Surrogacy in Argentina

Surrogacy in Argentina

In this video, Page Provan Director and award-winning surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page, reveals everything you need to know about Surrogacy in Argentina for Australians.

Transcript

G’day, I’m Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers, and now I’m talking about surrogacy in Argentina for Australians. You may have heard that surrogacy is available in Argentina, and that Australians can do surrogacy there.

Yes, it’s true and one of the things we’ve seen since the rise of COVID and the invasion of Ukraine and the rise of the US dollar is that suddenly there are all these pressure points with surrogacy.

The price of surrogacy in the US has gone through the roof. Surrogacy is difficult, it became difficult in other places like Canada because of just the demand of numbers, and I love surrogacy in Canada, but there’s just been this huge spike in demand.

So suddenly, intended parents are looking at other places, and we know that there’s been the crisis in Greece with one of the clinics there. We know that in January 2024, there’s their proposed laws, and I don’t know whether they’ve been passed to stop foreigners doing surrogacy in Georgia, and we know that in late 2022, surrogacy for foreigners stopped in Russia.

So, we got all these pressure points, and we’re now looking at these alternative places where intended parents can do surrogacy. Most of them are in America, and we’re talking about Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Argentina, and this one I’m talking about Argentina. Argentina is interesting.

That’s probably the understatement of the year. It has an economy that should be as strong as Australia’s, and of course, the last 50 or 70 years, it hasn’t been, it’s been a basket case. Currently, according to news reports, it has an inflation rate of 140%.

Now, put that into context, I think Australia is at about six or five or four. So just imagine, every time you go to the grocery store, the prices have changed, even if you went there this morning.

Every time you go to a lawyer, and we get complained enough about our bills already, the bill goes through the roof, and this is for everything. The local currency isn’t trusted, they’ve got an official exchange rates.

Does anyone go through those? No. They go to the guy on the corner, and what do they do with their US dollars? Chuck them under the bed, they won’t put them in the bank. It has 40% unemployment, and into the midst of this, suddenly we are discussing surrogacy.

Well, one of the good things about Argentina that I think is impressive is that Argentina has long had a good reputation for IVF, and I think it was as long ago as 2009 or 2008, I was having clients referred by their Australian doctors to Argentinian clinics for egg donation because there weren’t any egg donors here and why I mention that is, Australian IVF doctors wouldn’t be referring their clients overseas unless they were confident in the care of their patient that the overseas clinic was okay or good.

They just wouldn’t do it. It’d harm their reputation back here, and they’ll be failing in their duty of care to their patients. So in overall context, one can say that there have been IVF clinics that have been running in Argentina for a long time and have very good reputations.

Argentina has a population, from recollection, about 40 million, at least a third of that, say about 12, 14 million, live in the capital, Buenos Aires and you say, Okay, well, this is all very interesting, but you’re not actually talking about surrogacy. No, I’m not.

But surrogacy in Argentina is seen as the context of what I’d call procreative will or the right to reproduce. If we go back historically, this is something that’s been thought about in America, and I’m talking about the length and breadth of America since the 1940s.

If we go back to the 1930s and earlier, these efforts that encouraged the rise of Nazism, we had what was called the pseudoscience of eugenics. If you didn’t match up, were you a real person, you’re an underperson. Of course, that was justified by Hitler as getting rid of others.

In the United States, in particular, we know that there was four sterilisations. Shameful, dreadful stuff, and one bloke, a guy called, I think from recollection, his first name was James, James Skinner, didn’t like the idea that the State of Oklahoma was going to forcibly sterilise him because he had a couple of minor convictions.

Well, because he was a known criminal, so therefore, well, we as a state decide that you’re going to be sterilised. It doesn’t matter if you want to have children and took them out all the way to the US Supreme Court, and the US Supreme Court, said that one of the fundamental rights of people is the right to reproduce, or as the Argentinians now express it, procreative will.

And of course, back in the 1940s, because it was decided in 1940, there was nothing known as gestational surrogacy or IVF. Sperm donation was in its infancy, and surrogacy, although it had been existed since the time of the Bible, it wasn’t anything like we see now.

