(Anthology of domestic surrogacy)
How many children are born from surrogate mothers in Russia, how many of them have a dash in the “mother” column and what place our country occupies in the global market for surrogate motherhood, nobody knows for sure. No data from the Ministry of Health about this is not. No Russian Association of Medical Tourism Organizers, whose data is operated by “knowledgeable” sources.
In association with a similar name, the Russian Medical Tourism Association, they claim that there are no statistics on medical tourism in Russia at the moment either. What is there?
There is official statistics, which if compared with the US, it turns out that the US market is at least six times more: in 2015, about 2,500–3,000 “surrogate” children were born in the USA.
There is RAHR (Russian Association of Human Reproduction). According to this organization, the surrogacy market, although it grew 4.5 times in the last 10 years, is still very small: in 2014 only 359 children were born under surrogacy programs, and in just 10 years - just under 2 thousand. However, the RAHR statistics are unlikely to reflect the real picture, since medical centers provide associations on a voluntary basis, and the number of centers licensed for ART services has now exceeded 200.
There is the European Center for Surrogate Motherhood, according to which, in 2015, 3560 children were born under surrogacy. For the last three years, statistics are being processed. The number of successful embryo transfers in the best clinics - 62-65%, following arithmetic calculations, transfers themselves were about 5 thousand. Total, over 20 thousand children were born under surrogacy programs during the existence of this practice in Russia.
In Russia, a surrogate cannot use her own egg - only a donor one. It is necessary to pass tests, stimulate the ovaries, undergo a hormonal course to synchronize the menstrual cycle with the biological mother.
In parallel, the biological father is examined and donates sperm, and the mother or donor donates eggs. In the laboratory, they are fertilized, and on the 17th day of the menstrual cycle, the embryo is placed in the womb of the surrogate.
All these studies and procedures are quite painful, extremely tiring, hormone therapy leads to severe mood swings.
With the successful completion of all stages of pregnancy occurs. Specialists of the clinic lead her from conception to the birth. Special attention is paid to the psychological state of the “prenatal nanny”, because it is painful and sometimes impossible to bear the child and give it away immediately after giving birth without special psychological training.
After giving birth, the baby is separated from the surrogate: it is believed that this helps to reduce the psychological stress of parting with the child, does not allow the maternal instinct to form and inhibits lactation. To suppress lactation, women are prescribed special drugs.
After giving birth, the surrogate signs a voluntary rejection of the child and the data of genetic parents are entered in the “Parents” column. In this case, the couple is spared from the difficult and traumatic procedure of adoption.
In the Russian Federation, the use of surrogacy is regulated by the Family Code, Federal legislation and a number of by-laws. The failure of the law is found in the place where the surrogate must sign a rejection of the child: in case she does not do this, all rights to the child will belong to her, as was the case in St. Petersburg. In this case, biological parents have a very long time to prove their relationship with the child and the rights to it through court.
Exactly the same white spot in the legislation is the case when the biological parents refuse to take the child for any reason, and it remains in the hands of the surrogate, as happened in Volgograd and Ulyanovsk. If a surrogate refuses a newborn for any reason, he goes to an orphanage, as happened with Anton Argunovsky, a boy with a congenital severe disease - epidermolysis bullosa.
The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation raises the question of the need to expand the rights of clients of surrogate, and the protection of the rights of children born to surrogate. Conservative politicians and the church demand to ban this practice altogether.
According to the president of the Russian Association of Human Reproduction (RAHR), Professor Vladislav Korsak, the authorities and the ROC regard the problem as a fertile topic from the point of view of public relations. “Surrogacy is only one and a half percent in the IVF market, but there is so much noise around it that hair stands on end. Still it means, by the way, several thousand new Russian citizens against the background of the demographic decline, the growth of infertility. This is happiness for people who do not see the sense of life. What kind of nonhumans want to ban him! I once came to one meeting with Mizulina, and there are more than half of the experts - priests in cassocks! For some reason, only the Orthodox. For several hours in a row, they shout about human trafficking, about the fact that the surrogates are carrying organs of children, about some cellars, where they keep the surrogates as slaves and almost to the batteries they chain. Clicking in general. I tell them: listen, well, isn't it written in the Bible about the same thing? Abraham, and his wife Sarah, and their servant Hagar, who endured for them a child - did they not have the first surrogacy program? After all, Abraham talked directly with God about this, isn’t it? And you know what they said to me ?: “Well, do you compare with anyone? He is a cattle breeder, this Abraham! ”Is it normal?” - - the professor is indignant.
