SURROGACY IN RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Gestational surrogacy, even commercial, is legal in Russia, being available to practically all adults willing to be parents. There must be one of several medical indications for surrogacy: absence of uterus, deformity of the uterine cavity or cervix, uterine cavity synechia, somatic diseases contraindicating child bearing, or repeated failure of IVF despite high-quality embryos.

The first surrogacy program in Russia was successfully implemented in 1995 at the IVF centre of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Institute in St. Petersburg. Public opinion in general is surrogacy-friendly; recent cases of a famous singer and a well-known businesswoman who openly used services of gestational surrogates received positive news coverage. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church has officially condemned surrogacy. As regards the baptism of the children born through surrogacy, the Russian Orthodox Church holds that a “child born with the assistance of “surrogate motherhood” can be Baptized according to the wishes of the party that will be raising it, if such are either its “biological parents” or its “surrogate mother,” only after they have recognized that, from the Christian point of view, such reproductive technology is morally reprehensible and have borne ecclesial repentance – regardless of whither they ignored the Church’s position consciously or unconsciously”.

Children born to heterosexual couples who are not officially married or single intended parents through gestational surrogacy are registered in accordance to analogy of jus (art. 5 of the Family Code). A court decision may be needed in that case. On 5 August 2009 a St. Petersburg court definitely resolved a dispute as to whether single women could apply for surrogacy and obliged the State Registration Authority to register a 35-year=old single intended mother, Nataliya Gorskaya, as the mother of her surrogate son.

On 4 August 2010 a Moscow court ruled that a single man who applied for gestational surrogacy (using donor eggs) could be registered as the only parent of his son, becoming the first man in Russia to defend his right to become a father through court proceedings. The surrogate mother’s name was not listed on the birth certificate; the father was listed as the only parent. After that a few more identical decisions concerning single men who became fathers through surrogacy were issued by different courts in Russia, listing men as the only parents of their surrogate children and confirming that prospective single parents, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation, can exercise their right to parenthood through surrogacy in Russia.

Liberal legislation makes Russia attractive for “reproductive tourists” looking for techniques not available in their countries. Intended parents go there for oocyte donation because of advanced age or marital status (single women and single men) and when surrogacy is considered. Foreigners have the same rights for assisted reproduction as Russian citizens. Within 3 days after the birth, the commissioning parents obtain a Russian birth certificate with both their names on it. Genetic relation to the child (in case of donation) does not matter.