Infertility or the inability to conceive a child is a serious problem that influences couples around the whole world. This problem is actual because it is estimated that about 50 million couples worldwide suffer from infertility. Conversely, today we have promising methods that will help people deal with this problem via the latest technologies. For instance, you can choose a professional, reliable international egg donor agency or clinic which can provide you with a range of high-end services.
History of In Vitro Fertilization
In 1977, English psychologist Sir Robert Edwards performed the first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) operation for a woman with the dia1391gnosis of the fallopian tubes obstruction. It resulted in the birth of a healthy girl, which became the basis for the further development of infertility treatment.
The Concept of Surrogacy
One of the discussed and controversial methods of modern reproductive technologies, which contains IVF procedures, is surrogate motherhood. Surrogate motherhood means a method of assisted reproduction, in which a woman bears a child for parents who for some reason are unable to have children. Usually, they are the representatives of couples, though sometimes single parents require the services of surrogate mothers.
Relations to surrogate motherhood are complex. There are three controversial positions: for surrogacy, against surrogacy and neutral. Religion stands clearly against surrogate motherhood.
In various countries, there are different rights and obligations of the surrogate mother and those to whom she bears a child.
Types of Surrogacy
Basically, there are two types of surrogacy. A more common form is surrogate motherhood, which uses IVF with subsequent induction of pregnancy (embryo introduction) of a surrogate mother, with the egg being taken either from the intended future mother or from the donor. So, it includes dealing with the questions of finding a donor or going through complex procedures of ovulation stimulation.
Traditional surrogacy means pregnancy of a surrogate mother via using her own egg. The woman who carries the fetus thus becomes the genetic mother of the child, which may lead to the possible legal conflict later.
Surrogacy Allowed, Prohibited and Limited
The possibilities of surrogate motherhood are severely limited in multiple countries. For example, surrogacy is wholly prohibited in Austria, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and also some US states (Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey).
Non-commercial (for free and out of charity reasons) surrogacy is allowed in:
- the Australian state of Victoria;
- the Netherlands;
- some US states (New Hampshire, Virginia).
Surrogacy is not regulated by law in countries like Belgium, Greece, Spain, Finland. However, surrogate maternity, including commercial, is not banned in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, South Africa, in most US states.
If there is a legal system of controlling the surrogate maternity process, then both sides can sign a contract, taking into account all the smallest details, including healthy habits of the donor mother and her lifestyle.
European Surrogacy Legal Peculiarities
Before choosing a country for your ART, you should carefully consider legal specifics of the country you plan to do it in. Spain, France, Germany, and Switzerland are among the countries that legally prohibit the use of surrogate mothers. In Great Britain, surrogacy is legal for citizens of the United Kingdom, if it is free of charge. Portugal also allows surrogate motherhood for heterosexual couples with medical reasons.
Nevertheless, in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Czech Republic, the existing legislation system does not have sufficient authority to execute the laws identifying surrogate motherhood. In these countries, there is no legal procedure for defining parental rights in surrogate parenting. The less clear legislation in this area is in Russia and Ukraine, which allows childless couples, including foreigners, to pay for surrogate mother services in these countries.
In spite of the controversial views on IVF and surrogate motherhood, currently, more couples are searching for opportunities to use artificial insemination technologies in fertility clinics or egg donor agencies.
According to a survey by IFFC Surveillance in 2013, there are approximately 3,800 centers in 150 countries that perform in-vitro fertilization. The majority of IVF clinics are situated in Japan, in the USA, and in China. The leading IVF countries of Europe are Italy (with 350 centers), Turkey and Spain (with more than 100 centers each), and France.
Different Countries – Different Rules of IVF and ART
As stated before, state laws and regulations for the use of assisted reproductive technology are different in different countries. Thus you need to realize that they depend much on the social foundations, ethical, cultural or religious beliefs of the area. Since reproductive technologies are relatively new procedures, some states still have various bans and restrictions related to this type of treatment and medical services.
For example, in Egypt and many other Asian countries assisted reproductive technologies may be conducted only for married couples. In Italy, France and Austria, marriage or legal stable relationships are also necessary for IVF and surrogate maternity services. On the other hand, more liberal countries as Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and the United States have no limitations like that. So, all infertile couples are entitled to conduct ART, including single women and couples consisting of two people of the same sex.
Payment Policy in Surrogate Technologies
The cost of such technologies, including IVF, depends on how many cycles of the procedure a patient needs and what medicines they are supposed to take. The average price per IVF cycle varies between € 2,000 and € 8,000.
Usually, payment for infertility treatment is regulated by the country’s health care system. So, follow these “spending tips” not to choose the country with no surrogacy or IVF support. The insurance system is different in various countries, and it covers a modified part of medical services. There is a chance to receive full payment in Saudi Arabia, Libya, Hungary, France, Spain, Slovenia, and Denmark. In Austria, the healthcare system covers most part of the costs. However, in many countries, such as China, India, Egypt, and Ireland, there is no insurance coverage for infertility treatment, so the cost of infertility might be too high.
Moreover, one of the crucial factors influencing insurance is the age of the woman. In Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain, the government pays the cost of an IVF cycle for infertile female patients up to the age of 40 years. For comparison, in Latvia, the limit is 38 years, and in South Korea, the deadline for funding is 44 years.
The number of cycles is the second point affecting insurance payments. In Hong Kong and Portugal payments are provided for only 3 cycles, in France it works for 4 periods, and in Hungary, it is available for 5 cycles. Furthermore, in Denmark, the cost of infertility treatment can be paid only for the first child. Kazakhstan has its own unique governmental system of ART.
Factors for Choosing a Clinic
There are several things that you should consider picking a clinic for IVF. First of all, it is essential to choose a clinic which has all the necessary licenses and meets standards.
You should think of the legal limitations in the country, as in some countries infertility treatment is not provided for same-sex couples and single parents. There are also laws regulating the number of embryos planted. Moreover, it is necessary to study information on the clinic’s success level and the number of multiple pregnancies. These are the most important things you need to know before going to an IVF clinic or center.
Conclusion – Surrogacy and IVF in the World
The world is a fast changing place. Nowadays more couples have an opportunity to become parents due to modern methods and techniques, including IVF. Although IVF was introduced more than 40 years ago, it is still a disputable question form the ethical, moral, and religious point of view.
Legal basis and rules of this process differ from country to country significantly. However, couples from countries where surrogacy is prohibited, often leave for other countries where surrogacy is allowed and become parents there. Due to surrogacy, namely, anybody can become a father or a mother at any age, if they keep their cells in a cryobank. Same-sex couples, single women and men also use surrogacy motherhood means. So, the world is getting more open to IVF and surrogate motherhood opportunities, though they work differently in different countries.