• * The center of assisted medical procreation of the CHU St Pierre is specialised in reproductive medicine. Reference center: quality label ISO 9001 obtained in 2008 and accredited by the AFMPS (Agence Fédérale des Médicaments et Produits de Santé).

Surrogate mothers

Since the end of the 1990s, the AR centre at the Saint-Pierre University Hospital takes care of couples in need of a gestational surrogacy (“surrogate mother”). This approach consists of transferring the embryos (obtained by in vitro fertilization) of the intended parents into the uterus of their surrogate mother. The latter therefore has no genetic link with the child. 

 

In Belgium, there is currently no clearly defined legal framework for gestational surrogacy. This practice isn’t illegal but proper legal advice is essential. This is why we ask intended couples and their surrogate mother to seek information from a lawyer specializing in family law before coming to our centre.

 

There are no recruitment centers for surrogate mothers in Belgium and any paid recruitment is strictly forbidden. The surrogate mother is therefore a woman who has a close “relationship” with the couple, for instance, a member of the family or a close friend of the intended couple.

 

Access to gestational surrogacy requires a medical condition (absence of a uterus, a nonfunctional uterus or a state of health that is incompatible with a pregnancy). The age limit for an intended mother is the same as that for in vitro fertilization (IVF), i.e. 43 years old.

The surrogate mother must be a mother and under 40 years old. Her state of health and obstetric history must bear no evidence of a possible at-risk pregnancy.

During a first consultation, the gynecologist and the psychologist will meet the intentional couple on their own.

A second consultation will then be organized during which the gynecologist will receive the intentional couple, the surrogate mother and her partner (if she has one). They will then be received by our psychiatrist or psychologist.

The aim of these consultations is to meet the couples involved and cover all the different aspects involved in this particular parental project; legal, medical ethical and psychological aspects. If the surrogacy project requires gamete donation also (sperm or oocytes), additional consultations would have to be organized for the gamete donor.

Thereafter, the project will be discussed during a pluri-disciplinary team meeting. If the project is accepted, the couples will again be seen by a gynecologist to establish a medical file, to complete administrative formalities and to program the treatment. The cycles of the intentional and surrogate mothers will be synchronized to allow the transfer of the embryo obtained by in vitro fertilization into the surrogate mother’s uterus.

 

Currently, gestational surrogacy is still the most controversial AR technique among both fertility and obstetrics specialists and the general public. Unfortunately, the media is often on the lookout for “sensational” stories that in no way reflect our positive experience of surrogate motherhood. With proper support, this approach, although difficult, is a true experience of solidarity between couples.

The studies carried out are reassuring both in terms of the experience for the parents and the surrogate mother, and the future of the children.

 

If you have a gestational surrogacy plan, please contact us through our AR secretaries. You will be correctly directed towards the various parties involved in this approach.


 

 

Plan du site CHU Saint Pierre - Bâtiment 200, 5è étage . Département de Gynécologie-Obstétrique

Centre de Fécondation In vitro - 322, Rue Haute - Bruxelles Tel +32(0)2 535 3406 Fax +32(0)2 535 3409