Surrogacy in Georgia
In Georgia there has been a marked growth in surrogacy from 2010. Georgian couples made up the majority of Intended parents through surrogacy in Georgia from 2008-2010. However from 2010, Georgia has become increasingly used by intended parents from the UK, USA, Israel, Australia and mainland Europe.
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Is Surrogacy Legal in Georgia
Compensated surrogacy has been legal in Georgia since 1997. The Georgian law only gives married heterosexual couples the right to have a baby through surrogacy. This excludes the possibility for gay couples and singles, although enforcement of this restriction is often lax and some agencies and clinics will offer surrogacy to unmarried men.
According to Article 143 of the legislation of Georgia, IVF for the purposes of surrogacy is explicitly allowed if a woman has no uterus. Cases of Müllerian duct anomalies or medical inability to carry a child until birth are also valid reasons to hire a gestational carrier.
Prior to starting the treatment, receiving the couple’s written consent is required. Once signed, this written consent will be used to deem the intended parents as the legal parents, with the responsibilities and authorities proceeding from this fact.
It should be noted that the Georgian legislation permits both altruistic and commercial surrogacy arrangements. The compensation and expectations of the parties will be detailed in the surrogacy contract, though.
Gender testing can be done, but only for medical purposes Gender selection is not allowed under Georgian surrogacy regulations.
Intended parents must be heterosexual couples with a diagnosed infertility condition.
Both intended parents’ names appear on the Georgian birth certificate.
A marriage certificate is often not required.
For legal reasons, all citizens of many European countries need to engage with single surrogates in Georgia.
Neither Spain nor Australia have embassies in Georgia, so couples must engage with their nearest diplomatic mission in order to complete citizenship and passport requirements. Britain has a diplomatic mission in Georgia where citizenship can be processed.
Foreign Intended Parents do not have to travel to Georgia to sign surrogacy contracts, but can instead mail an apostilled Power of Attorney, authorizing surrogacy agency staff to sign on their behalf.
According to Article 144 of the aforementioned law, egg and sperm donation are also allowed, in case the couple needed any of these options. In fact, the identity of donors can be disclosed to the intended parents. As long as they agree, they can even get to know her in person.
As mentioned above, once the child is born, the IPs will be deemed as parents, having all the legal responsibilities and rights derived from it. The surrogate shall not have any rights to the child, and by no means will be recognized as the legal mother of the child.
The following are other aspects to keep in mind:
- The birth certificate is issued within 24 hours from childbirth.
- The names of the IPs will be put on the child’s birth certificate following birth.
- The IPs do not need consent from the surrogate to be registered as the child’s legal parents.
These are major advantages in comparison with other surrogacy destinations, as in most of them it is necessary for the surrogate to relinquish her parental rights in order for the commissioning parents to be considered the legal parents of the child. Although further formalities will be required by their home country, this definitely speeds up the process.
Intended parents from the USA.
US intended parents should be aware of the requirements of the Department of State regarding Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and surrogacy abroad. In particular, the conditions prescribed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
According to the statutory transmission requirements of INA 301 and 309, it is necessary for at least one US intended parent to be biologically related to the child born abroad via surrogate.
Even if the IPs are considered the legal parents of the child by the government of Georgia, they need to meet certain requirements established by the US Department of State in order for the the child to acquire US citizenship at birth.
So, even though the legislation of Georgia allows the use of donor gametes in surrogacy arrangements, intended parents should keep in mind that at least one of them must have a genetic link to the baby. DNA testing will be required to establish a genetic relationship.
Provided that the intended parents meet this criterion, the next step is to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen (CRBA) and a U.S. passport for the child at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Caucasian are available, offer photos with family history, occupation/ area of study, previous donor history and physical details.
Children born via surrogacy to foreigners in Georgia are not eligible for Georgian citizenship. Surrogacy babies are born “stateless” and have no citizenship until their intended parents apply for Citizenship of their home country.
The average time required to obtain travel documents for a child born through surrogacy to foreigners varies by country of residence.
- UK citizens 8-10 weeks
- Irish citizens 4-5 weeks
- Australian citizens 6 weeks
- US citizens 3-4 weeks
How much does surrogacy cost in Georgia
The average costs of surrogacy in Georgia ranges from $40,000 and $80,000. IN general, the cost of surrogacy in Georgia is slightly lower than in other destinations in the region. See the below table for a summary.[insert cost comparison table]
Of course, surrogacy arrangements can be complicated, and total costs will vary based on required medical procedures. The truth is, that the individual needs and circumstances of each IPs cause the overall price to vary.
Surrogacy costs will also increase with additional, elective procedures. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) can add from $3,000 to $5,000 to the budget in Georgia. Likewise, if the first embryo transfer attempt is not successful, subsequent trasnfers will be requied at about $2,500 per attempt.
