Choosing to carry a baby for intended parents who live outside the United States can be a rewarding experience. But before you begin the process, understanding international surrogacy laws can help you avoid issues and complications.
To get you started, we’ve created this article to provide an overview of international surrogacy laws and countries where surrogacy is legal (and where it’s not).
An Overview of International Surrogacy Laws
Unlike in the United States where surrogacy laws are state-specific, many of the international surrogacy laws by country are federally regulated.
Many countries have new surrogacy laws that were created in response to years of unregulated surrogacy and ethical controversies that have stemmed from that lack of regulation. For this reason, many of the international surrogacy laws outside of the United States have effectively made surrogacy impossible for international intended parents.
However, the surrogacy situation in each country is unique. Familiarizing yourself with the legal situation for surrogacy worldwide can help you decide whether carrying for international intended parents is the right choice for you.
Below, you’ll find some of the important international surrogacy laws to know. However, international surrogacy laws by country are always changing, so it’s best to speak with an international surrogacy agency or surrogacy attorney to learn more about the current legislation in a specific country.
Countries Where Surrogacy is Legal
There are a few additional countries where surrogacy is legal, but it may only be that way for certain processes and certain intended parents. Some of these countries include:
- Kenya: There is no formal law in place, and commercial surrogacy is permissible, but there are certain legal protections in place.
- Malaysia: Commercial surrogacy is permissible, but while no formal laws are in place, there are specific legal guidelines that are currently under review.
- Nigeria: There is no formal law in place, and commercial surrogacy is permissible.
Several countries may allow surrogacy, but only on the basis of specific standards that can make the entire process more difficult or morally or ethically questionable. Some places, like the United Kingdom, make compensated surrogacy illegal and surrogacy contracts unenforceable.
Other countries will only allow intended parents to complete a surrogate pregnancy if they are a heterosexual, married couple who has proof from a medical professional of their inability to naturally conceive. Sometimes, these intended parents may only work with a married surrogate who is related to them.
There are also some countries that have no regulations at all about the surrogacy process. While surrogacy is certainly possible in these countries, intended parents from these countries often pursue this path with caution.
Even when a country has no regulation on surrogacy, that does not mean the country is always the best choice for a surrogacy. A lack of regulations often opens up the possibility for dangerous complications and risks for both intended parents and surrogates.
So, while the surrogacy process itself is legal in certain countries, the international surrogacy laws there can make the process more difficult than it would be in the United States. Those who are considering an international surrogacy in a country that has solidly defined laws should consider America.
While surrogacy is not regulated on a federal level in America, there are many states that permit the surrogacy process in various ways that protect both the intended parents and the surrogates every step of the way. This is typically why many foreign intended parents choose to work with American surrogacy agencies to find a surrogate in the U.S. to carry their baby.
You can speak with a surrogacy agency who offers an international program to learn more about the process of carrying a baby for intended parents who live outside the U.S. and the various international surrogacy laws.
Countries Where Surrogacy is Banned or Highly Restrictive
Many times, intended parents who come to the United States to complete a surrogacy come from countries where surrogacy is banned.
This is often because of federal restrictions on the process or because they are single or homosexual and don’t meet the qualifications of their national surrogacy programs. Therefore, they seek out countries where surrogacy is legal for people in their situation.
In addition to countries like the United Kingdom that outlaw commercial surrogacy, these are some common countries that foreign intended parents often come from, due to the illegality of or great restrictions on the surrogacy process there:
Many other popular destinations for international intended parents, like India and Mexico, have recently introduced new legislation that makes international surrogacy impossible for foreigners and much more difficult for nationals.
This has caused more and more intended parents to recognize the complications of surrogacy in these countries and pursue surrogacy in safer countries like the United States.
Learn More About International Surrogacy Laws
When entering into a surrogacy contract as an American surrogate, it’s important to research the current state of international surrogacy laws to understand exactly why international intended parents come to the U.S.
Doing so can also help you determine if international intended parents are the right match for you. In many cases, these intended parents have no other way to complete their family and, if you choose to carry a child for them, you will help them make their parenthood dreams come true.
By completing a surrogacy in the United States for international intended parents, you avoid all of the complicated international surrogacy laws in favor of a process that’s smooth, safe, and efficient. Reach out to a surrogacy professional today to learn more about starting the surrogacy process.