Having a family is a privilege, and for many, a hard-won blessing that doesn’t come easily. Thanks to advanced reproductive technology and surrogacy options, modern-day medicine now allows us to expand families despite growing obstacles such as age and disease. At Be Parent we’re dedicated to holding your hand as we guide you through this process.
Surrogacy in the UK
Surrogacy law and legislative protocol vary from country-to-country. The United Kingdom is one of the few countries where surrogacy is legalized and adheres to an established framework.
The practice of surrogacy in the UK dates back to 1978, when Britain’s first ‘test- tube baby, Louise Brown, was born. The Surrogacy Arrangements Act of 1985 was passed just seven years after this milestone. Since then, UK surrogacy law has evolved considerably; Intended parents can choose between traditional or gestational methods, irrespective of marital status and sexual orientation.
Even though surrogacy still remains somewhat controversial, UK law is becoming more and more flexible and in favour of individuals struggling to conceive in the traditional way. Nevertheless, several challenges must still be overcome to successfully pursue surrogacy in the UK.
UK surrogacy obstacles
The total cost of surrogacy in the UK can surpass £50,000, which is quite high, compared to other European countries offering similar processes.
Secondly, although somewhat progressive by global standards, current UK surrogacy legislation is still in need of reformation. Under the Surrogacy Arrangements Act of 1985, at a child’s birth, a surrogate carrier is recognized as the legal mother, and her last name is assigned on the baby’s birth certificate. If she is married, the surrogate’s spouse will be listed as the secondary parent. Parenthood can be transferred to intended parents via a parental order, which can take up to 6 months after birth to be finalized.
Surrogacy arrangements are not legally enforceable in the UK, which gives the surrogate carrier the right to fight for legal parentage if she is inclined to do so. Parents of children born via surrogacy, in other locations, are not recognized as legal parents in the UK, even if the country in question allows their names to be placed on the local birth certificate. UK law also jeopardizes surrogate carriers – if intended parents fail to obtain a parental order within six months of their baby’s birth, the surrogate partner can end up legally responsible for a child she had no intention of keeping.
Considering these complications, researching surrogacy processes in countries outside of the UK can lead to a more affordable and straightforward journey. Selecting a favourable birth country and corresponding agency is the first and the most important decision; it’s recommended to duly consider all various global options beforehand.
Why choose Georgia?
Georgia lies in the region of Caucasus, among Europe and Asia, and is one of the few countries where international surrogacy is legally recognized. According to medical opinion and intended parent feedback, Georgia is one of the best destinations for a secure surrogacy journey. The country has a long family-building history as the law that regulates third-party assisted reproduction came into force in 1997. Since then, the Georgian surrogacy process and legal framework has developed and become as favourable for intended parents as possible. Due to high clinical standards and a smooth and reliable exit process, Georgia has become increasingly popular with intended parents from the UK, USA, Israel, Australia, and Europe.
According to recent Georgian legislation, intended parents must be legally married, at least 1 year, or have equivalent proof of cohabitation or defacto status. Surrogate carriers in Georgia aren’t afforded parental rights following delivery; solely the names of the intended parents are written on the child’s birth certificate. This permits birth certificate issuance in just a day, and lends to a much less complicated legislative process.
Surrogate carriers from Georgia are required to comply with all medical codes, maintain excellent health, and have at least one child prior to participating in a
surrogacy program. Additonally, the climate and environment in Georgia is especially sound health-wise, which gives intended parents peace-of-mind concerning the wellbeing of both their surrogate partner and baby. The cost of living in Georgia is also relatively affordable, in comparison to other developed countries worldwide. This gives foreign intended parents the flexibility to stay in Georgia for an extended time, as they build on their relationship with their surrogate partner, their agency and coordinate their exit after birth.
UK exit process in Georgia
The exit process is streamlined in Georgia. Children born via surrogacy, to foreign parents, are considered stateless and have no citizenship until their parents apply for citizenship from their home country. The average time required to obtain travel documents varies by country of residence. For UK citizens, this process takes between 8-12 weeks.
It’s understandable why Georgia remains one of the top destinations for surrogacy in the world. Affordable cost, healthy environment, advanced medical facilities, and, most importantly, a favourable legal framework welcome intended parents to fulfill their family’s expansion in Georgia.