Russia Drafting Law To Prohibit Foreigners from Russian Surrogacy
Under the current law, commercial, gestational surrogacy is legal for married and unmarried heterosexual couples and single women, Russian citizens, residents and foreigners alike.
While the cost of surrogate is affordable and comparable in Ukraine and Russia, single sex male couples are unable to participate in surrogacy in Ukraine. Hence, they have been going to Russia.
While single men are not explicitly mentioned in the law, successful law cases in favour of paternity for single fathers through surrogacy and egg donation, have also helped create a precedent establishing the practice of offering surrogacy to single men and same-sex couples.
The fact that the legality of surrogacy in Russia is not explicitly mentioned should be cause for concern, especially in the current environment and with such laws restricting foreigners from participating in surrogacy being drafted.
In Russia, intended parents seeking surrogacy need to have been married for at least one year, be at least 25 years old but not older than 55 years, and h a valid medical reason for the use of surrogacy.
Ukrainian Surrogacy, unlike in Russia, has a stable legal and regulatory system on the federal level. This protects intended parents, their future children and surrogates.
The climate around surrogacy in Russia has been changing. This 2020, after a surrogacy-born child died in January 2020 of sudden infant death syndrome under the care of a nurse when its foreign national parents could not enter Russia due to the COVID-19 related travel ban has been prompted in part by the arrests of fertility doctors charged with child trafficking in Moscow in July (see BioNews 1058).
Russian surrogacy agencies are acting with great caution. They have stopped working with non-traditional parents and single fathers. Some agencies have decided not to start any programs until the decision is made on the bill.
The push for this law was explained as a direct response to the stranded children born via surrogacy during the Covid lockdown. However, most believe that the use of surrogacy by single men and women does not fully comply with the principles of motherhood, childhood and family in Russia.
There have been previous attempts to ban and limit surrogacy in Russia. The possibility exists that Russian will take a similar route as India, which at first banned same-sex couples from accessing surrogacy in 2013, and followed this with a ban of commercial surrogacy for all foreigners, restricting access to altruistic surrogacy to heterosexual, married, Indian couples only.
With the fate of legalities in Russian regarding international surrogacy unknown, foreigners should be extremely cautious about starting the surrogacy process in Russia.
Ukraine has always been a stable legal environment for international surrogacy. Any traditional married couple with a medical indication can participate in a program with no length of marriage required.