mother’s eggs are fertilized with the intended rearing father’s sperm in vitro. The resulting embryo(s) are then implanted in the surrogate’s womb. In this case, the surrogate’s role is simply that of a “carrier”.

In both Greece and Great Britain, the legislation is clear and unambiguous. It allows couples from any country of the world to conceive children through surrogacy. It also sets the framework within which the process can be carried out, unlike other countries where the legal framework is either unclear or expressly prohibits surrogacy.

Surrogacy is a one-way street for women unable for health reasons to become pregnant. It mostly concerns women who have undergone hysterectomy, chemotherapy or radiation or suffer from chronic diseases (e.g. kidney failure, heart disease, etc.).

It is also an option for women with increased risk of miscarriage or history of multiple miscarriages; women suffer from congenital uterine absence, abnormalities of the uterus or multiple fibroids. Menopause, however, does not constitute a reason for opting to have a child via a surrogate mother.

Surrogacy in Greece

For a couple to have a child through a surrogate in Greece, certain requirements on all sides will have to be met.
These are:

For the surrogate mother

  • The surrogate mother should be medically and mentally fit.
  • She should submit a written agreement between herself and the future parents to the court.
  • In case that the surrogate mother is married, her husband should also consent in writ-ing by signing the written agreement.
  • The fertilized ova should not belong to the surrogate mother.

For the commissioning mother

  • The commissioning mother should not exceed the age of 50.
  • Her husband should also agree to the surrogacy.
  • The commissioning mother should prove that she is unable to carry the child to term.
  • She should provide the ova. If for some reason she cannot, then she will need to use donor eggs.
  • The intended parents are responsible for the reasonable expenses of the surrogate (for example, clothes, travel expenses and loss of earnings).

Also

Surrogacy is allowed to applicants or surrogate mothers who have their permanent residence in Greece. According to Greek law, the agreement for the surrogacy should be made without financial compensation.

However, the following are not considered as financial compensation:

  1. The payment of any necessary examinations.
  2. The notary costs for the signing of a private agreement.
  3. All lawyer costs.
  4. All judicial fees.
  5. The medical evaluation of both the surrogate mother and the couple. The psychological evaluation of the surrogate mother.
  6. The payment for any expenses necessary for the artificial insemination procedure, the pregnancy, the delivery and the childbed.
  7. The restitution for any damages incurred and lost wages by the surrogate because she left her work or she took an unpaid leave of absence during the periods (and because) of insemination, pregnancy, delivery and childbed.
  8. A couple undertakes the medical expenses of the surrogate mother as well as other costs, such as those of food, accommodation, etc. always depending on the agreement that preceded.
  9. Therefore, a couple choosing the surrogacy option should be aware that they will need to spend a considerable amount of money to obtain a biological child.

Emotional implications

But what about the psychological implications of the surrogacy process? From the moment the transfer of the embryo in a surrogate mother is complete and there is a positive outcome, there starts a period of anxiety, concerns, anguish, and expectations.

Commissioning couples tend to become overly protective of their child and want their surrogate mother to report what she is eating, how much rest she is getting, etc. Is the surrogate mother properly fed? Does she exercise as asked? Has she smoked? Has she lifted any weights? In these cases, the predominant feeling is the lack of control. There may be grief involved in watching someone else carry the baby of the biological mother and father—and this is a normal feeling. Difficult emotions, such as lack of control, are likely to come up for everyone involved at some point.

On the one hand, the couple is confronted with the possibility to have a child produced by their own genetic material, but, on the other hand, they will not experience the basic realities of pregnancy as they will only be spectators in the process. Most couples attend the surrogate mother’s visits to the gynecologist. This way they feel that they are part of this whole process and have some control over the situation.

As for surrogate mothers, although they know well enough that they will not be going home with the child they have lived with for nine months, they may experience some difficult feelings of grief and loss following the birth of the baby. That is why it is not advisable to let a surrogate mother breastfeed the newborn baby. These feelings are why it’s so important to meet with a mental health professional, seek surrogacy counselling and establish boundaries and expectations for post-birth contact.

Surrogate mother, parents, and child after the birth: Greek legal framework

The obstetric hospital follows the typical procedure for issuing the birth certificate (recording of course that this is a case of surrogacy) and the parents should submit the certificate to the civil registrar and declare the birth of “their” child in ten days (as any other couple). They should also submit to the registrar office a copy of the judicial decision that gave to the commissioning mother the license to have a child with the help of the surrogate mother.

Once the baby is born, the surrogate mother is no longer relevant. The new parents on their part, are required to take the child, even if it is born with disabilities.

Surrogacy at Medimall IVF Clinic

Medimall IVF Clinic provides extensive surrogacy-related consultancy services. The latter cover all potential aspects of this practice, including the emotional and psychological impact on both couple and surrogate mother, as well as all medical tests recommended for surrogate mothers, and advice for the most appropriate artificial insemination method, always in compliance with the legal framework in force.

In short

  • We believe the decision to participate in surrogacy is extremely important. You must be fully informed about surrogacy and have an understanding of both the psychological and financial parameters before joining our program.
  • The most important thing to know is that the transfer to a woman’s body of fertilized ova other than her own and her ensuing pregnancy is permitted exclusively by court authorization.
  • Surrogate motherhood is open to couples in which female infertility is coupled with the need to use donor genetic material (ovules or semen).
  • Couples that meet the requirements of the law, can be referred to the MEDIMALL IVF unit.
  • Our legal advisor, experienced in cases of surrogacy, is available to provide the maximum support at every step of the procedure, so that your desire can become reality in no time.
  • Our long experience in the fields of gynecology, genetics, and assisted reproduction, together with doctors and a fully-qualified scientific and medical staff, following all modern methods proposed by the medical community and approved by Greek legislation, can make your wish to become parents come true.