Gay couples with a desire for children no longer have to go abroad from next year to fulfill that wish with IVF. If they have a surrogate mother, the prospective parents can also go to the Netherlands.
Two IVF clinics will start surrogacy for gay couples in 2019, according to research by the TV program De Monitor. In MC Kinderwens in Leiderdorp it is a treatment in which the surrogate mother is the egg donor. In Nij Geertgen in Elsendorp that is not a condition. This allows the fathers to opt for an egg donor that is genetically related to one of the wishing fathers, for example a sister. That egg is then placed with the surrogate mother.
"I think it's crazy to say that gay couples, but also women with cancer complaints for example, have to go abroad to fulfill their desire to have a child," says Marc Scheijven of Nij Geertgen in the Monitor. "While all medical and technical experience and knowledge is available."
The Isala Fertility Center in Zwolle and the VUmc in Amsterdam are also considering offering IVF surrogacy to gay couples. The VUmc has plans for a special project for men who want to have a child with the help of a surrogate mother. The VUmc is now the only hospital in the Netherlands where heterosexual couples can already go for IVF surrogacy.
The More than Desired Foundation is happy that gay couples with a desire to have a child will no longer have to go abroad. "This is a major leap forward. This news offers gay couples the wonderful prospect of aging and gives them and surrogate mothers the confidence that gynecologists support them," says chairman Luc Nibbeling.
The profession of Dutch Gynecologists has been looking since 2016 at the possibilities to make IVF surrogacy possible for gay couples. "Every year dozens of men turn to doctors with this request. But so far that is not possible in the Netherlands and men are forced to go abroad," says gynecologist Annemiek Nap.
The Embryo Act lays down the conditions that gynecologists, embryologists and IVF doctors must adhere to. An explanation was published last summer, containing broader criteria for surrogacy. Nevertheless, according to the Monitor, clinics are reluctant to cooperate with IVF for surrogate mothers. For example, the surrogate mother may regret it and not want to give up the child. Because she gives birth to the baby, she has Dutch law on her side. And that can lead to difficult situations for all parties.
The rights of the prospective parents and the child must therefore be better safeguarded, is also the advice of the State Review of Parenthood Review Committee. A surrogate mother who regrets cannot just terminate the agreement but must go to court for that.
More than Desired Foundation calls on politicians to open the debate on surrogacy as soon as possible. "The gap between medical policy and the law is widening. The number of children born through surrogacy is increasing, but legal protection has yet to be eliminated," says Nibbeling.
Minister Bruins for Medical Care and Sport comes with a response in January.