The Surrogacy Laws In Georgia

While it’s normal for couples to decide the next phase of their life together should be starting a family, not every couple can easily take the conventional route of a woman allowing herself to become pregnant and giving birth to a baby several months later. Some issues, such as medical circumstances, make this choice challenging or even so risky it places a mother and child’s life in peril.

This is where surrogacy can provide a great alternative to couples. Here, another woman who’s already been evaluated as medically suitable agrees to become pregnant on behalf of the hopeful parents. Once she’s given birth, that baby is then united with the new parents, and life as a family can begin.

However, in recent years, many couples choosing to go with surrogacy have done so by traveling to another country and engaging in surrogacy services abroad. There are often several reasons for this, such as wanting access to world-class medical facilities without paying the top dollar prices of a country like the USA or wishing to take advantage of compensated surrogacies that aren’t offered in the country of residence.

Because of this, one of the more popular countries as a surrogacy destination is Georgia, in Eastern Europe. But before couples consider visiting, it’s important to get an understanding of Georgia surrogacy laws and how they might affect a couple.

Constitutional Protection

One thing couples should know about Georgia surrogacy laws is that, unlike many countries, the Georgian government has officially integrated surrogacy considerations into its national constitution. In other words, the highest level of law in the country acknowledges that surrogacy happens and has created a series of laws in order to regulate and protect it. This legal structure, unsurprisingly, applies to all citizens of the country. However, it also extends to visitors from other countries.

On an official and administrative level, this means that surrogacy contracts in Georgia must adhere to the national requirements and, if they do so, are legally acknowledged and enforced. So, for example, once a surrogacy contract has been drawn up and entered into the legal system, this now means that the moment a baby is born, custody of that child is automatically remanded to the hopeful parents. This means a surrogate mother can’t change her mind about a child’s parentage, but it also means the hopeful parents can’t decide to back out suddenly once the wheels have been set in motion.

Compensated Surrogacies Permitted

Another important aspect of Georgia surrogacy laws is that the country permits compensated surrogacies, which is one reason why the country is an attractive destination to couples from abroad. Compensated surrogacies are those surrogate pregnancies where the surrogate mother is legally permitted to receive a substantial amount of financial recognition for personal profit. 

Because of this, there are many more medically suitable women willing to undertake the role of a surrogate mother. For couples who live in countries where only “altruistic surrogacies” are permitted and women can only volunteer themselves, that financial limit often greatly restricts and reduces the number of women willing to be surrogate mothers.

Surrogacy Restrictions

Another thing that is important to know about Georgia surrogacy laws is that surrogacy services here have limits over who they are allowed to serve legally. Georgia is a more conservative country in some respects, despite the fact that they embrace surrogacy.

As a result, Georgia surrogacy laws mean that surrogacy services can only attend to the needs of a traditional heterosexual couple. Same-sex couples cannot receive assistance from surrogacy services in Georgia, and the same is true for single parents. So, while Georgia surrogacy laws have no restrictions on the countries or ethnicity of the couples they serve, only heterosexual couples fall under this purview.

No Citizenship

A final, very important legal consideration for couples that want to work surrogacy services in Georgia is the matter of citizenship. Some countries, such as the United States, automatically award citizenship to any baby that is born in the country. However, this is not the case in Georgia, meaning that the legal default status of a newborn from visiting parents is “stateless” because that child is not granted Georgian citizenship.

This means that depending on the country of residence a couple will be returning to, the couple must be aware and able to take the steps necessary to ensure a newborn’s citizenship is secured for the return home. Failure to do this means a baby who was a non-citizen in Georgia is now arriving in another country while also not being a citizen, with no official documentation outlying their legal status, and may not be permitted to enter the country.

One of the best ways to avoid this in Georgia is to find a surrogacy service that is familiar with working with foreign couples and has experience in legal citizenship issues to prepare for this eventuality. With an experienced, proactive surrogacy agency, this can be addressed well in advance to ensure a smooth return home.