If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, it’s probably because you have a desire to help other people be the parents they’ve always dreamed of being. But did you know that you can actually become a surrogate for intended parents who live in countries outside the U.S.?
Just as there are many intended parents in the United States wanting to add to their family, there are many intended parents abroad who also have this desire — and who often live in countries where surrogacy is illegal or heavily restricted. As a surrogate who lives in the United States, you have the unique opportunity to make their family dreams come true.
Carrying a baby for international intended parents is not right for everyone but, if you are interested in learning more about this process, keep reading to find out the information you need to proceed with this unique surrogacy path.
Choosing to Be a Surrogate for International Intended Parents
When you choose to become a surrogate, you will always have the chance to choose what kind of intended parents you wish to carry for. Whether you choose to complete an independent surrogacy or work with an agency that offers international surrogacy programs, you may have the opportunity to carry a baby for people who live outside of the United States.
The United States is one of the safest places for intended parents and surrogates to pursue the surrogacy process, which is why so many international hopeful parents work with an American agency to fulfill their parenthood dreams. In response to some of the controversies that have emerged in countries like India and Thailand, these intended parents’ countries have shut down surrogacy, or made the process so strictly regulated that is impossible to complete.
So, when these parents come to the U.S. for its safe legal surrogacy process, it is often the only chance they have at a biologically related child. The women who choose to carry a baby for international intended parents are moved by this desire and the parents’ commitment to their parenthood process. These surrogates are honored at the ability they have to change someone’s life that may live half a world away.
If this sounds like an opportunity you may be interested in, consider contacting a surrogacy agency with an international program to learn more.
How to Become a Surrogate for International Intended Parents
So, how does the process of becoming a surrogate for international intended parents differ from becoming a surrogate for American intended parents?
In most ways, your surrogacy process will be similar to if your intended parents lived in the U.S. However, there are a few major differences you should consider before choosing this surrogacy path.
In general, here are the steps you will take to become a surrogate for international intended parents:
Step 1: Find the perfect intended parents.
If you want to carry for international intended parents, a surrogacy agency can show you profiles of waiting, pre-screened foreign intended parents. Like with choosing American intended parents, you will be able to decide which personal characteristics you are comfortable with, including:
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- And more
You will also be able to choose which country they are from, as well as the languages they speak. While most international intended parents pursuing surrogacy in the U.S. speak English, your surrogacy professional can always provide a translator if your chosen intended parents do not. They will also help mediate an initial conversation with the intended parents so you can ask any remaining questions you have and ensure this is the right match for you.
If you complete an independent surrogacy, you will have to complete this step on your own through social media, surrogacy listings and your personal network — which can be difficult when you live in a separate country than potential intended parents.
Step 2: Complete the legal contract.
You and the intended parents will have separate attorneys for this stage of the surrogacy process. Because you live in the U.S., your surrogacy will be subject to the surrogacy laws in the state where you live — and your surrogacy lawyer will make sure your rights and interests are protected throughout the process. Negotiations of your contract will likely take place through the sending of documents back and forth.
Step 3: Complete the embryo transfer process.
As you complete the medical process of surrogacy, you will likely meet the intended parents for the first time. Intended parents will usually need to have their embryos shipped to the United States if already created, or work with an American fertility clinic to create their embryos in the U.S. Therefore, intended parents are often required to travel to the U.S. for this process.
Your surrogacy professional will help you prepare for this first in-person meeting with the intended parents. They will usually be present during the embryo transfer process and may wish to spend time with you before and after the medical procedure is complete.
Step 4: Stay in touch during your pregnancy.
Being pregnant with an international intended parent’s baby is often no different than working with a long-distance American intended parent, especially if they speak English. Your contact schedule will have been set in your surrogacy contract, and you will often be responsible for emailing or calling the intended parents with major updates, like after all of your doctor’s appointments. You and the intended parents will work together to find contact times that fit your schedules and time zones, which is why most people in an international surrogacy choose to communicate primarily by email.
Step 5: Deliver the baby and complete the surrogacy process.
When it’s close to your due date or scheduled induction/C-section date, the intended parents will travel back to the United States to be present for their baby’s birth. Your surrogacy professional will have already coordinated your delivery plan with the hospital of your choice, and the intended parents may be able to be in your room during your delivery. They will usually have a separate room of their own to stay in while you are recovering and they are awaiting their baby’s discharge.
You may need to sign additional paperwork once you give birth to establish the intended parents’ rights. Otherwise, your surrogacy journey will be complete after your delivery. The intended parents will return to their home country, and you may continue your relationship with them for months and years to come.
Unique challenges may arise during this process because of your intended parents’ location, which is why it’s so important that you work with a surrogacy professional or agency if you choose this type of surrogacy.
Determining Whether This is the Right Path for You
Choosing to become a surrogate is a big commitment to make, and carrying for intended parents from another country is an even bigger decision. So, how do you know whether being a surrogate for foreign intended parents is right for you?
An experienced surrogacy agency can answer any questions or address any concerns you have about carrying for international intended parents before you decide this process is right for you. You should also consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you willing to conduct a long-distance relationship, which may include a language barrier?
Perhaps the biggest challenge of being a surrogate for international intended parents is that you live in different countries. For most of your surrogacy process and your pregnancy, the intended parents will be in their home country, which means you will need to make some extra efforts to remain in contact. Remember, your contact responsibilities will always be determined in your surrogacy contract. However, if you want an in-person relationship with the intended parents, you might consider a domestic surrogacy instead.
- Are you interested in learning more about a different culture?
Surrogates who carry for intended parents often say a huge advantage of the process is getting to learn more about the parents’ culture and country. Some parenting and family traditions are different in other countries, and you will learn about those as you pursue a surrogacy with intended parents from outside the U.S. If you create an intimate friendship with the intended parents, you may even have the chance later on of visiting them in their home country.
- Are you comfortable with intended parents not being able to arrive immediately if something goes wrong?
Unfortunately, one of the difficult truths of intended parents being from a different country is that they will not be able to be by your side quickly should you go into early labor or other difficulties arise. While you will always have the support of your surrogacy specialist if you work with an agency, if this possibility makes you uncomfortable, you may decide that carrying for American intended parents is a better option.
Choosing the intended parents to carry for is always a huge decision, and one you should only make when you’re sure that they are the right match for you. Whether you’re considering becoming a surrogate for international intended parents or you just want to learn more about international surrogacy, contact a surrogacy professional who offers international programs for more information.