Georgia’s Surrogacy Laws: What Canadians Need to Know
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Georgia’s Surrogacy Laws: What Canadians Need to Know

Surrogacy is the process where a woman gets pregnant and carries a baby to term for an individual or couple, giving birth to and transferring parental rights to them. The woman that carries the pregnancy is referred to as the surrogate, while the couple or individual is referred to as the intended parents or parent, respectively. There are two types of widely recognized forms of surrogacy, they are:

  • Gestational surrogacy – This is the most common, widely practiced, and most acceptable form of surrogacy. In this type of surrogacy, the baby is not genetically or biologically related to the surrogate mother. The embryo is created using either the gametes (egg and sperm) of the intended parents or those from donors, after which the embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate. The surrogate then carries the baby to term, delivers and hands it over to the intended parents.
  • Traditional surrogacy – Traditional surrogacy uses the eggs of the surrogate and the sperm of the intended parent or a donor. The fertilization is done via artificial insemination and is more straightforward than the process in gestational surrogacy. The surrogate then carries the baby to term, delivers and hands it over to the intended parents. In this type of surrogacy, the baby has a biological or genetic relationship with the surrogate. This can prove problematic in the case that the surrogate changes her mind after the delivery of the infant. This is the reason that this form of surrogacy is not widely practiced.
Georgia’s Surrogacy Laws: What Canadians Need to Know
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Reasons for Surrogacy 

Surrogacy helps parents overcome the challenges of infertility and achieve their aims of growing their families. There are a lot of reasons why intended parents may seek surrogacy, some of the reasons include:

  • No success with procedures like IVF
  • Previous surgeries like hysterectomies
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Maternal age
  • Medical issues that affect the uterus
  • Medical conditions that prevent pregnancy or make them high-risk
  • Same-sex couples that seek to increase their family
Georgia’s Surrogacy Laws- reasons for surrogacy
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Surrogacy in Georgia

Georgia has been a legal destination for international surrogacy. Surrogacy was legalized in 1992 along with the donation of eggs and sperm. This can be classified as a medical tourism attraction or overseas medical treatment hub. It was usually advertised by medical travel agencies or meditour agencies. The only type of surrogacy allowed in Georgia is gestational surrogacy which is only available to straight-married couples. The country also enforces laws that prevent the surrogate from making claims about the baby in the instance that she changes her mind after delivery. Some of the other laws that govern surrogacy in Georgia include:

  • While gestational surrogacy is the most widely practiced in the country, there is provision for both traditional and gestational surrogacy. Each type of surrogacy will have specific contracts that govern it to ensure that the parties involved will stick to the original terms of the agreement and get the desired outcome.
  • Gamete (egg and sperm) donation is legal; they are readily available to couples that need it. The identity of the donor can also be disclosed if the intended parents so desire. There can even be instances where there is a face-to-face meeting. The intended parents will have full custody of the infant on birth, immediately becoming the legally recognized parents. They will have all the rights and responsibilities that the position entails. The surrogate will have no rights over the infant, will not be recognized as the mother, and will have no responsibilities to the infant
  • The birth certificate is issued within the first 24 hours of delivery of the infant, with the names of the intended parents being the names on the certificate.
  • The surrogate has no contribution to the issuing of the birth certificate. She also has no required consent in the naming of the intended parents as the legal parents.

These laws are all aimed at making the surrogacy process seamless and attractive in the country. It enables couples to have a successful surrogacy in Georgia and achieve their aim of growing their family.

What are the recent changes to the surrogacy laws in Georgia?

In recent times, Georgian authorities have come out to propose a ban on the booming industry of international surrogacy in Georgia. This decision is set to bring an end to a major part of the industry, limiting surrogacy access to only the citizens of Georgia. Also, this decision has the ability of severely reducing health tourism in Georgia. This decision was announced by Georgian Prime Minister Iraki Garibashvi on the 12th of June, 2023, citing the following as the major reasons for the ban:

  • The increased risk of the industry promoting child trafficking
  • The concerns about the safety of both the surrogate mothers and the infants
  • Concerns that the infants would end up with same-sex couples, which is prohibited by Georgian law

In a separate briefing, the Georgian health minister, Zurab Azarashvli, chose to focus on the bad and unethical practices that had arisen because of the laxity of the surrogacy regulation in Georgia. Stating that some of the ills that have arisen include:

  • Organ trafficking
  • Child selling
  • The inability to properly track and verify the locations and destinations of the infants

The minister stated that by the year 2024, international medical tourists will not only be banned from accessing surrogacy services in Georgia but they will also be prohibited from accessing assisted reproductive technology techniques like in vitro fertilization. He also stated that the relevant bills that will back these prohibitions will be sent to the country’s parliament for passing into law shortly. Georgia had previously considered ending the commercial surrogacy industry and introduced the first series of restrictions in 2020. One of these restrictions was the exclusion of same-sex couples from the service and the clause that the heterosexual couples seeking surrogacy would have to be legally married or have lived together for at least a year. However, the above-listed concerns were the final straw and the major reason why the country is taking steps to completely restrict foreigners from accessing surrogacy services in Georgia.

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