Surrogate motherhood is a fertility treatment that is explicitly permitted in Russia, but only for straight couples and single women who lack the capacity of carrying a child until birth. Also, the law allows intended parents (hereinafter, IPs) to use either their own gametes or donor gametes should they need it, as long as the basic requirements for the use of donated eggs and sperm are met.
US prospective parents choose Russia as their destination country due to the affordable cost of surrogacy arrangements. The Russia law is considered a permissive one for many foreign intended parents who can't have a child via surrogate in their country.
The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.
Russian Law on surrogacy
Surrogacy is legal in Russia in accordance withe the provisions of the Federal law On Basics of Health Protection of Citizens of the Russian Federation, published in January 2012.
The law grants couples, included foreign citizens and unmarried couples, the right to participate in gestational surrogacy arrangements in the country, provided that they meet the following requirement:
- It is only allowed to heterosexual couples and single females. Same-sex couples, however, are not stipulated as potential intended parents.
- Only gestational surrogacy arrangements are permitted. A gestational surrogate doesn't use her eggs to get pregnant, but the eggs of the intended mother or donor eggs.
- It is required that the intended mother has a medical cause that prevents her from getting pregnant or bearing a full-term pregnancy. Common causes include not having a uterus, uterine anomalies, risk of somatic symptom disorders, repeated IVF failure, etc.
- Single women must use their own egg cells for the creation of the embryo that will be placed into the gestational surrogate's womb.
Requirements to be a surrogate
Section number 10 of Article 55 of the Federal Law Health protection normative of the Russian Federation establishes a series of requirements for surrogates. It also establishes the indications and contraindications of the surrogacy process and determines the screening process that both intended parents and surrogates have to go through.
All women who are willing to become surrogates can do so as long as they meet the following criteria: being aged between 20 and 35 years, having at least one child of their own, and being physically and mentally healthy.
In case she is legally married, she will need the permission of her civil partner in order to be accepted in the surrogacy program.
Finally, it should be noted that only gestational surrogacy arrangements are allowed, that is to say, arrangements in which the surrogate is not the same person as the egg donor.
Being registered as the child's parents
As for the formalities required in order to be registered as the child's legal parents, the steps to follow are summarized in the following articles:
- Article 51
- The surrogate has to provide written consent in order for the names of the intended parents to be included on the child's birth certificate.
Couples, who have given their written consent for the implantation of an embryo to another woman for the purpose of carrying it to term, can be registered as parents of the child only with the consent of the woman who gave birth to that child (the surrogate mother).
- Article 52
- Once the names of the IPs are included on the birth certificate, they are officially the child's legal parents. The surrogate has no right to claim for maternity rights, and they cannot relinquish their rights as legal parents.
Neither the spouses, who have given their consent for the implantation of an embryo to another woman, nor the surrogate mother [...] have the right to invoke these circumstances when contesting the parentage after the parents have been entered into the register of births.
Also, for the registration process to be effective, a document issued by a medical organization in confirmation of the consent obtained from the woman is necessary. This requirement can be found in page 16 of the law On Civil Status Acts:
During the official registration of the birth of a child on application of the spouses, who had given their consent for the implantation of an embryo to another woman for the purpose of carrying it to term, a document, issued by a medical organization in confirmation of the consent obtained from the woman, who gave birth to that child (the surrogate mother), for registering said spouses as the child's parents must be presented concurrently with the document confirming the birth of the child.
With these documents, i.e. the birth certificate and the written consent of the surrogate, the intended parents can proceed to register the child born through surrogacy in the Civil Registry Office. However, the process does not end here: the US Government establishes a series of requirements in order for the child to acquire US Citizenship at birth.
Acquisition of US citizenship at birth
US intended parents who are considering going abroad to have a child through surrogacy or any other Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) should consider the guidelines provided by the US Department of State.
Statutory transmission requirements
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the law that regulates whether a child born abroad may acquire US citizenship at birth or not. For that to be possible, the parent or parents must meet a series of conditions prescribed in the INA 301 and 309.
According to the INA, a child born abroad has to be biologically related to a US citizen who meets a series of statutory transmission requirements. To sum up:
- US citizen father
- Must be the genetic father and meet other transmission requirements, such as having had certain periods of residence in the USA prior to the birth of the baby.
- US citizen mother is the genetic parent
- Must be the genetic mother and/or the gestational and legal mother of the child at the time and place of childbirth.
The US Department of State requires DNA testing to establish a genetic or blood relationship. If the child doesn't have a genetic link to a US citizen parent, s/he won't acquire US citizenship at birth.
