Surrogacy is a reproductive method where one woman carries a pregnancy for another and, after the birth of the child, hands it over to its biological parents.
It represents a suitable alternative for couples where assisted reproductive techniques have not led to the desired pregnancy, or pregnancy could be life-threatening or in the case of a homosexual couple.
INDICATIONS FOR SURROGACY
From a medical perspective, conditions in which surrogacy would be appropriate include:
- Absence of a uterus or severe defects of the reproductive system
- Multiple failed IVF attempts
- Severe form of antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus or thrombophilia
- Advanced stage of chronic kidney disease
- Need for life-saving treatment, which is contraindicated during pregnancy – for example chemotherapy.
Depending on the genetic relationship between the surrogate mother and the child, there are 2 types of surrogacy:
- Traditional – in this case, the oocyte that will be fertilized belongs to the surrogate mother and, accordingly, the child will carry her genes.
- Gestational – gametes from future parents or donor eggs/sperm are used. In the second option, the child will be genetically related to only one of the future parents.
In addition, it also can be:
- Altruistic – the surrogate does not receive payment for the service. Only medical costs are covered.
- Commercial – the surrogate receives a commission outside of medical costs.
SURROGACY AROUND THE WORLD
Surrogacy laws vary widely from country to country. Additionally, the conditions for hiring a surrogate are also not the same around the world.
In most European countries such as France, Austria, Germany, Italy, etc. surrogacy is prohibited by law. In some countries, such as Belgium, The United Kingdom and the Netherlands, it is allowed, but only when it is done altruistically, i.e. without additional payment.
Ukraine, Russia and Georgia are among the countries with the most liberal surrogacy laws. Even commercial surrogacy is allowed there and there are numerous agencies that offer it. This is also the reason for the so-called “reproductive tourism” to these countries.
SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD IN BULGARIA
At the moment, surrogacy in Bulgaria is not allowed and is not applied as a possible alternative for couples with reproductive problems. The woman who gave birth to the child is considered its mother. In 2010, an attempt was made for a draft law aimed to legitimize surrogacy in our country. According to that, only altruistic surrogacy would be allowed, and only for married couples. For now, however, this option remains impossible in Bulgaria, and couples wishing to become parents in this way have to travel abroad.