What is a Surrogacy Motherhood Program
Surrogacy constitutes an Assisted Reproduction Method nowadays as the need and the dream for a child has significantly upgraded. Every year, more and more couples are familiar with the idea, overcoming the social and moral barriers they hold and seek for “borrowed” mothers.
A surrogate mother is defined as a woman who is pregnant with an infant intended for a couple who, however, is unable to become pregnant. In this case, the candidate mother provides her own egg and the candidate father the semen and embryo (in many cases multiple embryos) is transferred to the female patient who has no genetic connection with the child.
IPs Criteria of considering an SMP
- Recurrent miscarriages or pregnancy losses
- Hysterectomy or uterus abnormalities making a conception impossible
- Repeated failured Assisted Reproduction Treatments (IVF or ICSI)
- Premature Ovarian Insufficiency
- Serious health problems
Surrogate Criteria of considering entering an SMP
- Proof of fertility
- Maximum two (2) births till the program starts
- No more than two (2) caesarian sections
- Altruistic purpose – willing to end the program successfully
- Successful records of Psychological & mental tests of her own as well as a detailed family medical history
- Blood test investigations from HIV I-II, HCV, HbsAg, VDRL (Syphilis)
- No smoking, alcohol, drugs
- What is unique about Greece is that it is the only European country and one of the only countries in the world where the surrogate has no rights over the child. The intended parents become the legal parents of the child from conception and there is no mention of the surrogate mother anywhere on hospital or birth certificates.
- An added advantage for European is that, due to the Schengen Treaty, they can freely travel home as soon as the baby is born and deal with citizenship issues at that time, as opposed to applying at their own embassy in Greece.
Type of Surrogacy Agreement
a. Gestational Surrogacy
Gestational Surrogacy is when the genetic material that is going to be used is not the Surrogate’s Mother one.
In this case the genetic material comes:
- Either from the Intended Parents (IPs) or
- From an egg donor in certain case
There are three reasons why Gestational Surrogacy can occur:
- Homosexual couples (using sperm donor – not always applicable)
- Heterosexual couples where the intended mother’s eggs are fertilized with the intended father’s sperm
- Heterosexual couples where the intended father’s sperm fertilizes an anonymous donor’s eggs, in certain cases
b. Traditional Surrogacy
Traditional Surrogacy is not allowed in Greece as the Surrogate mother is not allowed to provide her own genetic material for conception according to the Greek legislation and the National Assisted Reproduction Authorities.
As mentioned before, the surrogacy program in Greece is always altruistic. The agreement with the surrogate mother, should be made without financial compensation!
The following are not considered, by Law, as financial compensation:
- The payment for any expenses necessary for the artificial insemination procedure, the pregnancy, the delivery and the childbed.
- 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.
Surrogacy law in Greece
In Greece surrogacy is permitted by the law since 2004. In our clinic we have helped couples or single people-from all over the world –to have a child. The Greek legal framework for surrogacy programs is very tolerant provided that they are altruistic. All other forms of surrogacy in Greece are not allowed and are penalized. The surrogacy program is allowed for married couples, unmarried couples or single women.
In Greece, surrogate motherhood has been approved by law (Article 1458 of Government Gazette 3089/2002) and since July 2014 has opened its doors to foreign residents (N. 4272 / 11.07.2014). This change allows for the legal request of judicial authorization of surrogacy by foreigners who do not live permanently in Greece, using temporary accommodation.
What is unique about Greece is that it is the only European country and one of the only countries in the world where the surrogate has no rights over the child. The intended parents become the legal parents of the child from conception and there is no mention of the surrogate mother anywhere on hospital or birth certificates. An added advantage for European is that, due to the Schengen Treaty, they can freely travel home as soon as the baby is born and deal with citizenship issues at that time, as opposed to applying at their own embassy in Greece.
The legal authorization must be granted by the court which will consent and will pass judgment. The Woman who wishes to have a child by the method of the surrogate motherhood should apply to the court, which will issue a decision if it finds out that the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. The patient(s) [intended parent(s)] making the request and wishes to have a child should prove to be medically impossible for her to gestate.
2. The Woman (surrogate mother) offering to carry the baby should be healthy and able to conceive and should undergo a thorough psychological evaluation.
3. The eggs that will be implanted to the surrogate mother must not belong to her, but they have to be retrieved either from the woman wishing to have a child or from a donor. In this way, the legislator wants to exclude the condition of full substitution in maternity (i.e. the surrogate mother to be the biological – genetic mother of the child).
4. All people involved (if the surrogate mother is married and her husband) should agree in a written consent that they accept to submit to this process and that there is no financial exchange. In this case, the private written consent is sufficient and there is no need for contract.
The age limit of the intended mother is fifty (50) years old and the trial takes place “behind closed doors” in order to protect the privacy of all parties. If all of the above conditions are fulfilled, the court provides the necessary judicial authorization. Only after a relevant judicial authorization by the court order permitting the application of this method, the physician can proceed to the corresponding medical practice, namely the process of IVF.
The law states that “mother of the born child is the woman to whom has been given the relevant judicial authorization” and not the woman who conceived and gave birth to the born child. Finally, as far as the registry office is concerned, mother of the born child will be registered, based on the relevant judicial authorization, the woman who wishes the child and has received the judicial decision.
The process we have described above is one of the most helpful in the world, since the Greek law provides guarantees for people who resort to this method.