Popov & Partners emphasized the need of regulation of surrogacy in the course of public discussion of the changes in the Family Code

Within a public consultation procedure, Popov & Partners delivered an opinion on the amendments to the Family Code (FC) proposed by the Ministry of Justice.

The Law office used the opportunity to raise the issue of the need for legislative regulation of surrogacy as far as the place of such legislation is precisely in the FC. Unfortunately, the initiative for debate in this direction launched in 2011 ended with the implementation at first reading of amendments to several laws, primarily to the FC. Five years later, the practice of Popov & Partners shows that the problem is real and current for Bulgarian society and citizens for whom surrogacy is a fair opportunity to have their own children. In the past two years become more frequent inquiries by trustees about the possibilities for using this reproductive method. As of today in our country it is prohibited, and people are forced to choose one of the countries that have found a legislative solution. Purely social and human arguments in favour of legalizing surrogacy in Bulgaria are clear: increasing the birth rate and guaranteeing the ability to realize the right of every person to be a parent. In addition, the stimulation of the birthrate will be in the group of the responsible parent – materially secure (one who can afford the procedure and accordingly to provide not only for themselves but also for the child) and with a strong and conscious need to have a child. Through this method we can respond to the changed contemporary society – the modern person is not necessarily a family person, but more and more frequently a single person – the average length of cohabitation with or without marriage these days is pretty different from what it was 100, 50, or even 25 years ago. Surrogacy is among the most adequate ways of parenting by single parents.

In the opinion of Popov & Partners other benefits from the settlement of surrogacy were marked. For example, the benefits it would bring to the development of the health sector. At EU level, surrogacy is practically and legally possible in few countries, while there are certain obstacles to parenthood.  In this regard, Bulgaria has the opportunity to be the first country in the EU to meet the increasingly distinct needs in this area. In recent years our country has become a preferred destination for medical tourism, particularly as dental. Such an effect could be obtained with surrogacy, while ensuring a favourable regulatory environment. This would stimulate the development of both the health sector and indirectly – of other sectors.

The law firm appreciates the direction in which the other initiated changes are going. Specific recommendations were made to refine certain texts. For example, the possibility provided in the issue of travelling abroad of the child to be resolved when deciding on custody during the divorce proceedings, should be available also when solving the same issues in a dispute between parents who are not married. It was noted that it is better to have set guarantees that prevent the possibility of non-attending contact (via phone calls, letters and emails) between the child and the parent who does not exercise parental authority to replace the typical personal face-to-face contact. Concerning the most discussed change – the obligation of the adoptive parents to inform the adopted child of its adoption at the earliest moment possible, Popov and Partners expressed the opinion that despite the obvious social motive for the introduction of such an obligation, it does not imply the creation of an adequate legal guarantee of compliance. This way, the obligation remains entirely moral. Concerning the information of origin, Popov & Partners proposed broadening the range of information the disclosure of which may be requested, and an express provision that the motive for the request for information may even be the most natural human desire to explore one’s origins.