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There are around 70 infertility centers across the country that perform gestational surrogacy.
There are around 70 infertility centers across the country that perform gestational surrogacy.

Ambiguity in Surrogacy Law

One of the main problems associated with gestational surrogacy, which is mostly preferred, is identification of the child’s legal mother

Ambiguity in Surrogacy Law

Twelve years ago, the parliament passed a law that permitted surrogacy for infertile married couples and it was approved by the Guardian Council.

However, the law which has only five articles, is not comprehensive as it doesn’t address all issues associated with surrogacy, and couples interested in the arrangement of such births have voiced concern, the news website kabaronline.ir reported.

One of the main problems associated with gestational surrogacy, which is mostly preferred, is identification of the child’s legal mother. Sometimes, the National Organization for Civil Registration (NOCR) refuses to issue the birth certificate with the name of the real mother. As per the law, the real mother is the person who gives birth even though she is genetically unrelated to the child.

In gestational surrogacy, the pregnancy results from the transfer of an embryo created by in vitro fertilization (IVF), so the child is genetically unrelated to the surrogate.

“There is no clarity of the law in this specific situation, and the legal vacuum needs to be addressed. Biological parents should benefit from the ‘Act on Unaccompanied Minors’ (children without legal guardians), in which a suggested name can be registered in the birth certificate instead of the real mother’s name,” said Mohammad Ali Asfanani, a former lawmaker.

According to Salamatonline, in some cases hospitals register the name of biological mothers in documents instead of the name of the surrogate mother which is “logical” but considered “illegal.”

 70 Centers

There are around 70 infertility centers across the country which perform gestational surrogacy, said Alireza Milanifar, a senior official at the Ibn Sina Infertility Treatment Center in Tehran.

He says “women who have had multiple miscarriages or difficulty conceiving or carrying a fetus to term, or women who don’t have a uterus or have congenital uterine anomalies but have intact ovaries, can use the gestational surrogacy method.

There is no reliable data on the number of children born to surrogate mothers. Many couples don’t come back to the center after undergoing IVF and implantation of the embryo in the surrogate mother. However, the number is not high.”

 Allowed Only Once

Based on the center’s guidelines, surrogate mothers should be younger than 30-35 years. They shouldn’t be addicted to any illegal substances and should be free of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis.  

“Each surrogate mother is allowed only one pregnancy at the center, as more than one could be harmful to health,” said Milanifar.

A surrogate mother should also be paid a fee of about $14,000; but as there is no law in this regard the fee can vary.

Surrogacy, also known as gestational care, is a family creating option for infertile couples who want a child with genetic ties, and have not had success with other “first-line” assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments.

In gestational surrogacy, IVF is used to fertilize the eggs in a laboratory. If the fertilization is successful, a fertility doctor transfers some or all of the resulting embryos (often two or three) into to the surrogate’s uterus. If all goes well, the gestational carrier delivers the baby and immediately relinquishes him or her to the parents.

On average, a ‘fresh’ IVF cycle costs $2,300 -2,900.

Some countries have banned surrogacy outright, including Germany, Sweden and France as their governments believe the arrangement of such births creates an unavoidable ambiguity about who the mother of a child really is.

A few international experts believe both women (surrogate and biological mother) have a valid claim to be the child’s mother because motherhood has been split between the two women.

In some other countries like Belgium, Australia, Canada, and UK legal surrogacy is allowed.

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