Greece Surrogacy Scandal Update

Greece Surrogacy Scandal Update

In this video, Page Provan director and award-winning fertility lawyer Stephen Page gives an update on the surrogacy scandal in Greece.


G’day, it’s Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers and today, I’m talking to you about the current dramas in Greece. And we’re getting towards the end of September, so I just wanted to do a bit of a recap.

On the 10th of August, eight staff members, out of 10 who work there at Mediterranean Fertility Institute, which is based in Chania in Crete, were arrested by Greek police. And they’ve been charged with a variety of offences relating to human trafficking and fraud.

So, the news broke about two weeks later when the Australian ran a story, and even though I’d talked about it previously, no one picked it up, and then suddenly all the hell broke loose. International media picked up the story, and we had two Australian TV crews go to Chania.

We discovered that there were four children who had been born through the general hospital at that point, and Greek authorities wanted to establish their parentage, so insisted on DNA tests. Two of the children were Australian children, two of them were Italian.

I don’t know whether the Italian kids have gone home, but I’m pleased to say that the two Australian children, so it’s born to two separate families, have come back to Australia, and soon I’m going to be doing a podcast with migration agent, Roman Deauna, who is very much involved in helping them.

And by coincidence, he happened to be in Greece at the time, so he was on the ground, very helpful. The most recent news is, and I’ve learnt this from a source, which is that the material, the genetic material at Mediterranean Fertility Institute, is being moved today or tomorrow to Chania General Hospital.

Now, that may not sound like much. It’s a cryotank, or two, or however many cryotanks, which is basically a giant freezer in a cylinder, and that’s filled with liquid nitrogen and eggs, sperm, and embryos, and they’re being moved.

And why it’s important they’re being moved is, well, after the clinic went bust because no one was going there, because most of the staff members were arrested, the rent stopped being paid.

And I don’t know who was paying the electricity, but the Greek regulator of IVF Clinics, which has a number of translations in to English, but the one I prefer is NORM, the National Organisation for Reproductive Material, took over custody of that genetic material.

And sooner or later, it had to be moved because you don’t want it being stuck in a place where potentially the electricity might be turned off and all of that genetic material, the eggs, sperm, and embryos, is lost.

So I’m delighted that it’s been moved. I don’t know yet how intended parents, how the patients will be able to get their eggs, sperm, and embryos out. But I’ve certainly made representations to the Australian Embassy in Athens and to the Greek Consul General in Sydney. S

o that’s basically where we’re at. There’s also been some news of an Australian intended parent, a single woman, who is concerned about how she might be able to get her child out because Greek law doesn’t require a genetic link, and she doesn’t have a genetic link with her unborn baby.

So we’ll wait and see for that development, at least it’s been flagged in the media, so one would think it’s not going to be quite so hard. Authorities should be aware of the problem. I haven’t seen any move by the Greek authorities to change the rules.

There’s been no announcement by the Health Minister, for instance, to say that foreign intended parents aren’t welcome. I have clients who are going through other IVF clinics in Greece, and certainly I’ve been concerned if there’s going to be a change of rules, but haven’t seen anything on that front.

So I’ll keep monitoring it, and when there’s a significant development, I’ll either put a podcast or a video like this, or at the very least on my social media and email channels.

Thanks. See you.

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