So it wasn’t seen in that context, it was just seen in the context of heterosexual intercourse resulting in the birth of a child. But that’s the first principle thing, procreative will. It’s a right seen under the Constitution of Argentina. Another one is non-discrimination.

So it doesn’t matter if you’re a heterosexual married couple, or a gay couple, or single, or a lesbian, or transgender, or non-binary, or intersex. It doesn’t matter about whether you’re married, or de facto, or single. Everyone has access in Argentina, great stuff.

The issues with Argentina, I think, however, are a little bit more complex. You can only do surrogacy in practise in the capital of Buenos Aires and the reason for that is that Buenos Aires has passed regulations.

These regulations are along the lines of what we’ve seen in places like Ukraine, or the Republic of Georgia, or Kazakhstan. Really, I think, based on thinking that came out of California in the ’90s, which is, who are the parents here? The parents here are the intended parents.

So the regulations in Buenos Aires say that the intended parents are the parents, provided that all the boxes have been ticked, and the box ticking is complex. You should expect in going to Argentina, depending on who you speak to, that you have to go there two or three times and it’s a long way from Australia.

But you go there at the beginning, provide your genetic material, and you may need to go back again to sign the surrogacy agreement, and then you go back again to be there at the birth and bring your baby home.

Now, the end process has really only started since August. My last understanding was that children were due in August, which were the first Australian children born in Argentina via surrogacy since 2009.

So this is new stuff, but by the time, if you’re thinking of Argentina, of you doing it, of course, it might be another 18 months or two years away. So things change. The changing aspects are, is surrogacy in Argentina altruistic?

Well, they say it is, but I must say that I’ve received mixed reports, and this is in the context of 140% inflation, 40% poverty. So, one must be sceptical. One lawyer I heard from, she was from Argentina and she accessed surrogacy but wasn’t trustful of the local process and did it in the US.

That says something to me. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done in Argentina, it just means you’ve got to be careful. But one of the features also about Argentina is that after the child is born and you’re recognised as the parents, you bring the babies home.

In doing so, you have to convince the Australian government that you are the parents. Now, because it’s by process of law, we’ll see whether the Australian government will insist on there being a genetic link or not.

If the Australian government, in practise, requires a genetic link, although that’s not a requirement for citizenship under the Australian Citizenship Act for citizenship by descent, and if you are the only Australian citizen parent, then that may make your journey a lot longer.

But I would aim at the end of the process, that will take, say, two or three months from when the child is born before being able to bring the baby home. Argentina does not have a visa waiver programme with Australia, so you have to obtain Australian citizenship there and an Australian emergency passport there before bringing the child back here to Australia.

So, Argentina is doable. You must take extreme care. I’ve dealt with a number of lawyers in Argentina, and I’ve had a number of different answers about certain questions that I’ve posed, so it’s something that worries me. I normally expect to get the same answer.

So what it says to me is that it’s a bit of a moving feast. Then we have the unknown factor. The unknown factor is, well, we know that Argentina has been unstable. We have just had in the last week elections in Argentina with a new President.

He is not a Peronist, he considers the Peronist’s left wing. He has modelled himself, Mr. Milei, if I’ve got his name right, on Donald Trump. He wanders around the country with a long, mop of curly hair, unkept, much like Boris Johnson, and he wants to shake up Argentina, and like Bolsonaro in Brazil, does not like gays.

So, what I’m concerned about with Argentina is whether he shakes it up to such a degree. His motto, his symbol of campaigning is to walk around with a chainsaw on the stage, so here’s the guy who wants to chop through everything. That he shakes it up and then Australians are caught.

So, I’m certainly not saying, don’t go to Argentina, but it certainly concerns me. We’ll see whether he settles down, it’s early days yet, very early days yet. But you don’t want to be one of those people who discovers halfway through their journey that the whole rules have been changed and I can’t give you any more guidance than that, but just be aware of it.

Thank you.

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