Ever since the adoption in 2002 of a law authorising surrogacy on its territory, in 15 years Greece has become the leading European country for medically assisted procreation (MAP) and surrogacy. This summer, it took one step further, namely dispensing with the need for couples wishing to use surrogacy and surrogate mothers to have a permanent residence in the country.
This last step could significantly increase demands on Greek territory “with all the risks inherent in this process, as highlighted in the media last week when a Down syndrome baby born to a Thai mother was abandoned by Australian parents” (Gènéthique press review on August 4th, 2014).
In Greece, surrogacy and in-vitro fertilisation can be carried out up to the age of 50 compared to 43 in France. A surrogate mother can receive between 10 and 12,000 Euros in “compensation”, which is the equivalent of 10 to 12 months’ salary. As far as couples are concerned, surrogacy costs between 20 and 30,000 Euros, defying Ukrainian and American competition.
Within a few years, Greece has become the “front runner” in terms of surrogacy: “everything is regulated and legalised”. “Only Greece and Great Britain exercise jurisdiction in this field”, explains Takis Vidalis, member of the Ethics Committee responsible for the draft law for surrogate mothers (2002).
The system does, however, have weaknesses such as the “lack of supervision in procreation centres assisted by a National Control Commission, which has been dormant since 2008 due to a shortage of staff”. Another bizarre twist: “since 2009, questions surrounding surrogacy have not been regulated by the Ministry for Health, as one would think, but by the Ministry for Employment!”.