The Finnish authorities do not recommend people to turn to surrogacy arrangements abroad due to the many risks and uncertainties involved in such processes.
Surrogacy refers to an arrangement in which a woman carries and gives birth to a baby with the intention to give the child after birth to another person or couple (intended parents, IPs) who will raise the child.
Surrogacy arrangements as an infertility treatment are prohibited in Finland. Medical examinations and treatments aiming at surrogacy arrangements are also prohibited in Finland, even if the arrangement itself would take place abroad.
Risks arising from foreign surrogacy arrangements
Surrogacy arrangements abroad involve risks and uncertainties:
- There is no certainty about the legal status of the child and the intended parents in terms of family law.
- It is not possible to guarantee that the surrogate mother will give up the baby to the intended parents or that they will get the child to Finland.
- There is very little research about the psychosocial effects of surrogacy on the child.
- There is no certainty about the surrogate mother's background, motives and grounds for volunteering to carry another person's baby as a surrogate. The surrogate mother may be a victim of exploitation or the arrangement may involve even aspects comparable to child trafficking. The compensations payable to the surrogate mother and the foreign intermediary often exceed the actual costs of the arrangement.
- There are no guarantees that the surrogate mother and the child will receive the healthcare services they need in the country of surrogacy, and it is possible that their physical health and need for psychosocial support will be neglected.
In surrogacy arrangements abroad, not only Finnish legislation but also the legislation of the country in question must be taken into account. There may be differences between the legislation of Finland and that of the country in which the child is born, which affects, for example, the child’s family law status
In Finland, the provisions of the Paternity Act(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) apply to the determination of paternity. The Paternity Act does not contain any specific provisions on surrogacy.
Under the new Maternity Act(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window), the mother of the child is the person who has given birth to the child.
A foreign decision on the establishment of maternity(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) is not recognised in Finland if a person habitually resident in Finland has had a child through surrogate arrangements in a foreign country.
A foreign decision by which someone is established as the mother of a child instead of the woman who gave birth to the child may be recognised only if
- the intended mother has resided in the country that issued the decision for at least one year immediately before the birth of the child, or
- the decision is recognised in the country where the intended mother has resided without interruption for at least one year immediately before the birth of the child.
If the requirements for the recognition of a foreign decision laid down in the Maternity Act are not met, legal maternity may, under Finnish law, only be transferred through adoption.
The Finnish authorities do not recommend surrogacy arrangements abroad nor can they take a stand or provide any legal advice in individual cases in advance. Each case will be dealt with separately.
- Memorandum of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, 4 July 2019 (pdf, 146 kt)
- Ministry of Justice: Memorandum on surrogacy arrangements (2013)(Link to another website.)
- Act on Assisted Fertility Treatments(Link to another website.)
- Paternity Act(Link to another website.)
- Maternity Act(Link to another website.)
- Adoption Act(Link to another website.)
- Nationality Act(Link to another website.)
- Act on the Population Information System and the Population Register Centre's Certificate System and the Register Administration Act(link to another website)(Link to another website.)
- Act on Child Custody and Right of Access(Link to another website.)
- Council of Europe guidance:(Link to another website.) Guide for the implementation of the principle of prohibition of financial gain with respect to the human body and its parts from living or deceased donors(Link to another website.)