Are you contemplating surrogacy in Georgia, as a UK intended parent? If so, what do you need to know? We have taken the time to understand Georgian local rules and legislation, speak to recommended providers and review this in line with UK rules and regulations.
Below, we have brought together all the information you need to guide you through your surrogacy journey in Georgia, but do ask you to make sure you seek local advice either through your UK solicitors or directly to ensure that you fully understand the law. Please note, this is correct at the time of writing this, but matters may change.
- Surrogacy Laws in Georgia
- Why Decide on Surrogacy in Georgia
- Due Diligence Checks You Should Be Aware Of
- Georgia Surrogacy Contracts: Understanding Your Rights
- Returning to the UK
Regardless of where you have your surrogacy arrangement, you must comply with UK legislation if you are returning 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.
Surrogacy Laws in Georgia
So what are the considerations and what should you be asking yourself and the provider in Georgia?
Who Can Have Surrogacy 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.
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 pregnancy or some other form.
Do you have to be married for surrogacy in Georgia?
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 attached to an apostille, which can be arranged here in the UK.
Why Decide on Surrogacy in Georgia
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 will make 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 suggest that you seek bespoke personal advice.
Due Diligence Checks You Should Be Aware Of
The providers should vet and screen the surrogates and those that we have spoken to to confirm they carry out a personal check. This is to ensure that they undergo a medical check signed off by a doctor and that they are not progressed unless they satisfy these tests. You can make your own requests through the chosen provider as to 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 you.
Inquiries 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 that are available upon request.
Georgia Surrogacy Contracts: Understanding Your Rights
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 of your surrogacy. Liaising with the Georgian provider early can mean these terms could include all the requirements to 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 from getting a parental order it may mean additional costs and delays possibly a second court hearing.
We recommend that you speak with your UK solicitor and they speak with the local provider before you embark on the journey. This is to ensure that receipts and a spreadsheet are maintained to facilitate a smooth journey when you return to the UK and to also make sure you ultimately understand the position.
To speak with us about contacting a local provider, get in touch at 0207 426 0382 / email@example.com
Returning to the UK
Intended Parents can only apply for a British passport post-birth and 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 and not limited to surrogacy in Georgia.
All advice relating to immigration is specific to the situation of the Intended Parents. For Intended Parents, fathers with a genetic connection applying for a British passport is certainly easier if the surrogate mother is unmarried. For example, if the surrogate mother is unmarried and a DNA link is shown with the intended father. In this circumstance, the child may be able to obtain a British passport where the biological father can pass their citizenship onto a child born overseas.
If the surrogate mother is married, the parents can either make an application for a parental order, but this would not arrive 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 the UK on a discretionary basis.
Applying for a British Passport or Visa
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 straightforward 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.