Surrogacy for homoparenthood in Belgium

Surrogacy for homoparenthood in Belgium

Aside from adoption, surrogacy is one of the ways in which a gay couple can start a family. Surrogacy refers to the practice in which a woman agrees to carry a foetus in order to confide the baby to an intended parent after birth.

In Belgium, this is a common practice, but the procedure that needs to be followed is as difficult as it is uncertain. In the absence of a clear legal framework on the subject, fertility centres and the Belgian society are tolerant enough to allow gays to have children. But for this to happen, it is necessary to complete a number of important steps in the surrogacy process.

Finding a surrogate mother in Belgium

Agreement between the surrogate mother and the parents

At the heart of surrogacy there is a surrogate mother. In order to ensure the success of this practice, it is advisable, after a well-considered decision, to contact a gestational carrier. When no agency dedicated to finding a surrogate mother is available, the intended parents are often constrained to find candidates among their entourage, or better still on a specialized website such as Coparentalys, a matchmaking site for co-parents.

However, it should be noted that advertising is not allowed on Belgian territory. In most cases, a mutual agreement will be established between the gestational carrier and the applicant couple, even if the contract has no formal legal value. For the well-being of the baby, fertility centres impose a strict psychological follow-up for both parties, especially for the surrogate mother.

In practice, what does this mean?

Since the purpose of surrogate motherhood is to give the gay couple the right to be parents, the surrogate mother cannot donate her oocyte. Otherwise, she will naturally be recognized as the child’s biological mother and will have several responsibilities at the birth of the baby. This situation may also preclude the second father from being legally recognized as a parent during the adoption. Besides involving a gestational carrier, the intended parents must also find an oocyte bank or use a donor. The sperm donation is already guaranteed by one of the two partners.

LGBT Parenting Surrogacy: a challenging journey despite the openness of mind.

LGBT parenting surrogacy and legislation

Despite being among the first European countries to have accepted same-sex marriage, Belgium does not yet have a clear legal framework on surrogacy. This practice is not prohibited, but the legislation does not define any regulations on the subject. As a result of this tolerance, fertility centres perform very little gestational surrogacy and act with a certain caution.

In reality, the Belgian state has gone from a total ban to a phase of liberation of the practice for homosexual couples. As for foreigners, they have the possibility of carrying out their gestational surrogacy in the various specialized national institutions. On the other hand, the Belgian principles of filiation apply to the child at the time of birth.

What about after the baby is born?

The Belgian filiation rule encourages the visible registration of the person who gave birth in the baby’s civil status. The gestational carrier can then, through adoption, transfer all her rights and duties to the intended parents, with the name of the biological father already included in the document.

Once the baby is born, the gay couple faces another reality: the recognition and adoption of the child. Even if the person who provided the gametes used during procreation holds the status of father by mere recognition, his companion must proceed by adoption. It is from this stage that the long legal battle for the adoption of the son or daughter of his or her partner begins, but this is a whole other matter.

Surrogacy performed abroad for Belgian parents

If, for any reason, a gay couple decides to resort to surrogacy abroad, they will have to go through an adoption process in order to assert their rights over their child. Besides, the Belgian State also recognises adoptions carried out outside its territory. It would still be necessary to proceed with an intra-family recognition when they return to the country. This way, both partners will be considered the legal parents.

Belgian same-sex parenthood generally speaking

As one of the most tolerant countries in Europe, Belgium offers its citizens many ways to become parents. In addition to surrogacy, it gives female couples the freedom to give birth through medically assisted procreation. Depending on their preference, they can choose artificial insemination (using a sperm donor) or proceed naturally. During medically assisted procreation, all women: whether in a couple or single, receive the same treatment. If they choose to adopt a child, these couples wishing to start a same-sex family are treated in the same way as the usual applicants in Belgium.

Are you looking for a partner to start your same-sex family? As from now, a site dedicated to matchmaking gives you its help: Coparentalys. To fulfil your dream of being a parent without giving up on your sexuality, consider signing up on this platform.