Zeinalyan wants surrogacy to be properly regulated.
Lusine Mkrtchyan's face fills with joy when she
holds her "little kid", six year old
Karen, in her arms. After 12 years of marriage
without children, the 40 year old woman and her
husband decided to have a child via surrogate
Six years ago with the help of another woman
a child's cry had finally been heard in the Mkrtchyan
"Psychologically those were extremely hard
times," says Lusine. "God didn't want
us to have children and we didn't want to adopt
one. So, by special agreement one woman gave birth
to my child from my husband. However, difficulties
continued after that."
Lusine says that before the woman was impregnated
they agreed with the surrogate mother that they
would care for her food and care during her pregnancy
and after the child was born, pay her $1,500.
The surrogate agreed not to have any rights to
the child (however there was no contract).
However, in the whirl of human relations it is
not possible to obtain a result only with promises
and agreements. Some time later the child's biological
mother started to claim meetings and demand money
"We are between two fires," says Lusine.
"We don't want society and our son to know
about this story, however, hounding continued
and we could do nothing about that as we were
not protected by legislation. We are giving her
money, persuading and even threatening but it's
not possible to solve the problem by this means."
The Head of the Department for Maternity and
Child Health of the Ministry of Healthcare, Karine
Saribekyan, says such cases had arisen in the
life of Armenian society long ago as it's almost
impossible to imagine an Armenian family without
"That's why in order to provide legal solutions
for solving this and several other problems improvements
of regulations and drafting a law to regulate
this field were started years ago," says
former Deputy Minister of Healthcare Arshak Zeinalyan,
who is one of the creators of the law. "Regulations
on rights and competence of surrogate mothers
were included for the first time in that law."
For bringing into life the republic's law on
Human Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights
discussions were carried out both with specialists
of this field and international organizations
as well and included specialists from the Ministry
of Healthcare and the Ministry of Justice.
"Many opinions were taken into account during
discussions of the law's regulations, some opinions
were rejected," says Karine Saribekyan. "It
was very important for us to have the law like
that as human rights connected with reproduction
are confirmed by that law."
As the specialist assures, the law on surrogate
mothers has long been in force in many countries
of the world. In Armenia, special attention had
to be given to society's culture and mindset.
While in many countries, artificial insemination
is the most common method of surrogate impregnation,
it is not the case in Armenia. Here, it commonly
means that a couple finds a willing partner, whom
the husband impregnates.
Besides being a carrier, the surrogate mother
is also a donor of egg cell and carries the child's
genotype. And specifically in this case problems
arise, which could have not had legal solutions
up to now.
Starting last month the Law on Human Reproductive
Health and Reproductive Rights has taken effect,
aimed at protecting both the parents and the surrogate.
The law stipulates that any 18-35 year-old woman
who passes medical and genetic examination may
become a surrogate. The law further states that
the surrogate "has no right for refusing
to pass a child born by her to persons who concluded
a contract in accordance with established order
of the given law; to a person who uses reproductive
supportive technologies or to a married couple".
The law also protects the surrogate from future
responsibility for the child. There is also a
paragraph in this law that protects the rights
of a surrogate mother if she is also a donor of
an egg cell.
According to that paragraph, a surrogate who
is also an egg donor may break the contract before
the child is born, by reimbursing the contracting
couple for expenses incurred in the process.
Payments and penalties will also be governed
According to the law, surrogate mother can be
paid for pregnancy and giving birth to a child
if it is included in the contract a priori. The
future parents are legally bound to cover all
expenses connected with the term of pregnancy.
In a word, all those details which provide precise
regulation of surrogate birth are taken into account
in this law.
"Many married couples wished to have children
for many years but were not brave enough to choose
the variant of surrogate mothers because of the
(lack of) legislation," Saribekyan says.
"Today they have a possibility to safely
create their families and be happy, as a child
is a joy in the Armenian family."