By Amina Nazarli
Surrogacy has been a controversial issue in Azerbaijan since it was raised up for the first time in the country.
The issue provokes a variety of feelings among Azerbaijanis as it affects not only medical and legal norms, but also moral and ethical ones.
It was top on the agenda of Azerbaijan’s parliament but just recently the parliament decided to put an end to any debates on the issue.
”The issue of legalizing surrogate motherhood has been finally removed from the agenda of the parliament,” Hadi Rajabli, chairman of the parliamentary committee on social policy said.
The parliament decided not to discuss the bill any more taking into account the negative public attitude towards it, he added.
What Is surrogate?
Gestational surrogate makes it possible to harvest eggs from the mother, fertilize them with sperm from the father, and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. A gestational surrogate has no genetic ties to the child. That's because it wasn't her egg that was used. A gestational surrogate is called the "Birth mother." The biological mother, though, is still the woman whose egg was fertilized.
While a traditional surrogate is a woman who is artificially inseminated with the father's sperm. A traditional surrogate is the baby's biological mother. That's because it was her egg that was fertilized by the father's sperm.
Opponents of the law maintain that artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood is contrary to the Azerbaijani mentality. Caucasian Muslims Office has several times protested the legislation of surrogate motherhood, noting that this step is against Islamic norms. The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church have also condemned this medical method.
Since long time ago, Azerbaijani childless couples have been agreeing with their close relatives to adopt their newborn child. Adoption "in agreement" is still quite common in the country. In fact, it can also be called a kind of "surrogate motherhood."
Although this law has not been adopted in Azerbaijan, it is enough to surf the Internet to find a lot of ads on the western web-sites, about Azerbaijani citizens who are ready to become a surrogate mother or a donor.
The law-defenders suggest that lack of such a law usually mostly leads to frauds.
Now the number of those desiring to recourse to the surrogate motherhood is growing. Married couples who can not afford to have their own children, go in search of surrogate mothers in other countries, where their interests are protected by law. For many families this way is the only chance to have their own child.
Usually, Azerbaijanis apply to Turkey or Russia or Ukraine. Turkey has no law on surrogacy allowing any one to carry out such operations legally, instead of Ukraine and Russia, where it is allowed by the law.
But is the recourse of specialists abroad a law-break? "Everything which is not forbidden is allowed," lawyer Elchin Gambarov believes.
There is no violation here, he told a local newspaper. “Azerbaijani citizens have the right to go abroad to become a sperm donor or surrogate mother. All the more, they usually go to the countries, where this procedure is permitted.”
Barren women and men in Azerbaijan may recourse to the artificial insemination, which has been legally conducted in Azerbaijan since 2004. And some 40-45 percent of those who decide to undergo artificial insemination in the country have achieved positive results. This comes as the rate of successful inseminations in Europe is at 30-35 percent.
Caucasian Muslims Office maintains that the artificial insemination is possible only if a donor is the woman’s husband. It is unacceptable to conduct this operation with other donors.