The Republic of Georgia is one of the few countries located in Europe where surrogacy is legal.
Particularly, the law that regulates this third-party assisted reproduction treatment came into force in 1997.
The cost and the favorable conditions for both residents and non-residents are the main reasons why childless couples from all around the world pursue surrogacy in this country.
Provided below is an index with the 7 points we are going to expand on in this article.
Why choosing Georgia?
Georgia is a country that is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The capital and largest city of the country is Tbilisi, also known as Tiflis. Georgia is a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, amongst other international organizations.
To date, intended parents who pursue surrogacy in Georgia usually come from Israel, Sweden, United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, and Turkey for reasons related to too strict regulations and/or elevated costs.
Even though it may not be a very popular destination country for surrogacy, actually Georgia is a potential destination for intended parents who are considering having a baby via surrogacy abroad, as surrogacy is legal since 1997.
The Georgian law only gives married heterosexual couples the right to have a baby through surrogacy. This excludes the possibility for gay couples and singles to become parents via this method.
According to Article 143 of the legislation of Georgia, in particular the law "On Health", extracorporeal fertilization is allowed:
[...] if a woman has no uterus—for the purpose of relocation and nurture of an embryo, received as a result of fertilization, into another woman’s ("surrogate mother") uterus; the couple’s written consent is required.
Even though, as we have just read, Article 143 makes reference only to women without a uterus as potential candidates to have a baby via surrogate, actually the Georgian government accepts cases of Müllerian duct anomalies or medical inability to carry a child until birth as reasons as to why a couple may need a gestational carrier as well.
Prior to starting the treatment, receiving the couple's written consent is required. Once signed, this written consent will be used to deem the intended parents as the legal parents, with the responsibilities and authorities proceeding from this fact.
It should be noted that the Georgian legislation permits both altruistic and commercial surrogacy arrangements. The compensation and expectations of the parties will be detailed in the surrogacy contract, though.
According to Article 144 of the aforementioned law, egg and sperm donation are also allowed, in case the couple needed any of these options. In fact, the identity of donors can be disclosed to the intended parents. As long as they agree, they can even get to know her in person.
As mentioned above, once the child is born, the IPs will be deemed as parents, having all the legal responsibilities and rights derived from it. The surrogate shall not have any rights to the child, and by no means will be recognized as the legal mother of the child.
The following are other aspects to keep in mind:
- The birth certificate is issued within 24 hours from childbirth.
- The names of the IPs will be put on the child's birth certificate following birth.
- The IPs do not need consent from the surrogate to be registered as the child's legal parents.
These are major advantages in comparison with other surrogacy destinations, as in most of them it is necessary for the surrogate to relinquish her parental rights in order for the commissioning parents to be considered the legal parents of the child. Although further formalities will be required by their home country, this definitely speeds up the process.
Intended parents from the USA
US intended parents should be aware of the requirements of the Department of State regarding Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and surrogacy abroad. In particular, the conditions prescribed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
According to the statutory transmission requirements of INA 301 and 309, it is necessary for at least one US intended parent to be biologically related to the child born abroad via surrogate.
Even if the IPs are considered the legal parents of the child by the government of Georgia, they need to meet certain requirements established by the US Department of State in order for the the child to acquire US citizenship at birth.
So, even though the legislation of Georgia allows the use of donor gametes in surrogacy arrangements, intended parents should keep in mind that at least one of them must have a genetic link to the baby. DNA testing will be required to establish a genetic relationship.
Provided that the intended parents meet this criterion, the next step is to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen (CRBA) and a U.S. passport for the child at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Cost of surrogacy
As it usually happens when we speak about the cost of surrogacy, irrespective of the country where the arrangements is made, is is rather complicated to determine what the total cost of the treatment will be. The truth is, that the individual needs and circumstances of each IPs cause the overall price to vary.
If donor eggs or donor sperm are needed, it is necessary to apply additional techniques such as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), or the IVF transfer cycle is not successful the first time, the overall cost may vary greatly. In any case, the average costs of surrogacy in Georgia range between $40,000 and $80,000.
If you are working with a surrogacy agency, the fee is about $4,500. Other costs such as the medications for the preparation of the surrogate, the attorney fees, food allowance for the surrogate and other expenses incurred during the process, etc. should be considered as well.
Surrogacy, like any medical treatment, requires you to trust the professionalism of the clinic and the agency.
FAQs from users
Can a gestational carrier keep the baby in Georgia?
No, under Georgian law, the surrogate cannot put any claim on the child. The birth certificate is issued with the names of the intended parents on it within 24 hours of delivery.
Who can become a surrogate mother in Georgia?
In general, the requirements for women willing to become surrogates in the Republic of Georgia are: having at least one child of her own, being 35 or younger, and having a medium-high socio‑economic status.
Suggested for you
Surrogacy is one of the different countries where surrogacy is allowed for foreigners. If you find that this option is unsuitable for you, perhaps you want to have a look at the following guide: International Surrogacy – Laws & Options for Surrogacy Abroad.
We have made references to altruistic and commercial surrogacy, two different types of surrogacy which availability varies by country. But there are more kinds of surrogacy. Want to learn more? Click the following link: What Are the Different Types of Surrogacy? – Names & Definition.
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Having read the whole article, I still wonder about the opt-out as in other countries. If the certificate is made out in the name of the biological father, the surrogate mother’s name is also included. But without a renunciation document on her part, since it is not mandatory, how do we go to the consulate afterwards? Waiting for your answer.
Ideally, the child should be registered only in the name of the father, which would facilitate the subsequent adoption procedure, since full adoption of the spouse’s child is possible when the spouse is the only parent on the child’s birth certificate. It should be checked with a legal assistant in the chosen country whether it is possible to register only the biological father on the birth certificate in the context of a surrogacy.
If this is not possible, it will be necessary to check with the agency whether the surrogate mother can provide a document renouncing filiation which could possibly serve as a basis for the future adoption by the intending mother, once she returns to her home country. In fact, from the moment that the intended mother requests and obtains the adoption in full form, the new filiation replaces the original one. I advise you to consult this topic in depth with a lawyer specializing in family law as it is an extremely complex subject.
Hope this helps,
I don’t understand: if both intended parents are listed as the child’s legitimate parents, why does the mother have to apply for adoption?
It is the Georgian state that recognizes the legitimacy of the intended parents. If they decided to stay in Georgia, there would be no problem.
However, the state of the country of origin of the intended parents can refuse to transcribe this birth certificate if there is a suspicion of surrogacy. In some countries the mother is always the one who gives birth, the birth certificate could be considered as a fraud against the law and lose its validity. It is for this reason that, in the current situation, it is better to first establish the biological paternity of the father, and then try to attribute his rights and responsibilities to the mother by adoption.
Hope this answers your question.