A Difficult Choice: Reducing Embryos, plus Getting a Passport
Georgios* is Greek and lives in London with his Ukrainian partner Alexander* and their two-year-old twins who were born in the Ukraine.
In our Surrogacy Supplement Georgios shares their incredible international surrogacy journey: multiple pregnancies in two surrogates; crossing borders with the babies & a friend posing as mother; near-endless red tape to get into the UK; moral dilemmas and more.
The story so far: Georgios has decided to start a family through surrogacy, whilst living and working in Ukraine, and now has two surrogates, both with implanted embryos…
A couple of weeks later the clinic reported that the process was going well. Really, really well! “All the embryos were developing! So 12 babies!” The clinic said they must reduce both pregnancies, because it’s not safe for so many embryos to develop. The reduction would be based on which embryos were most viable. “After that we had three and three.”
As the pregnancies continued the clinic advised another reduction, to bring both pregnancies down to one foetus each.
Georgios was presented with a difficult decision.
“The question came, ‘do you prefer boys or girls?’ I said, ‘I cannot make that choice.’ The doctor said ‘listen, if you don’t choose, the person who does the reduction will.’ So I said ‘a boy and a girl.’ One of each.” It was decided that if they had a strong enough boy and a strong enough girl they’d leave one of each.
The reductions took place on different days and the sexes of the foetuses were only established during the procedure. The first surrogate was carrying three girls so the strongest girl was left. The second surrogate was carrying two girls and a boy but the boy was not the strongest foetus, so they left a girl in her too. “I’m so glad it was based on the viability of the children,” he says, “it felt so unnatural thinking you can choose the sex of the child.”
Later, once the babies were born, Georgios realised that if they had Greek passports, like him, they could travel anywhere in the EU. He went to the Greek consulate in the Ukraine the week after the girls were born, registering them as Greek citizens; Greek papers were issued which he then submitted to the authorities in Athens.
“It was a very slow bureaucratic procedure, months of going from one office to another. I was also dealing with a crazy woman in the office in Athens - I think she just enjoyed tormenting people.”
The official told him that because the children were born on the 9th of the month but the Greek paperwork he had was dated the 12th of the month, he was not the legal father for the first three days of his daughter’s lives.
Watch out for the next instalment: Birth Certificates, International Consulates & Difficult Officials – we’ll announce it on Twitter & Facebook
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* names have been changed to protect identity