If you are working with a surrogacy agency, the fee is about $4,500. Other costs such as the medications for the preparation of the surrogate, the attorney fees, food allowance for the surrogate and other expenses incurred during the process, etc. should be considered as well.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Surrogacy in Georgia
Advantages in Georgia
Georgia is among very few countries that explicitly legalize commercial surrogacy. This has established the country as a desirable destination for parents-to-be from many areas of the world. This legal status has helped make Georgia an international destination for surrogacy.
Under the surrogacy regulation in Georgia, the surrogate baby’s birth certificate contains no mention of surrogacy or egg donation. Upon the birth of the child, the adopting parents’ names are the only names on the legal birth certificate. There is no legal procedures needed to ensure the parental rights under Georgian law.
Surrogacy in Georgia is somewhat less expensive than other counties in the region with similar surrogacy laws. Surrogacy in Georgia may save about $5,000 in total over the same procedure in Ukraine.
Also, while the legal requirements for surrogacy in Georgia are the same as in neighboring countries, the Georgian system is known for low enforcement. Surrogacy is legally only available for married heterosexual couples, but many clinics will not require or even ask for a marriage certificate (instead taking the IP’s written statement as sufficient proof). As a result many single men and unmarried couples pursue surrogacy in defiance of the local laws.
Disadvantages in Georgia
Georgia has very similar laws to Ukraine and nearby countries regarding surrogacy. Surrogacy in Georgia is restricted to married, heterosexual married couples, just like in Ukraine. Likewise, Intended Parents must demonstrate a medical need for surrogacy — usually a doctor’s letter detailing a diagnosed fertility condition or a series of unexplained failed pregnancies or IVF cycles. In this regard there is little difference between surrogacy in Georgia and in Ukraine.
However Georgia has a lower general quality of medical care as reported by the WHO and other international bodies. Georgia has the 114th best health care system worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (Ukraine ranks 79th). Likewise, Georgia ranks #136 in the list of countries by low birth weight (compared to Ukraine, which is ranked #109) and has an Infant Mortality Rate of 15 per 1,000 births, placing it #100 (Ukraine ranks #158).
The similar cost of surrogacy and legal framework, combined with the lower quality of medical care, is a strong reason why Ukraine has become an international surrogacy hub, while Georgia remains a second tier destination.
LGBT and Family Rights in Georgia
Georgia is one of only a few countries in the former Soviet space (others being the EU-member Baltic states, and Ukraine) that directly prohibits discrimination against all LGBT people in legislation, labor-related or otherwise. That said, Same sex marriages are still banned, and Adoption by LGBT couples is banned.
Since 2012, Georgian law has considered crimes committed on the grounds of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity an aggravating factor in prosecution.
homosexuality is still considered a major deviation from highly traditional Orthodox Christian values prevalent in the country, where public discussions of sexuality in general tend to be viewed in a highly negative light. Consequently, homosexuals are often targets of abuse and physical violence, often actively encouraged by religious leaders.
Georgia for Tourists
Georgia is a country that is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The capital and largest city of the country is Tbilisi, also known as Tiflis. Georgia is a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, amongst other international organizations.
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang I of Iberia, since then Tbilisi served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Between 1801 and 1917, then part of the Russian Empire, Tbilisi was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy, governing both Southern and Northern Caucasus.
Tbilisi is home to several major institutions of higher education including the Tbilisi State Medical University and the Petre Shotadze Tbilisi Medical Academy, famous for their internationally recognised medical education system. The biggest Georgian university is Tbilisi State University which was established on 8 February 1918. TSU is the oldest university in the whole Caucasus region. Over 35,000 students are enrolled and the number of faculty and staff (collaborators) is approximately 5,000. Tbilisi is also home to the largest medical university in Caucasus region.
The city experiences very warm summers and moderately cold winters. Like other regions of Georgia, Tbilisi receives significant rainfall throughout the year with no distinct dry period. The city’s climate is influenced both by dry (Central Asian/Siberian) air masses from the east and oceanic (Atlantic/Black Sea) air masses from the west.
The average annual temperature in Tbilisi is 13.3 °C (55.9 °F). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 2.3 °C (36.1 °F). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24.9 °C (76.8 °F). Daytime high temperatures reach or exceed 32 °C (90 °F) on an average of 22 days during a typical year.
Shipping Embryos Update
Georgian regulations around shipped embryos have become more complex as of August 2019. Georgian clinics now require a letter from the sending clinic, indicating couples full names, passport information and declaring no donor was used. It must be signed by the IVF doctor, and be on clinic letterhead. In addition, a certified copy of the sending clinics registration license is required. You need to have this document apostilled and provided to the Georgian clinic.