As you are considering becoming a surrogate in the United States, you may be aware that you have the opportunity to carry a baby for intended parents who live outside the United States. There are many reasons why foreign intended parents choose surrogacy in the U.S., but one of the biggest is because the laws in their own country are restrictive of the surrogacy process.
So, you may wonder: What exactly are the international surrogacy laws?
Unlike in the United States, many of the international surrogacy laws by country are federally regulated (whereas American laws are state-specific). These laws are usually fairly new, as well — created in response to years of unregulated surrogacy and, often, 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. Before you become a surrogate for international intended parents, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the legal situation for surrogacy worldwide — to help you decide whether carrying for foreign intended parents is the right choice for you.
Below, you’ll find some of the important international surrogacy laws to know. However, remember that 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
By far, the friendliest country for surrogacy is the United States. While surrogacy is not regulated on a federal level, there are many states that not only permit the surrogacy process but do so in a way that protects both intended parents and surrogates every step of the way. This is the main reason 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.
There are a few additional countries where surrogacy is legal — but often only certain processes and only for certain intended parents. For example, countries 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.
So, while the surrogacy process itself is legal in certain countries, the laws about surrogacy there can make the process more difficult than it would be in the United States.
On the other hand, there are certain 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. After all, just because there is no regulation on surrogacy does not mean that 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. Intended parents in these countries may speak to a local surrogacy attorney and determine that the international surrogacy laws in a safer country (like the United States) provide a better legal situation to reach their surrogacy goals.
Countries Where Surrogacy is Illegal or Highly Restrictive
Many times, intended parents who come to the United States to complete a surrogacy come from countries where surrogacy is illegal for them – either 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 countries that used to be 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. Therefore, more and more intended parents are beginning to recognize the complications of surrogacy in these countries and pursue surrogacy in safer countries like the United States.
Even though you are likely entering into a surrogacy contract as an American surrogate, it’s important to understand the current state of international surrogacy laws to understand exactly why international intended parents come to the U.S. — and to help you determine if this kind of intended parents could be a good 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.
Wherever your intended parents end up being from, remember that by completing a surrogacy in the United States, you avoid all of the complicated international surrogacy laws in favor of a process that’s smooth, safe and efficient. You can learn more about surrogacy or start the process today by contacting a surrogacy professional.