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Surrogacy describes the process by which a woman carries and gives birth to a child conceived by the transfer of an embryo created by in vitro fertilization using genetic material that is not her own, but belongs to a couple unable to conceive a child naturally. The couple wishing to have the child by this method is considered the parents of the unborn child and as such has all the rights and legal obligations that this status implies. A surrogate mother, also called a surrogate mother, has no parental or other legal rights over the child.
The legal regime governing the surrogacy process in Cyprus is the Medically Assisted Human Reproduction Enforcement Act 2015 (L.69(I)/2015) as amended by Acts L.194(I)/2015, L.92(I)/2016 and L.113(I)/2018, hereinafter collectively referred to as the Law (“the law”) and an overview of its main provisions follows below.
The surrogacy process is available to couples who are married or in a stable and permanent relationship (“the requesting couple”). In order to qualify as applicants, a couple must show that they are interested in surrogacy, either because they are medically unable to conceive or because of a decision to prevent the transmission of a serious illness to the child.
Surrogacy involves a three-step procedure, which begins with an application to the Board for Medically Assisted Procreation (“the board”). The Board will issue its written approval subject to certain conditions being met. Important requirements, among others, are:
- provision of sufficient evidence that the applicant is medically unable to conceive;
- proof that the surrogate mother, taking into account her general state of health, is fit to carry a child;
- provision of a report from a licensed psychiatrist assessing the condition of the surrogate mother and the requesting couple;
- provision of a signed declaration attesting that all the persons concerned agree to undergo the method of surrogacy and that no financial consideration has been paid by the requesting couple to the surrogate mother;
- provision of a certificate indicating that the surrogate mother and the applicant couple have not been convicted of offenses against the law on the prevention and punishment of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; and
- proof that the surrogate mother and the applicant permanently reside in the Republic of Cyprus.
With regard to the condition contained in point (vi) above, the law was amended in 2016 to provide an alternative option in cases where it is proved that it is impossible to find a woman interested in undergoing the maternity procedure. surrogate with permanent residence in Cyprus. In such cases, at the request of the applicant couple, the Board may authorize the conduct of the surrogacy procedure with a surrogate mother whose permanent residence is outside Cyprus, provided that she travels to Cyprus from from 28e week of pregnancy and until the birth of the child, unless medical reasons prevent him from traveling to Cyprus.
The second stage of the process involves applying to the court for the issuance of a surrogacy court order. The court will make such an order if it is satisfied that the requesting couple has obtained the Board’s written approval and it may impose such conditions and directions as it deems necessary for the effective implementation of the order and the achievement of the objectives for which it is rendered. .
The third step in the surrogacy process involves signing a written agreement (“surrogacy contract”) between the surrogate mother and her husband, if they are married, on the one hand, and the requesting couple on the other hand. The agreement should include, among other things, the following important provisions:
- the surrogate mother must not be the parent of the child;
- the requesting couple is considered to be the parents of the child from its conception and its implantation in the uterus;
- the costs of prenatal care will be borne by the requesting couple;
- before the implantation of the embryo in the surrogate mother, a letter of guarantee will be issued by the requesting couple for a period of 11 months, in order to cover the costs of prenatal care, childbirth, postnatal care, including the costs of any postpartum complications that may arise; and
- surrogate stays in Cyprus from 28e week of pregnancy until the birth of the child.
The law prohibits negotiating a surrogacy arrangement on a commercial basis that involves the payment of a fee and such action is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or fine not exceeding €50,000 or both. Negotiating on a business basis involves offering or receiving any money to engage in the surrogacy process, or receiving any money to facilitate the conclusion of a surrogacy agreement. surrogate motherhood. Additionally, the law explicitly prohibits the advertising, publication, and distribution of a surrogacy announcement.
The Board of Assisted Reproduction is the oversight body responsible for overseeing all matters relating to the surrogacy process, compliance with the law and proposing changes to the law. The Council’s website is a useful platform for receiving updates on practice and legislation and can be accessed at: Council for Medically Assisted Reproduction (cmar.org.cy). All techniques and methods of assisted reproduction may only be practiced by clinics which hold a valid license issued by the Council and, as such, are recognized as authorized medically assisted reproduction units (“MARU”).
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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