Surrogate motherhood is condemned only by those who can and have children, can have children and do not want to, those who are being majority soulless and hypocritical do not want to understand and accept a childless minority.
“God did not give a child to people, but I can help them”
Alena, 30, surrogate mother, Balashikha countryside:
In 2013, a man with whom I lived hung a loan on me and left us with a child. So I became a single mother, and even with a sick mother in my arms.
We were threatened by collectors. The fastest way to pay 800 thousand of debt is to sell a kidney, but in Russia it is illegal. Familiar advised to try surrogate motherhood. I posted an ad on the Internet. It was mostly young, wealthy girls who wanted a child, but did not want to give birth and spoil the figure. Although I was very much in need of money, so I refused. I wanted to help childless couples.
While I was looking for the first couple, I met a single bio (biological mother). She at that time found a surrogate, who diluted her: there were three transplants, and she ruined them in order to receive a monthly reward. Bio calls me and says: “I will not go on another attempt with her, there are two unfortunate cryosks (embryos subjected to cryopreservation) left, I cannot take more eggs”. Well, I decided to help her. Has become pregnant from the first attempt. Bio fell at my feet. This pregnancy was awesome. Bio parents also got on credit, but picked up a good private clinic with competent doctors. I was cesareaned: a big boy - 4600 g. Recently, the child was a year old. Went to them. The boy is very cool!
When someone starts saying on TV that here, surrogacy is child trafficking, I get very angry. God did not give a child to people, but I can help them. Yes, I ask for this compensation, but I go through such circles of hell that you wouldn’t wish the enemy: endless pills, injections, blood sampling, ultrasound, MRI. By the end of all pregnancies, I have that belly, that my buttocks are pricked! There was no living place! The hands were swollen and no longer fell into the veins.
With debts, I fully paid off, even a little life left. If you get a good bio, then go to the program again. My child is 5 years old, I need to raise him for something. I live at countryside. Small salary. We survive at the expense of the economy.
“My husband got involved with crime, and I became a surrogate mother.”
Nadezhda, 28 years old, surrogate, Meleuz:
When I was married, I had everything: an apartment, a car. The husband provided me completely, did not drink, did not smoke, did not beat, but contacted the gangsters, so I filed for divorce. My parents helped me, and now Mom helps me well with the child.
Once I accidentally stumbled across the Internet on an ad to search for a surrogate. I began to correspond with the girl who turned out to be an agent. She arrived in Ufa for examination. I have perfect health, just let’s go to the program at once: I grew up in a village where there is good ecology. Not a single flaw was found in me. The clinic staff even persuaded to become an egg donor, because I have perfect ovaries.
I said that I carry a child for a million rubles. As a result, we agreed on 800 thousand. I thought: “I go to the program once and buy an apartment for myself” - and agreed.
One couple from Moscow had been searching for a surrogate for a year and a half. I communicated with them through an intermediary, never saw them. I called them number one and number two. Often saw dreams, they feel bad. So I got into the surrogacy program.
“I treat them like nephews”
Ekaterina, 33 years old, surrogate mother, St. Petersburg:
I decided to become a surrogate in order to solve the housing problem. I studied the topic on the Internet and began to look for a suitable married couple. We met, discussed the conditions, passed tests at the doctor.
There are a lot of people willing to become parents, but it is very difficult to find exactly those with whom you will be comfortable walking in tandem all 9 months. They pay for services in different ways: someone is ready to give birth for 700 thousand rubles, and someone goes for 1.5 million. It all depends on your health, experience in this matter and how much bio you can afford.
I participate in the surrogacy program for the fifth time. The second time was missed abortion at 16 weeks, the fourth - nothing happened. My result - two wonderful children and another one on the way - soon the next birth.
It is always difficult to give birth. And it's always scary - at least for the first time, at least for the fifth. After all, IVF is always a risk. But when a baby is born, you just need to see the eyes of the biological mother - then you will understand everything.
I have two children. They are small, and I do not explain anything to them: mother is just recovered and that's all. If you do not focus on the stomach and wear loose clothing, then the children will have no questions, because how many people walk with big bellies. The husband understands why this is done, and supports me. Other relatives and friends do not know that I am a surrogate. It is carefully hidden from them. No need to talk about what people are not ready to accept. When I first became a surrogate, I moved to another city to biological parents. I rented a separate housing. Bios came to our apartment, we walked together and talked a lot.
