Through our ongoing contact with surrogacy lawyers throughout the world, we have recently received an informative letter on potential legislative changes regarding Surrogacy law in Georgia.
We are very grateful to Georgian lawyer, Nino Bogveradze who kindly prepared this letter for us outlining details of these proposed legislative amendments.
We would strongly advise any Irish intended parents who are currently considering pursuing surrogacy in Georgia to:
- Read the letter below carefully first; and
- Follow the three recommendations outlined by Ms. Bogveradze.
As soon as we receive any further updates from Ms. Bogveradze we will let you know.
Partner & Head of Surrogacy
Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan Solicitors
Brief Informative Letter on the Expective Legislative Amendments on Surrogacy in Georgia
20 December 2023
Under the Association Agreement with the European Union, Georgia took the obligation to implement the following EU Directives in the Georgian legislation:
DIRECTIVE 2004/23/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 31 March 2004 on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells
COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2006/17/EC of 8 February 2006 implementing Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards certain technical requirements for the donation, procurement and testing of human tissues and cells
COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2006/86/EC of 24 October 2006 implementing Directive
2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards traceability
requirements, notification of serious adverse reactions and events and certain technical requirements for the coding, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells
(Hereinafter the “EU Directives”).
EU Directives do not refer specifically to surrogacy. Their main purpose is the implementation of regulations for setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells.
In consideration of the above obligation assumed by the Georgian government under the Association Agreement, the Ministry of Health of Georgia has worked on the bill of Medically Assisted Reproduction (hereinafter the “MAR Bill”) for several years. In Spring 2023, the work has become intensive and the Ministry of Health prepared a draft bill on Medically Assisted Reproduction. It is significant to mention
that IVF clinics were actively involved in the preparation process. The MAR Bill referred to surrogacy and donation as well prohibiting commercialization, however allowing the compensation for inconvenience for donors and surrogates apart from the compensation for lost income and expenses.
THERE WAS NO RESTRICTION IN TERMS OF THE NATIONALITY OF INTENDED PARENTS; THUS, SURROGACY AND DONATION WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR FOREIGN INTENDED PARENTS AS WELL.
Even during continues meetings and discussions with the Ministry, there was no intention raised or expressed by the government in terms of restricting surrogacy for non-Georgian nationals. The MAR Bill would be reviewed by the Parliament of Georgia in Autumn session 2023 and would have become effective from JANUARY 01, 2025 if enacted by the Parliament.
On June 12, 2023 Georgian Prime Minister and afterwards the Minister of Health of Georgia made public verbal announcement that from January 01, 2024 the government intends to restrict in vitro fertilization and surrogacy services for non-Georgian intended parents.
After the foregoing announcement, the MAR Bill was amended making the bill applicable only to the Georgian citizens thus allowing all the MAR medical services including IVF, surrogacy and donation only to the Georgian citizens and banning these procedures for non-Georgians (hereinafter the “Restriction”). In addition, the MAR Bill amended the effective date of the law – the law would have become effective from JANUARY 01, 2024 instead of JANUARY 01, 2025.
BRIEFLY ABOUT THE PROCEDURE TO ADOPT THE LAW:
The bill has to be reviewed by various Committees including the main Committee – the Health Committee. After completion of Committee hearings, the bill has to be reviewed and adopted on three Parliament Plenary hearings (together with in total of 3 Main Committee hearings). If the bill is adopted by the Parliament, it shall be passed to the President of Georgia for a signature. The President has a right to veto the bill and return it to the Parliament with reasoning. The Parliament might reject the President’s reasonings and adopt the law only with the majority votes of the Parliament Members.
The MAR Bill containing the foregoing amendments was registered in the Parliament on June 14, 2023. In September 2023 the Parliament Bureau issued the act on commencing the procedure to adopt the law determining the approximate dates as follows: The approximate dates to review the bill by the Health Committee: September 27, 2023 - November 07, 2023; other Committees: September 13, 2023 - October 24, 2023; Approximate date for the bill to be reviewed by the Parliament Plenary hearing: September 19, 2023 – November 17, 2023.
