The Republic of Georgia is one of the few countries located in Europe where surrogacy is legal. Particularly, the law that regulates this third-party assisted reproduction treatment came into force in 1997. The cost and the favorable conditions for both residents and non-residents are the main reasons why childless couples from all around the world pursue surrogacy in this country.
According to Article 143 of the legislation of Georgia, in particular the law “On Health”, extracorporeal fertilization is allowed:
[…] if a woman has no uterus—for the purpose of relocation and nurture of an embryo, received as a result of fertilization, into another woman’s (“surrogate mother”) uterus; the couple’s written consent is required.
Even though, as we have just read, Article 143 makes reference only to women without a uterus as potential candidates to have a baby via surrogate, actually the Georgian government accepts cases of Müllerian duct anomalies or medical inability to carry a child until birth as reasons as to why a couple may need a gestational carrier as well.
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.
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.