What Are the Laws Surrounding Surrogacy in Canada?
Canada has restrictions and prohibitions relating to surrogacy, and they are:
- The intended parents will not offer to pay or advertise that they will pay a woman to be a surrogate mother.
- The parties will not accept consideration for arranging for the services of a surrogate mother, offer to make such arrangement or advertise the arranging of such services.
- No one should advise or persuade a woman to become a surrogate or do any medical procedure to help a woman become a surrogate, knowing that the woman is below the age of 21.
The above regulations mean that in Canada, the following are considered illegal:
- Paying a surrogate for her services
- Paying or offering to pay another person or placing an advertisement to arrange the services of a surrogate mother
- Trying to get a woman under 21 to be a surrogate through advising or medical procedures
The main reasons for these prohibitions are keeping with the guiding principle of Canadian regulations that state that exploiting the reproductive capabilities of children, women and men for commercial gain is strictly forbidden for health and ethical reasons. However, the Canadian law does not prohibit surrogacy itself; it allows the traditional or altruistic form of surrogacy. This means that as long as the surrogate mother makes the decision herself without any financial or commercial gain, then the surrogacy is accepted under Canadian law. Although paying a surrogate mother is a crime, the law allows the woman to be repaid for all her medical expenses that are directly related to the pregnancy.
Indirect or disguised payments to cover for the surrogacy are also illegal. These may come in the form of mortgage payments, credit card bills or even school tuition. It is also illegal for intended parents to pay third parties to hire surrogate mothers. These include fertility clinics, medical travel agencies or meditour agencies that match infertile couples with surrogate mothers. The surrogacy agreement in Canada is made between the surrogate mother and the intended parents and must respect the regulations and the provincial and territorial laws. Depending on the location of the surrogate and the intended parents, domestic and foreign laws may also apply and can affect the surrogacy arrangements. That is why it is crucial to seek legal advice before entering into any surrogacy contracts or agreements. This is to help deal with any issues or problems that may arise like adoption, citizenship issues and legal parentage problems.
What are the laws governing surrogacy in Georgia?
- The country allows both traditional and commercial surrogacy, with each situation having different contract procedures and conditions.
- The surrogate must be above the age of 25 and less than 41 and must have had a child before attempting surrogacy. They must also meet certain health standards before they can be considered and successfully matched with intended parents.
- Egg and sperm donations are legal in Georgia, and the intended parents can know and meet the donor even face to face.
- The intended parents gain full access to the infant after birth, having legal rights and responsibilities that being legal parents entails.
- The birth certificate is issued within 24 hours with the intended parents’ names being on the certificate.
- Once the surrogate delivers the child, she does not have any legal rights, and her consent is not needed for issuing the birth certificate to the intended parents.
However, the Georgian authorities have come out with a set of restrictions and bans against international couples that seek surrogacy in Georgia. The decision will likely end the international surrogacy industry and drastically reduce the number of surrogacy carried out in Georgia. The Georgian prime minister and the health minister, in separate briefings, stated that the following reasons are responsible for the proposed ban on foreigners who seek surrogacy in Georgia:
- Concerns over organ and child trafficking
- Safety concerns for the surrogate mother and child
- Fears that the babies eventually end up with same-sex couples which is in contravention of Georgian law
- Concerns over child selling by fertility agencies
- The inability to properly track and account for the well-being of the children
- Abuse and mistreatment of women, including forcing early births to deny them full payment leading to serious health complications
The specification is that from 2024, foreigners will be banned from using both in vitro fertilization and surrogacy services in Georgia, with both restricted to the citizens of the country. They also disclosed that the relevant legislature was being sent to the country’s parliament to be passed into law. The authorities also aim to restrict the advertisement of these surrogacy services by medical travel agencies in the country.
Which country is the best for foreigners seeking surrogacy: Canada vs. Georgia?
While surrogacy in Georgia was previously cheaper, more straightforward and with minimal legal hitches, currently for couples seeking overseas medical treatment or medical tourism in the form of surrogacy, Canada seems to be the best option. This is because the only people who are allowed to have access to surrogacy services in Georgia are the citizens of the country. However, it is crucial for the couples to do the appropriate research, and if possible, contact the overseas medical agencies that have insight into the surrogacy process in Canada. This is to do it according to the stated regulations and not risk the process being illegal and subject to sanctions or indictment.
It is also crucial for couples to research the cost and state of medical care in Canada and weigh the financial involvement properly before making any decisions. They may also seek the insight of these overseas medical agencies or fertility clinics which may be able to give them an estimate of how much they may be expected to spend on their surrogacy journey.