Medically Assisted Reproduction in Cyprus – Part 2: Surrogacy – Family and Matrimonial

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Cyprus: Medically Assisted Reproduction in Cyprus – Part 2: Surrogacy

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Surrogacy can be defined as the legal arrangement whereby a woman agrees to bear and give birth to a baby for a couple, with the intention of giving the baby to the couple when she is born. Often times, the couple’s egg and sperm will be removed and used to create an embryo, which will then be implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. In Cyprus, the Medically Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2015 (the “Act”) recognizes surrogacy as a valid method of medically assisted reproduction, providing couples with fertility issues an invaluable way to become parents. This article aims to explain the procedure for creating a legally valid surrogacy agreement, as well as the general principles and restrictions that the law imposes on the marketing of surrogacy.

Creation of a surrogacy contract

There are three steps that must be followed before a surrogacy agreement can be considered valid. As a first step, the couple intending to have a child by surrogacy must apply to the Medically Assisted Reproduction Council (the “Council”), in order to obtain their written approval. According to Article 23, the Council will give its written approval once it is satisfied that:

  • there is sufficient evidence that the woman who wishes to have a child is medically incapable of conceiving;
  • the potential surrogate mother is fit to bear the child, taking into account her general state of health;
  • the eggs implanted in the surrogate mother will come from the woman wishing to have a child, or from a third donor;
  • all parties involved have signed a written declaration stating that they accept the procedure and that there is no financial motivation behind this agreement;
  • the woman wishing to have a child and the surrogate mother must be permanent residents in Cyprus (there are some exceptions in limited circumstances);
  • the couple wishing to have a child as well as the surrogate mother must have undergone psychological and medical examinations.

Once the Council has given its written approval, the second step is to apply to the court for the issuance of a surrogacy order. Subject to section 24 of the law, the court will issue this decree when it is satisfied that the couple has obtained the approval of the Council, as stated above. The Court can set conditions, or give specific instructions regarding the decree, to ensure that the desired objective is achieved.

The last step is the creation of a written agreement between the couple and the surrogate mother, as stated in article 25 of the law. The agreement must indicate, at a minimum, the following:

  • the surrogate mother must not be the parent of the child;
  • once the child is born, the surrogate mother will give the child to the couple;
  • the couple signing the agreement will be the parents of the child from its creation and its implantation in the uterus of the surrogate mother;
  • before the implantation of the embryo, a guarantee must be issued for eleven months, covering the costs of pregnancy, childbirth and maternity, as well as any complications;
  • the surrogate mother will remain in Cyprus from the 28th week of pregnancy until the birth of the child.

Once the written approval of the Council has been given, the surrogacy decree has been issued by the court, and the couple and surrogate have signed a written agreement, it is considered that they have entered into an agreement. valid surrogacy.

General principles regarding surrogacy

Article 22 contains general principles regarding surrogacy that parties should consider before creating a surrogacy agreement. First of all, it is specified that the surrogate mother will not be the legal parent of the child. Instead, the couple will be the legal parents of the child, having all the rights and obligations that parenthood entails. The couple must be ready to receive the child once it is born, and it is not an option to refuse to take the child for any reason. Failure to take the child born to a surrogate mother or abandon the child is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.

In addition, the law clearly states that the surrogate mother cannot charge a fee for agreeing to bear the child. However, the couple can pay the surrogate mother to cover her expenses related to pregnancy, childbirth and any complications that may arise. Additional compensation may be granted if the surrogate suffers harm that makes her unable to work during the implantation process, throughout pregnancy or after childbirth.

Restriction on the marketing of surrogacy

Subject to section 26, the creation of a surrogacy agreement for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. This means that a party to a surrogacy agreement cannot initiate or participate in commercial negotiations regarding the agreement, nor make financial offers to enter into such an agreement. Failure to comply with the above is considered a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to € 50,000, or both.

A woman is also prohibited from announcing that she is ready to offer her services as a surrogate, in accordance with section 27. Anyone who announces (through print or online platforms) that she is is willing to negotiate, or wishes to enter into a surrogacy agreement with a couple, commits a criminal offense. Criminal liability will also be incurred by the publisher of such advertising.

In conclusion, surrogacy is considered to be a crucial method of medically assisted reproduction that allows a couple to avoid the long adoption process and have a child who is biologically related to it, despite the difficulties in conceiving or having a baby. maintain a healthy pregnancy. The law prioritizes the best interests of the unborn child, but safeguards also exist to ensure that both parties to a surrogacy agreement are well informed of their rights and obligations, and that each party is treated. fairly.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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