In October 2023 the Parliament Bureau issued the new act amending the approximate dates of review as follows: The approximate dates to review the bill by the Health Committee: November 08, 2023 - February 08, 2024; other Committees: October 25, 2023 – December 06, 2023; Approximate date for
the bill to be reviewed by the Parliament Plenary hearing: October 31, 2023 – February 09, 2024.
At this point no new act has been officially issued by the Parliament Bureau on amending the approximate dates of bill review.
The MAR Bill passed several Parliament Committee hearings and raised the debates over various points, especially over Restriction. In November 2023, the MAR Bill was intended to be reviewed by the main Committee – the Health Committee but the hearing was not held. According to the UNOFFICIAL
INFORMATION, the MAR Bill caused serious debates and it was decided to postpone the adoption of the bill for the indefinite period.
The foregoing information clearly shows that the Parliament is reluctant to adopt the MAR Bill. It is clear the MAR Bill will not be effective from January 01, 2024 and if the procedure of the law enactment continues, the effective date of the law has to be amended. Besides, the law has to pass three Health Committee and Parliament Plenum hearings.
The Parliament has 2 sessions during the year: Autumn and Spring Sessions. Spring Sessions (comprising of Committee hearing and Plenum hearings) commence on the first Tuesday of February and close on the final Friday of June; Autumn sessions commence on the first Tuesday of September and close on the third Friday of December.
Therefore, if the Parliament decides to continue the enactment of the MAR Bill in spring session of 2024, the process might commence only from February 6, 2024 necessarily passing the three Health Committee and Plenum Committee hearings which takes time and presumably would not become effective until March 2024.
However, even if the Parliament enacts the law in Spring sessions 2024, there is a possibility that the law would not be effective immediately if the Parliament determines different future effective date. Besides, there is a possibility that the MAR law would not fully ban MAR services for non-Georgian citizens.
IN CONSIDERATION OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION:
- It is clear that the MAR Bill will not become effective from January 01, 2024 and the effective date in the Bill should be amended;
- It is clear that the MAR Bill caused the debates in Parliament thus causing the suspension of the law enactment process;
- Unofficially, however, based on truthful sources, it was decided to postpone the adoption of the bill for the indefinite period; however, we do not have the information on exactly what this “indefinite period” means
- There is no official information whether the Parliament continues the enactment of the MAR Bill in Spring Sessions; however, if the process continues, it may start only from February 06, 2024 and might take several weeks to be completed;
- Even if the Parliament enacts the law in Spring sessions 2024, there is a possibility that the law would not be effective immediately if the Parliament determines different future effective date, e.g., January 01, 2025;
- Even if the Parliament enacts the law, there is a possibility that the MAR law would not fully ban MAR services for non-Georgian citizens;
- In any case, if the MAR Bill becomes a law, it cannot have a retrospective effect and it will be applicable only to the MAR procedures after the effective date.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTENDED PARENTS:
- Prior starting the surrogacy/donation program in Georgia, it is recommended to contact your local solicitor and Georgian lawyer as well to receive the updates about the legislative changes and not to rely only on the information provided by the clinics and agencies;
- Make sure that you will have all the paperwork done in compliance with the laws of Georgia in order to avoid the lengthy and complicated court process: if the documents filed to the birth registration authority are in compliance with the law, you will be listed as parents in the child’s birth certificate; otherwise, you will need to apply to the Georgian court.
- It is recommended for the surrogate mother to be the Georgian citizen living in Georgia. You may encounter serious problems if you choose a travelling surrogate mother and the latter gives birth in a country other than Georgia.
We will have more information in February 2024 and as soon as the information is available, I will provide the relevant updates.
Partner, Attorney at Law
Kordzadze Law Office LP
December 20, 2023