Georgia Bans Surrogacy and IVF Services for Foreigners

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In a recent announcement, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili of Georgia revealed that the country has introduced a ban on surrogacy and in vitro fertilization (IVF) services for foreigners. The ban aims to address concerns related to the welfare of surrogate children who are taken out of the country and to prevent potential adoption by same-sex couples.

Under the new legislation, only Georgian citizens will be allowed to utilize surrogacy services within the country. Garibashvili highlighted that the ability to control the welfare of surrogate children becomes challenging once they are taken abroad. Additionally, there have been reports indicating that children born through surrogacy in Georgia might be adopted by same-sex couples.

The Ministry of Health is currently working on a bill that will be presented to Parliament. This legislation will limit access to IVF, surrogacy, and related procedures for non-citizens of Georgia starting from January 1, 2024. However, Georgian citizens will still have the right to pursue surrogacy and egg donation, with the condition that women are prohibited from receiving monetary compensation. Instead, they can only be reimbursed for the expenses directly associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

The forthcoming bill will also include a prohibition on advertising surrogate motherhood, emphasizing the importance of altruism in the process. Garibashvili emphasized that any citizen of Georgia who wishes to be a donor or surrogate mother must act on the principle of altruism rather than financial gain.

According to the prime minister, around two thousand women are currently engaged in surrogate motherhood in Georgia. It is worth noting that the majority of surrogate mothers in the country come from socially vulnerable backgrounds. Surrogacy services in Georgia are predominantly utilized by foreign couples, with countries such as Europe, China, Israel, Turkey, and the USA being common sources of intended parents. Australia and Canada have recently seen an increase in couples seeking surrogacy services, with Georgia becoming a popular destination due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Surrogacy remains a controversial topic globally, with only a limited number of countries allowing the practice. Nations opposing surrogate motherhood argue that it compromises the dignity of the child and the surrogate mother, reducing them to mere subjects of contractual agreements. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the rights of children in such arrangements, as the human body should not be the subject of private contracts, according to opponents.

A Radio Liberty investigation revealed that surrogate mothers in Georgia earn salaries ranging from $15,000 to $20,000. The majority of individuals utilizing surrogacy and donation services in Georgia are foreign couples, accounting for approximately 99 percent of the total. Advertising campaigns promoting surrogacy can be seen throughout the Tbilisi subway, featuring images of smiling pregnant women. Some agencies offer compensation of $20,000 to $25,000 for women aged 19 to 38.

With the new ban on surrogacy and IVF services for foreigners, Georgia joins a limited number of countries that restrict access to such reproductive options. The government’s decision reflects concerns over child welfare and aims to regulate the industry to ensure ethical practices within the country.

We Believe in Common Sense Regulations, Not Discriminatory Regulations

In the wake of Georgia’s recent ban on surrogacy and in vitro fertilization (IVF) services for foreigners, a heated debate has ensued regarding the government’s approach to regulating reproductive options. While the ban was implemented with the intention of protecting the welfare of surrogate children and maintaining control over their adoption, critics argue that it perpetuates discrimination and undermines individual freedom.

The ban, which limits access to surrogacy and IVF procedures to Georgian citizens, has raised concerns about the rights of intended parents from other countries. By effectively excluding foreigners from utilizing these services, the legislation has been labeled as discriminatory and restrictive.

Proponents of the ban, including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, emphasize the importance of child welfare and the need for stricter regulations in the surrogacy industry. They argue that controlling the adoption process and ensuring the well-being of surrogate children is paramount. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the potential adoption of Georgian-born children by same-sex couples, which has influenced the decision to limit access to surrogacy and IVF services for non-citizens.

However, opponents argue that these concerns can be addressed through common sense regulations rather than outright bans. They assert that a comprehensive legal framework, combined with proper oversight and monitoring, can ensure the welfare of surrogate children without resorting to discriminatory measures. Rather than excluding foreigners, these regulations would focus on enforcing ethical practices, safeguarding the rights of all parties involved, and ensuring transparency within the industry.

Critics further argue that the ban undermines individual freedom and reproductive autonomy. By restricting access to surrogacy and IVF based on nationality, the legislation infringes upon the rights of individuals who may seek these services for various reasons, such as medical necessity or personal choice. They contend that decisions regarding reproductive options should be made by the individuals involved, in consultation with medical professionals, rather than being dictated by governmental regulations.

Moreover, opponents of the ban stress the potential economic impact on Georgia. Surrogacy and IVF services have attracted a significant number of foreign couples to the country, contributing to the local economy and generating employment opportunities. By imposing restrictions on these services, Georgia risks losing its status as a popular destination for reproductive tourism, potentially impacting the livelihoods of those involved in the industry.

As the debate continues, stakeholders from various sectors, including legal experts, healthcare professionals, and human rights advocates, are calling for a more nuanced approach to regulation. They argue for the development of comprehensive legislation that balances the protection of child welfare with the principles of individual autonomy and non-discrimination.

In the pursuit of common sense regulations, it is crucial for Georgia’s government to engage in open dialogue with all stakeholders, considering diverse perspectives and incorporating expert opinions. By doing so, it may be possible to find a middle ground that upholds the rights and well-being of surrogate children while respecting the choices and dignity of intended parents, irrespective of their nationality.

Ultimately, the goal should be to strike a balance that promotes ethical practices, safeguards child welfare, and recognizes the rights of individuals seeking reproductive assistance. By embracing an inclusive and forward-thinking approach, Georgia can chart a path that sets an example for other nations grappling with similar challenges, fostering a system that is both compassionate and fair.