In a statement, the association recalls that the surrogacy law was enacted in 2021 and should have been regulated in early 2022, when it came into force.

After successive delays, the Ministry of Health set the end of March to have the regulation completed.

In information published this week in the newspaper Público, the Ministry of Health says that the proposed regulation has already been completed and that it will hold a series of hearings this month, namely with the National Council for Medically Assisted Procreation, the National Council for Ethics for Sciences da Vida, the Order of Doctors, the Order of Nurses, the Order of Portuguese Psychologists and the Order of Biologists.

“The diploma will later be finalised, taking into account the contributions received”, added the reply, not giving a date for the document to be approved by the Council of Ministers.

Cláudia Vieira, president of the Portuguese Fertility Association (APFertility), says that couples have been patient but stressed that some had felt the need “due to the lack of help in Portugal, to find help outside the country”.

To date, the document supporting surrogacy in Portugal has advanced and retreated on several levels.

In 2018, the Constitutional Court rejected rules that regulated this possibility. In 2019, it was vetoed by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and, after its enactment, at the end of 2021, the law was awaiting regulation.

“All this to keep hearing from the Ministry that there are no scheduled dates for pronouncing on the regulation, that maybe within weeks there will be news, assuming that the beneficiary couples continue to be patient”, says Cláudia Vieira.

APFertility says that, as time goes by, it has been dealing with the doubts and fears of couples who look to surrogacy as a hope.

“It is undoubtedly frustrating to be speechless when you hear the desperation and discouragement of these people, who always ask: 'Is it now?', 'Can we move forward?'. It is saddening that some of these couples question whether it is time to call it quits,” she adds.

For the official, the successive delays demonstrate how the Government has responded to the problems that have always involved infertility and, in this case, surrogacy: “Pushing citizens into situations of emotional and psychological exhaustion and huge financial weaknesses, when only in the in private or in other countries can try to be mothers and fathers”.

“For almost five years, understanding has been asked of couples who only have the possibility of being biological parents in the surrogate pregnancy”, recalls the official, stressing: “This is despair, a loss of hope, possibly the end of the line for some couples”.

Recognising the difficulty of seeing “the successive non-compliance with deadlines”, APFertility guarantees that it will continue to make itself heard with the Ministry of Health, parliamentary groups, the Health Commission and the Presidency of the Republic to “protect the rights of those who have a pregnancy replacement the only possibility of becoming parents”.