If so, what do you need to know. We have taken the time to understand their local rules and legislation, speak to recommended providers and review this in line with UK rules and regulations. We hope below will give you a guide through your surrogacy journey in Georgia, but do ask you to make sure you seek local advice either through your UK solicitors or direct to ensure that you fully understand the law. This is correct at the time of writing this, but matters may change.
Regardless of where you have your surrogacy arrangement you must comply with UK legislation if you are returning back to the UK. In the UK you need to apply for a parental order, which is the only way to give both intended parents legal parental rights and a UK birth certificate affording you and your child all legal protection you require.. As such, a UK solicitor’s role is to ensure the requirements in your chosen jurisdiction align, and can advise you along the way to ensure a smooth application here in the UK when you return.
So what are the considerations and what should you be asking yourself and the provider in Georgia?
Firstly, please note that in Georgia you cannot have surrogacy if you are a single parent or same-sex couple. Also, the surrogate is not allowed to use their own eggs. As such you will need an egg donor or embryos.
Also, you will need proof that you are in an enduring relationship being that of a marriage certificate or proof that you reside together by providing joint bank accounts or utility bills. These will need to be legalised and attach to an apostille, which can be arranged here in the UK.
There is also a requirement in this jurisdiction for you to show a medical reason for having the arrangement in Georgia. This means that you can show you have either received fertility treatment unsuccessfully in the UK; or medical notes that you’re unable to conceive or there is a health risk for a pregnancy or some other form.
The benefits of this jurisdiction will be that a birth certificate can be obtained in the name of the intended parents and under Georgia law the surrogate will not have any parental rights regarding the child. This makes the process secure and legally binding. However, please note you will still need to apply for a parental order and UK birth certificate when returning and immigration advice will be required in terms of how you leave Georgia as set out below and is subject obviously to eligibility and particular circumstances, as such we do request that you seek bespoke personal advice.
The providers should vet and screen the surrogates and those that we have spoken to confirm they carry out a personal check, they undergo a medical check signed off by a doctor and they are not progressed unless they satisfy these tests. You should make your own requests from the chosen provider as to exactly what checks are carried out to satisfy yourself.
Like many jurisdictions it is very important to understand insurance not only for yourself as intended parents travelling overseas, but should medical treatment be required for your baby. Since the surrogate will not be the legal parent ultimately these costs will fall on yourselves. Enquiries should be made with regards to any available medical insurance available in advance or please understand that whilst this is not mandatory, if neonatal care is required you will be responsible entirely for the medical bills of your child. We understand that, in Georgia these are standard fees which are available upon request.
There will be a legally binding contract between the surrogate and yourself in Georgia which is to be executed in front of a notary giving you security as to the terms. Liaising with the Georgian provider early can mean these terms could include all the requirements tto ensure that everything that takes place will also assist and comply with the UK requirements.
In the UK nothing more than reasonable expenses can be contributed towards a surrogacy arrangement. In other jurisdictions a commercial arrangement is possible and whilst this will not prevent you getting a parental order it may mean additional costs and delays possibly a second court hearing. As such, we recommend that you speak with your UK solicitor and they speak with the local provider before you embark on the journey to ensure that receipts and a spreadsheet is maintained in order to facilitate a smooth journey when you return to the UK and ultimately you understand the position.
Intended Parents can only apply for a British passport post-birth and will need to wait for this before they can bring their baby home. As such arrangements for a lengthy stay need to be considered as this could be up to 10 weeks. Alternatively you can apply for a Visa but this likewise is around 12 weeks. This is however similar to other jurisdictions.
All advice relating to immigration is specific to the situation of the Intended Parents. For Intended Parent fathers with a genetic connection applying for a British passport in this scenario is certainly easier where the surrogate mother is unmarried. If the surrogate mother is unmarried and a DNA link is shown with the father, the child may be able to obtain a British passport, where the biological father is a British citizen otherwise than by descent.
If the surrogate mother is married, the parents can either make an application for a parental order, but that will not be early enough before they will want to travel. If the surrogate parents give up their parental rights and a DNA link is proven with the father, the parents may make an entry clearance application for indefinite leave to enter within the Rules or leave to remain outside the Rules on a discretionary basis.
Whether the parents apply for a British passport or a visa, the process usually consists of submitting an application form, supporting documents and paying the relevant fees. Decision-making timelines also differ depending on the route taken. Assuming the applications are straight-forward and no further documents are required, British passport applications can take anywhere up-to 10 weeks, whilst visa applications take up-to 12 weeks after the application is validated. All decisions for these types of visas are made in the UK either by UK Visas & Immigration or HM Passport Offices. During covid you could apply for an emergency travel document, meaning only 8 weeks until you could return home. How long this will be open for we do not yet know.