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Over the past year, a lot has changed around the political battlegrounds within various parts of the world. Similarly, given a war-like situation with its neighbours Ukraine, even Russia has brought some changes within its legal system. That’s where we can say that despite being legal, surrogacy is currently dealing with controversy and complexities in Russia, reflecting the social and legal issues that arise with such delicate and significant reproductive technology. To fully comprehend the state of surrogacy in Russia today, one must examine the country’s legal system, cultural norms, and recent developments that have influenced public and government opinion.

The situation around Surrogacy in Russia

Is surrogacy legal in Russia?

Yes, as of now, it is legal to pursue a surrogacy program in Russia. Also, it comes as one of the few nations that permit both charitable and commercial surrogacy within its legal territories. Still, as an intended parent, it is crucial for you to understand the complexities around the surrogacy procedure. Also, as long as there is a medical indication that the intended parents are unable to carry a pregnancy themselves, any adult woman who satisfies certain health requirements can become a surrogate mother under the legal framework. This covers circumstances in which a woman lacks a uterus, is afflicted with a condition that makes pregnancy unsafe or has had multiple unsuccessful IVF attempts.

On the other side, the intended parents and the surrogate must legally enter into a formal contract that specifies the intended parents’ rights and obligations, compensation (in the event of a commercial surrogacy), and the process for registering the intended parents as the newborn’s legal parents. Crucially, if the surrogate mother is not the child’s genetic relative, she will not have any parental rights over the child she bears.

How does this country attract thousands of medical tourists every year?

Russia has proved its prowess as a famous surrogacy haven for numerous intended parents around the world. Due to its low costs and lax legal restrictions, many intended parents choose this country as their next surrogacy destination. Moreover, this has drawn a lot of foreign couples looking for surrogacy services. As a result, surrogacy tourism has increased, but it has also drawn regulatory and ethical attention. On the other side, concerns are raised concerning the living conditions, legal protection, and exploitation of Russian surrogate mothers during their pregnancies.

Growing discussion around ethical issues around surrogacy

Over the past year, the situation around surrogacy in Russia has completely changed. The country that used to allow surrogacy for everyone is now thinking of putting additional restrictions on it.

1. Concerns about Exploitation

situation around surrogacy in russiaThere have been increased concerns around the exploitation of surrogate mothers in recent times within Russia. Given that surrogate mothers frequently hail from less stable economic backgrounds, there are worries regarding the possible exploitation of these women.

On the other side, critics contend that these women may be driven primarily by monetary compensation and may not be completely aware of the risks involved in pregnancy and childbirth.

2. Child’s Rights and Statelessness Issues

You may also counter certain issues related to child rights and statelessness.

Because the intended parents’ countries do not recognize surrogacy or because of post-birth legal complications, there have been cases where children born through surrogacy have been left stateless or in legal limbo. This problem has been brought to light, especially in situations where the child’s intended parents reject or divorce the child because of birth defects.

3. Public Perception

Given the recent political tension with Ukraine, even the general public has become critical of international surrogacy. In Russia, surrogacy is frequently criticized for moral and ethical reasons. Some social groups and religious organizations consider it to be abnormal or incompatible with traditional family values. Moreover, the legal and social support networks those surrogacy participants have access to may be impacted by these societal attitudes.

Certain events that have further ignited the situation

As mentioned earlier, the situation has changed big time in Russia around surrogacy and lots of other practices. On the other side, there have been calls in Russia in recent years to strengthen laws pertaining to surrogacy. After multiple high-profile incidents, these calls became more intense:

1. Criminal Cases

A number of surrogacy clinics have been charged with human trafficking and other crimes in connection with these cases. For instance, there have been claims that clinics are producing and selling babies while passing themselves off as surrogates, which has infuriated the public and prompted calls for tighter regulation of surrogacy procedures. While government is planning to put restrictions on such practices soon, there are still many disagreements around it.

2. Suggested Legislative Amendments

surrogacy in russiaRussian legislators have suggested amending the surrogacy legislation in response to these concerns. These suggestions include tightening regulations on surrogacy clinics and prohibiting foreign couples from using surrogacy services in Russia. On the other side, legislators in certain cases even support outright banning commercial surrogacy.

3. The COVID-19’s effects

The surrogacy landscape was further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, numerous reports of babies born to surrogate mothers becoming stuck in Russia and unable to be picked up by their intended parents who live abroad were caused by travel restrictions and health risks. On the other side, the vulnerabilities in the current regulatory framework were brought to light by this situation, particularly with regard to the welfare of the children.

Final words

It is believed that various restrictions are going to be there on surrogacy practices within Russia in future. Hence, we can say that the surrogacy landscape in Russia is complicated, influenced by recent scandals, ethical discussions, legal permissiveness, and global interest. Although surrogacy provides many women who are unable to conceive naturally with a valuable route to parenthood, the practice is fraught with difficulties in Russia that require careful handling.

When thinking about surrogacy in Russia, prospective parents need to be aware of the laws that may change in the future as well as the wider ethical and social ramifications of their choices. Ensuring that all parties are protected and respected throughout the process requires that ongoing discussions and reforms prioritize the health and rights of both surrogate mothers and the children born through surrogacy.

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