MOSCOW, December 7 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Civic Chamber has developed recommendations concerning provision of specialized medical care such as assisted reproductive technologies (ART), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and surrogate maternity; the proposals are based on the public hearings hosted by the Chamber this July, according to a statement on the body’s official website.

The move was necessary because of the demographic situation in Russia, Civic Chamber Secretary Lydia Mikheyeva said, whereas there were still a number of legislative gaps in provision of fertility treatment, among them activities of come-between agencies in the area of surrogacy, which are not yet a subject of licensing. Besides, even if protection of maternity and childhood by the state is enshrined in the national Constitution, accessibility of fertility treatment to Russian nationals, which has been increasing over the last decades, is still below international figures.

First of all, legislative regulation in this sphere needs to be aimed at the protection of interests of minors, among them of those born under surrogacy programs, and to be developed in cooperation with the state authorities, the Civic Chamber, Children Ombudsman, and relevant agencies, which need to establish an interdepartmental agency to coordinate this work, according to Mikheyeva.

Participants of the respective public debates noted that the current system of distribution of financing from the compulsory health insurance funds does not permit patients to independently choose a medical organization providing fertility treatment, since the money is allocated by health care providers beforehand, so those most visited face shortages of financing already in the first months of a financial year. It was recommended to put in place mechanisms of personified financing, including registered certificates for patients so they could choose medical establishments out of their preference.

A number of recommendations developed by the Civic Chamber concern fertility treatment of oncology patients, who are to be by law informed by the respective medical organizations of their right to submit their biological materials to be used for fertilization after they are cured.

Surrogate maternity, the debate participants noted, need to be resorted to in exceptional cases for social reasons, for instance, if the genetic mother of cryopreserved embryos dies, but the genetic father wishes to complete the fertility treatment program.

Among the recommendations developed by the Civic Chamber for the government there are those on amendment of a number of federal laws and codes so to regulate and formalize surrogacy agreements; fertility treatment requirements pertaining to foreign nationals; extend the right to surrogacy to more categories of patients; develop definitions of fertility treatment involving surrogate maternity and legal services under surrogacy programs; introduce a procedure of early informing of registry offices about surrogacy births.

It is proposed that the government, if finding it feasible, introduced mandatory licensing of the activities of intermediaries in the surrogacy sphere and developed respective requirements and legal acts to be used for the purposes of state control over surrogate maternity.

The Health Care Ministry is recommended to ensure the development and introduction of a state registry of children born under fertility treatment programs.