Where is international surrogacy still legal?
Travelling abroad for surrogacy is for many couples the only solution to have a family. But now, with India, Thailand and Mexico closing their doors to foreign people coming for surrogacy, there are only a few windows for those who want to have a child.
The first attested case of surrogacy goes back to the 1970s, being also the first legal surrogacy agreement was enacted in New Jersey. Over the years surrogacy has become a more successful procedure and process, being a solution not only for heterosexual couples with infertility problems, but also for gay couples and single men and women who want to become parents.
What is surrogacy?
Through surrogacy a woman (known as surrogate mother) accepts to carry and give birth to a child for another couple or person. The surrogate gives up all her rights upon that child. There are two types of surrogacy:
Traditional surrogacy. The surrogate is artificially inseminated with the father's sperm. She then carries the baby and delivers it for the parents to raise. A traditional surrogate is the baby's biological mother, because it was her egg that was fertilized by the father's sperm. Donor sperm can also be used for a traditional surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy. In Vitro Fertilization makes it possible to harvest eggs from the mother, fertilize them with sperm from the father, and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate. A gestational surrogate has no genetic ties to the child. That's because it wasn't her egg that was used. A gestational surrogate is called the "birth mother" but the biological mother is the woman whose egg was fertilized.
Because the contract for traditional surrogacy is more complex (the surrogate has to give up her rights upon the child, who will be adopted by the intended parents) and because many couples do not want the surrogate mother to be linked to the child in any way, most of them choose gestational surrogacy. When one of both intended parents have fertility issues so no eggs or no sperm can be used from them, they have the option to choose an egg or a sperm donor.
In the US the price for surrogacy varies from $80,000 to $120,000 and the cost is determined by a wide range of factors such as: medical insurance for the surrogate, if the parents have to buy a surrogacy-pregnancy policy for her, medication, tests for the surrogate, etc.
Over the last years many people chose to cross the border to have access to affordable surrogacy and laws that made the entire process really easy. For example people in the UK choose surrogacy abroad because in their country the law allows surrogates to change their mind at any point and decide to keep the child they are carrying, while in the US the prices are excruciating (sometimes even more than $150,000).
The most important destinations for surrogacy were Mexico, India, Thailand, Georgia, Nepal, Ukraine, Russia, UK and some states in the US.
Thailand closed its doors to foreigners coming here for surrogacy after the baby Gammy case, the child born with Down's syndrome who was not wanted by the Australian intended parents, who took only his healthy twin sister back home.
The state of Tabasco, Mexico banned surrogacy, limiting the service only to local couples. Their decision was made to avoid impoverished women in the country from being exploited.
The Nepali Supreme court has issued an injunction suspending surrogacy for foreigners across the country, because there are currently no laws regarding surrogacy, raising many constitutional and legal questions.
The Indian government has also considered that poor, illiterate women are being exploited, banning surrogacy for foreigners, but allowing it for locals. Over the past years many surrogacy clinics were opened, turning this process into an unregulated business.
Which countries still offer surrogacy for foreigners?
In Russia surrogacy for foreigners is allowed by law and are stipulated in the Family Code of the Russian Federationand theRussian Law on the Population Healthcare. Unfortunately, single men and women, gay couples and unmarried couples are not allowed to opt for surrogacy in this country. Another drawback would be that the surrogate is not obliged to allow full custody to the intended parents, and she can keep the child if she changes her mind. Those choosing surrogacy in Russia pay between $15,000 to $50,000, including accommodation, food, the surrogate mother's medical bills and her fee.
In this country the intended parents are automatically put on the child's birth certificate as biological parents. Singles and gay couples do not have access to surrogacy. The cost of surrogacy varies between $33,000 and $45,000.
In Georgia, the surrogate mother does not have any rights on the baby. Georgia is not a destination for gay couples who want a child through surrogacy. The cost of this process starts at $28,000 and can reach $41,000.
Surrogacy is legal in South Africa and it's governed by theChildren’s Act 38 of 2005. This act requires a written agreement between the surrogate mother (and her partner) and the intended parents and confirmed by the High Court. Also, before inseminating the surrogate, the doctor must have sight of a High Court Order authorizing this action. The conception of the child has to be made using gametes (egg or sperm) from at least one of the parents. Gay surrogacy and for single parents is allowed here.
Same sex couples and singles can opt for surrogacy in Cyprus, but for legal protection the surrogate has to be from the US and give birth in a gay and surrogate friendly state. This way the intended parents will have the assurance that both their names will be on the birth certificate.
The US are governed by contradictory state laws. Some totally forbid surrogacy, others authorize it, while in other there is no law regarding international surrogacy. California is a surrogate friendly state, for heterosexual, gay couples and singles. The legal parentage is established before the birth, so the intended parents are assured that the surrogate mother has no right upon the child. Unfortunately, the costs for surrogacy are so high ($150,000) that many people choose to go abroad for surrogacy.
PlacidWay can help you access affordable and safe surrogacy packages in renowned clinics located in surrogacy friendly countries. All the clinics are authorized and completely legal, so that anyone who wishes to have a child through surrogacy can have a pleasant experience with no legal issues.