When Nino and Irakli (not their real names) held their baby daughter in their arms last June, the suffering they had endured over the previous nine years disappeared.
“We felt blessed,” recalled Nino, a Tbilisi resident. “Finally, we had the baby we had dreamed of.”
Nino, 55, and Irakli, 47, married late and failed to conceive a child despite various attempts through reproductive-health treatments, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In 2012, they saw surrogacy as their last option to become parents.
If they had waited a couple of more years, surrogacy might not have been an option open to them. The Georgian government is now working on amendments to a 1997 healthcare law that would make it far tougher for couples to have babies through surrogacy.
Georgia is one of a handful of countries -- including India, the Russian Federation, Thailand, and Ukraine, along with a few US states -- where a woman can be paid to carry someone else’s genetic child through IVF and embryo-transfer.
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Monica Ellena is a Tbilisi-based writer.