During pregnancy, I talk to children, stroke my stomach, turn on quiet music. Talk is simple, like all moms: now let's go for a walk, eat. If the child kicks painfully, stroking and telling him how good he is and that he should be kicked quietly. I often say how mom and dad are waiting for him. I understand that I am for a child nanny and nothing more.
Bio attended childbirth both times, supported. I felt nothing but joy for a couple. I put babies on my stomach right after giving birth, and then in the maternity hospital I nurse with them along with my biomama. I was immediately ready to give the baby, and at home my own children were waiting for me. Maternal feelings for the children, which I endured and gave birth, was not at all. I treat them like nephews, that's all. Now we communicate with these couples, we even visit sometimes. I know how these kids grow and what they have learned to do. I have decided the housing problem, for which I am grateful to bio. I helped them, and they helped me.
“I believe that my daughter will live in a completely different society”
Mikhail, 38, lawyer, St. Petersburg:
I didn’t have a private life: I divorced a few years ago, attempts to start a serious relationship after a divorce did not succeed. And I decided to become a single father. Googled the topic, found out that this can be done in America, but there only $ 100 thousand plus medical expenses will be required for legal support. In Russia, prices for the services of surrogate started at 300 thousand rubles. But this is if directly, without intermediaries, and the Internet is full of stories about how women, not from a good life ready to work as surrogates, extort money before, after and instead of pregnancy. Therefore, I decided to insure and act through professionals.
The company "Rosyurconsulting" promised that the entire program will cost no more than 2.5 million rubles. This amount included both the search for an egg donor, and the search for a surrogate, her fee, expenses for managing the pregnancy, and - what is important in my case - legal support.
The fact is that surrogacy is allowed in Russia, but it is regulated quite dissonantly, and in some cases legal assistance is simply necessary. If, say, there are two biological parents and they are married, everything is quite simple: they come to the registry office with a package of documents, including an agreement with the clinic to conduct an IVF procedure, confirmation that they are the biological parents of the child, informed consent to be recorded by their parents from the side of surrogate - and they get the birth certificate to the child.
But if the parent is the loner, or if all the biological material (both the sperm and the egg) is obtained from donors, everything is more complicated.
At first, everything went smoothly. I thought that for a long time I would not be able to decide on the choice of an egg donor: the agency offered a base in which it was written in detail about each donor. But I decided surprisingly quickly: the photo had a girl with blue eyes and blond hair, with a pleasant, judging by the description, character — a spilled-out former wife.
The surrogate was also found quickly - I stopped at the candidacy of a woman from Belarus, who had two children. It was said that a successful IVF procedure can be expected for more than a month, but again it was lucky - the woman became pregnant at the first attempt.
It was decided to give birth in St. Petersburg, in the 17th hospital. There, for the first time, I realized that people may not be completely positive in their attitude towards my situation. As soon as it became known that we are talking about surrogacy, a lot of obstacles arose. They began to demand documents, certificates, some of which in general could not be obtained, for example, the biological passport of my mother. Consultations that were priced at 3 thousand rubles on the price list suddenly cost 9 thousand rubles for us.
In recent months, problems have arisen: the little one (it was already known that this is a girl) had a developmental defect. It was decided to give birth in another maternity hospital, closer to the hospital where the operation was due immediately after the birth. The surrogate gave birth to a child, received a fee, and left; the girl moved to the hospital for a month. These were, of course, the worst days of my life. At first they told me not to buy a crib, things might not be necessary. But doctors - I am so grateful to them! Karavaeva Svetlana Aleksandrovna, Plyavkina Nina Yuryevna, Novopoltseva Olga Nikolaevna ... They performed a miracle. When they told me that Yana was transferred to a regular ward, I was in the seventh heaven.
My mother and sister offered to go to the hospital with the girl, but I told everyone that this was out of the question - I am the only parent and I will be staying myself.
There was a certain difficulty in simultaneously going through all the legal procedures for obtaining a birth certificate - without it I would not have my daughter left the hospital. But everything was done very quickly, and within a month the certificate was ready, and we were just discharged.
Now Yane is half a year. I took maternity leave at work and sit with her all the time, without nannies and helpers.
I just want to convey the idea that the happiness of parenthood is not prohibited to anyone. Let people know that all this can be arranged, it is not difficult and not so expensive.
No matter how my life develops in the future, I believe that Yana will live in a completely different society. In a more tolerant. And there people will not care how you were born, because there will be a lot of variations and everyone will have a story that is different from others.