Russia has been in the news a lot lately – not always for good reason. Its economy has been the subject of harsh criticism and many of its policies – both domestic and foreign – have been censured by the Western media, often with due cause.
It’s not surprising then that Russia is one of the last jurisdictions that many would-be parents consider when they think about surrogacy.
But the Russian surrogacy regime is one of the most liberal and successful in Europe – and indeed the world. Surrogacy has been an accepted infertility treatment in Russia since 1993 and a number of clinics in Russia have now developed world class IVF treatment procedures specifically designed for surrogacy arrangements. They cater to a diverse range of intended parents from around the world – including single women and men, who are barred from pursuing commercial surrogacy in other European jurisdictions.
Many of our clients are surprised to learn that Russia is the only European jurisdiction that allows single men, regardless of their sexuality, to pursue commercial surrogacy arrangements.
Russia has indeed come under harsh criticism for its anti LGBT propaganda laws. And rightly so. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that the Russian Constitution explicitly protects the right of the individual to an inviolable private life. This constitutional provision has been used to justify the rights of all single men and women to access surrogacy related treatment procedures in Russia: gay and straight, local and foreign.
The Russian system is not perfect. Gay and lesbian couples are not permitted to access surrogacy related treatment procedures, as such. However, we have a number of clients in committed gay relationships who are pursing surrogacy journeys in Russia as single men or women. For these clients, pursuing surrogacy in Russia is the safest, most affordable and expedient means of building the family that they have always wanted.
In fact, the Russian surrogacy regime is being increasingly recognised as one of the most proficient and technologically adept in the world. Since 2010, the Moscow clinics that we work with have alone overseen the birth of more than 450 babies through gestational carrier – or surrogacy – agreements. They now have an ongoing pregnancy success rate of 75 percent for fresh, single embryo transfers. This success rate is in part due to the modern technology that our clinics use. But it is also thanks to the experience of our IVF doctors and specialists, who have a level of training and expertise on a par with clinicians from the USA and other European jurisdictions.
We now have a number of clients pursuing surrogacy in Russia: married, single, gay and straight. Their experiences of Russia, and the Russian surrogacy regime, have been the same as ours. We have found the doctors, embryologists, lawyers and clinic staff that we work with in Russia to be friendly and professional and entirely welcoming.
While Russia may continue to find itself at the centre of political controversy, our experience of Russia, and the continued experiences of our clients, reflect a different Russia altogether. We are therefore proud to offer a pioneering surrogacy program in Russia that continues to provide diverse intending parents with a cost effective, safe and proficient way to have children.