Surrogacy is legal in Portugal, however, there are some conditions a person must meet to become a legal surrogate mother in Portugal. Receiving money for the arrangement is known as commercial surrogacy and it is illegal in Portugal.
For those who don’t know what surrogacy is, it involves a person agreeing to carry and give birth to a baby for someone else. After the baby is born, the birth parent gives custody and guardianship to the intended parent or parents.
Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to delivery/labor for another person or people, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.
People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when a couple does not wish to carry a pregnancy themselves, when pregnancy is medically impossible, and when pregnancy risks are dangerous for the intended mother.
Heterosexual and lesbian couples could become parents via surrogacy in Portugal.
History of Surrogacy laws in Portugal
The Portuguese Parliament approved a surrogacy law in response to a request from the Constitutional Court in November 2021.
Since 2006, surrogacy arrangements have been forbidden within the Portuguese legal order, in any one of its forms, and in some situations, it has even been criminalized.
However, since August 2016, surrogacy has been allowed under certain restrictive scenarios, providing it follows several prerequisites.
Earlier, in Portugal, gestational surrogacy became authorized on August 22, 2016, and ultimately came into force on August 1, 2017, following a year of regulation. However, the statute was taken to the Supreme Court in 2018 and was declared unconstitutional until November 2021.
Laws to become a Surrogate mother in Portugal
The women shouldn’t agree to become a surrogate mother for financial benefits. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Portugal. If the intended parents offer remuneration or compensation to the surrogate beyond the reimbursement of expenses incurred for embryo transfer, pregnancy and childbirth, they risk a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and 240 fine days.
A penalty of up to 240 fine days may be imposed on the surrogate if she accepts money for her services.
The woman who is carrying the child must already have given birth to at least one child.
The child has to be registered within 20 days of it being born, and the surrogate may keep the child until that time. Upon registration, though, the woman must turn the child over to the parents who contracted with her for the surrogacy arrangement.
The surrogacy mother cannot be at the same time oocyte donor, while the surrogacy treatment occurs.
The woman that will go through the surrogacy process must be someone that the couple chooses or recommends. Cannot exist mediation companies offering services.
The doctors and clinics must do an assessment of the physical and psychological conditions of the couple and surrogate mother.
How does a surrogate get pregnant in Portugal?
Surrogate mothers are impregnated through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this process, doctors create an embryo by fertilizing eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor with sperm from the intended father or a sperm donor.
What is the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy?
A traditional surrogate typically becomes pregnant via IUI, which means she is impregnated with the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor and then the embryo becomes fertilized inside of her.
A gestational surrogate becomes pregnant via IVF. An embryo is fertilized in a lab and then implanted into her uterus.
Is a surrogate mother’s DNA transferred to the baby?
Some women worry that, even with an intended mother’s or donor’s egg, there could be a transfer of DNA. This is a totally natural assumption to make. However, the truth is that there is no transfer of DNA during pregnancy in gestational surrogacy.
Do surrogate babies look like surrogate mother?
No, they don’t. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the embryo they carry, so the baby will not look like them but will look like the intended parents.
What is the cost of surrogacy in Portugal?
There is no fixed price for surrogacy in Portugal. If there are extra expenses, such as an incubator, etc, the intended parents must pay them.
How many times can a woman be a surrogate in Portugal?
In order to carry a surrogate child, medical professionals recommend that you have no more than 5 previous pregnancies. Likewise, after the pregnancy that would be the surrogate’s sixth birth, many women will no longer be cleared to be a surrogate again.
What is the oldest age for a surrogate?
The Conselho Nacional de Procriação Medicamente Assistida (CNPMA) Portugal suggests that the surrogate is between the ages of 21 and 45, with surrogates over 45 being acceptable as long as all parties are “informed about the potential risks of pregnancy with advancing maternal age.”
Can a virgin become a surrogate in Portugal?
No, a virgin cannot be a surrogate in Portugal. You cannot become a surrogate without a previous pregnancy. The woman who is carrying the child must already have given birth to at least one child.
Can a Portuguese woman be a surrogate to a foreign couple?
The surrogate could also be a foreigner and reside in another country, provided that the treatment is carried out entirely in Portugal, from the confirmation of the intended mother’s infertility diagnosis to childbirth, through psychological examination, IVF procedure, and medical follow-up.
Is surrogacy possible in all fertility clinics in Portugal?
No. The fertility center (public or private) must have the approval of the Ministry of Health in order to offer surrogacy treatment.
There are penalties of up to 3 years imprisonment for carrying out the treatment outside the centers authorized by the Ministry of Health.
What happens if surrogacy fails?
If your surrogate does not get pregnant during your initial embryo transfer, you can try again with frozen embryos remaining from your IVF procedure.
The success rate of second (or third) transfer attempts is generally lower than with first attempts, but that is very generalized.
Assistance services for surrogacy in Portugal
For more information or if you need help, please contact Conselho Nacional de Procriação Medicamente Assistida (CNPMA):
Phone: 213 919 303
Fax: 213 917 502
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