Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani introduced tightening amendments to surrogacy laws on August 25, which require intended parents – a heterosexual couple – to live in a marriage or extramarital relationship for at least a year prior to addressing the surrogacy procedure.
According to the changes to „the Procedures for Civil Registration“ which fully enters into force on September 15, the couple willing to address surrogacy should provide relevant documentation before the notary.
The publication of the amendments which, similarly as the older version, do not clearly specify which procedures the “extracorporeal fertilization” presupposes, was followed by media outcry, voicing concerns that changes would restrict single women from benefiting from in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In a statement released on August 27, the Justice Ministry slammed opposition-leaning Mtavari Arkhi TV reports as “fake news”, claiming that new provisions only affect surrogacy procedures.
The Ministry then added that newly brought regulations aim at protecting the rights of both, the surrogate children who face risks to be subjected to international child-trade, torture, inhuman treatment, or sexual exploitation, and surrogate mothers, all of whom are Georgian citizens, as opposed to 98% of foreign nationals among their commercial clients.
A couple– “again implying a woman and a man only” – who wishes to benefit from surrogate childbirth should have a long term intention to raise this child and not represent a fictitious couple with the aim to take the child abroad for criminal intentions, the Justice Ministry stated.
Surrogacy laws vary across the world. Georgia, along with Russia, Ukraine and Albania are among the few countries in Europe allowing compensated surrogacy, for both, their nationals as well as foreigners. Many Western European nations, including Germany, Spain, France, and Italy completely outlaw surrogacy, while others, such as the United Kingdom allow only non-commercial surrogacy for UK nationals. Commercial surrogacy is allowed, among others, in some of the U.S. states.