It should be noted that the Department of State can only determine the citizenship status of a child born abroad to US parents after the child is born and not previously.
CRBA and US passport
Provided that these requirements are met, intended parents have to apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen (CRBA) as well as for a US passport for the child.
This formality can be completed at the US Embassy or Consulate in Moscow, which will require parents to provide medical and documentary evidente of the child's conception, birth and biological connection, along with evidence of their identity.
A CRBA is not a parentage document, but only a citizenship document. It is required to certify that a child born abroad is a US citizen. However, it doesn't determine the identity of the child's legal parents. Thus, the names listed on it are the US citizen parent or parents with a biological connection.
If one of the IPs doesn't have a genetic link to the child, he or she may be listed on the CRBA if a legal parental relationship can be demonstrated under local law.
Surrogacy and egg donation
Although it is the preferred option, unfortunately in some cases the intended mother cannot use her own oocytes for IVF. In these cases, using donor eggs is permitted in Russia. However, in order to meet the statutory transmission requirements of the US Department of State, it is only possible if the male partner can use his own sperm.
In the case of single women, they have no alternative but to provide their own eggs in order to have a baby via surrogacy in Russia.
According to the Russian law, two egg donor profiles are legal in the country:
- Anonymous donors
- The identity of the egg donor is not disclosed to the intended parent, and not vice versa. It is permitted, however, that some physical features are revealed. Seeing a picture of the donor as a baby is possible as well. This is the most common profile across Russia.
- Known donors
- It is possible as long as the intended parents and the donor already knew each other. It is the case of family members or close friends.
It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of Russian fertility clinics offer anonymous egg donation programs exclusively.
Requirements to be an egg donor
An egg donor is a young, healthy woman that meets the following requirements:
- Age between 20 and 35 years
- She has one child of her own: this proves that she's fertile
- Healthy lifestyle: to prove this, she is medically and genetically screened
The are many surrogacy agencies that have a pool of egg donors as well in order to match the most compatible one with a recipient. When using an anonymous donors, your egg donor coordinator will select a woman who shares physical features with the intended mother.
Cost of surrogacy in Russia
Surrogacy is a challenging infertility treatment and, as such, we should always expect unforeseen events to occur. In any case, the average cost of a surrogacy arrangements in Russia ranges between $35,000 and $55,000.
For this reason, asking the clinic and/or agency you are working with for their fees in case certain procedures are necessary is crucial. Examples of unexpected situations include: pregnancy is not achieved on the first IVF attempt, multiple pregnancy, C-section, preterm birth...
If we keep this in mind from the very beginning, we will be prepared for any mishap, incidental or any other unexpected event that may take place throughout our surrogacy journey.
For most would-be parents, surrogacy is the most confusing of all fertility treatments. Transparency is a core value for us when it comes to recommending a clinic or agency for them. You can now use this tool to receive a detailed report that will solve any question you may have, and most importantly, to help you avoid potential frauds.
Recommended for you: Surrogacy Cost Breakdown – Agency & Gestational Carrier Fees.
FAQs from users
Is commercial surrogacy allowed in Russia?
Yes, surrogates can receive a financial compensation for their effort in addition to a reimbursement of the expenses incurred during the pregnancy.
You might also like: What Are the Different Types of Surrogacy?
Is surrogacy in Russia possible for a single man?
No, it isn't. As in the case of gay couples, the law doesn't stipulate that single men can take part in surrogacy programs. As explained above, it only grants couples and single women the right to participate in surrogacy arrangements.
If you're a single man considering surrogacy abroad, you may like: International Surrogacy – Laws & Options for Surrogacy Abroad.
Suggested for you
Russia is a very popular option for those who consider surrogacy abroad, but keeping in mind the set of legal requirements established under Russian law is essential. If, after reading this post, you find that Russia is not suitable for you, you may want to check this out: Best Countries for Surrogacy Overseas.
Or perhaps you are curious about the regulations governing surrogacy worldwide, whether it is forbidden or permitted to foreign citizens, and may enjoy this: Surrogacy Laws by Country – Where Is It Legal?
Finally, Ukraine is another popular destination country for US parents considering surrogacy overseas. Get more info by clicking the following link: How Does Surrogacy Work in Ukraine? – Cost & Legal Aspects.
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Ovodonante.com, 2015. Egg donation in Russia, Andrea Rodrigo, https://ovodonante.com/donacion-de-ovulos-en-rusia/