By Alex Temblador, The Next Family
Imagine that you and your spouse want to have a baby, however, you are unable to conceive due to a number of reasons. Your friend knows how much you would love a baby and offers to help you and your spouse out: she will carry your child for you. It’s an exciting time for you! The opportunity to have the family you always want…until you look up the laws of your country or state and realize that surrogacy is banned. Flash to a few weeks later when you and your partner decide to do surrogacy in another country where it is legal. You get excited again! Until, you discover that you would be unable to return home with your child because your country will not legally recognize you as the parent or your child as a citizen of their country.
For couples with fertility issues or for same-sex couples, surrogacy is a viable option to create a family. The sad fact remains though that surrogacy is many forms is illegal or banned in many parts of the world and even within the United States. For instance, in the United States there is not a nation-wide law on surrogacy. Rather, the states are responsible for surrogacy laws, which makes it difficult for individuals who live in states that do not permit surrogacy. Furthermore, most states do not have laws concerning surrogacy. Though some people do enter surrogacy contracts in those states, it can be very risky if one doesn’t receive legal counsel beforehand.
Additionally, some states in the U.S. do not allow same-sex couples to enter into legal surrogacy contracts. Some states say that a couple wanting to use a surrogate must be “married.” With the new marriage equality legislation, same-sex couples should fall under the article of “married” (if they are married), however, there haven’t been any reported surrogacy cases involving same-sex couples yet to determine how states will react with the marriage equality law. Even more unfortunate is that many countries around the world will not allow same-sex couples to have a child via surrogacy due to intolerance of the LGBT community.
Although surrogacy can be risky and complicated, the joy of creating one’s family through surrogacy is not. Many couples and singles, straight or gay, and even celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nicole Kidman (among many others!) have found happiness through surrogacy. So for those interested in surrogacy, we’ve made a list for you in regards to surrogacy around the world (and in the U.S.). Remember, if you do decide to move forward with surrogacy, be sure to contact a reputable surrogacy agency like, Fertility SOURCE Companies, for more insight into the process.
There are two types of surrogacy, one of which is commercial surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy involves a surrogate being paid to carry a couple’s or single individual’s child.
- Some U.S. States like Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Texas (must be a married couple to have a baby via surrogacy), and Nevada
- Russia: It is very difficult for gay couples to use surrogates in Russia.
- Ukraine: The Ukraine allows for commercial surrogacy, however, you must be a married heterosexual couple to have a child by a surrogate in Ukraine.
- State of Tabasco, Mexico: Tabasco does allow for surrogacy, but recently Tabasco government officials stopped issuing birth certificates for couples using surrogates.
- Thailand: Thai couples can have children via surrogate but they must be heterosexual and married for three years. Gay couples in Thailand cannot hire a surrogate.
The other form of surrogacy is altruistic surrogacy and occurs when a surrogate mother does not receive any form of payments for being a surrogate, except for realistic expenses related to having a child or being a surrogate (medical, insurance, travel if need be, time off from work, etc.).
- Some U.S. states like Kentucky, Nebraska, Maryland, Washington, Michigan (commercial surrogacy is illegal and the government will not recognize surrogacy contracts), Florida (couple must be married to use a surrogate), Utah, Virginia(might be very difficult for same-sex couples to use a surrogate)
- UK: Be careful in the U.K. The surrogate is legally recognized as the mother, regardless if she is biologically related to the child or not. Surrogacy contracts are not enforced in the U.K.
- Greece: Greece does not allow for gay couples to use a surrogate.
- Israel: Israel has a new bill concerning surrogacy in a committee. If decided upon, it appears that surrogacy may become commercialized and will allow for gay couples.
- Netherlands: Couples looking for a surrogate in the Netherlands cannot publicly announce that they are looking for a surrogate, not even on social media.
- Australia: New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria allow for gay couples to create a family via surrogates. The other Australian states do not. Some Australian states require that you be married or a single woman, or need a surrogate based on health reasons.
Surrogacy is Banned or Contracts are Prohibited within the Country (or State)
- Some parts of the U.S.: Arizona (surrogacy contracts are prohibited, surrogacy still occurs), Washington D.C. , New York, New Jersey, Indiana
Illegal to Go to Another Country for Commercial Surrogacy
- Parts of Australia: In New South Wales, ACT, and Queensland it is illegal for couples to go through commercial surrogacy in a foreign country.
Recognition of Foreign Surrogacy
- France: Though surrogacy is banned in France, in 2014 France’s highest court officially granted legal recognition to surrogate children born in foreign countries. This means that surrogate children born abroad with French citizen parents will now be legally recognized as citizens of France.
- Germany: In 2014, Germany’s Supreme Court handed out a ruling that granted children born of foreign surrogacy, legal recognition. The case involved a gay couple who used a surrogate in California. Both dads are now legally recognized as fathers to their child.
- Spain: Spain will recognize surrogate children born in countries where surrogacy is legal as Spanish citizens.
Non-recognition of Foreign Surrogacy
Some countries will not recognize you and/or your partner as the legal parents of your child if you go overseas to have a child via a surrogate. This is especially difficult for same-sex couples who return home to a country where same-sex marriage is not legalized or same-sex relationships are not protected by the government in regards to creating a family.
- Italy: Technically, Italy does recognize foreign surrogacy, however, a huge case recently occurred that requires Italy to be placed under this category. An Italian couple went to Russia to have a child via surrogate. Upon returning to Italy, Italian officials refused to recognize the child as an Italian citizen, took the child from the parents, and placed the kid in foster care. After a DNA test, it was discovered that the father was not biologically related to the child (though he claims he wasn’t aware that the Russian clinic didn’t use his sperm). The case is still in appeals and shows that Italy may not recognize your foreign surrogacy.
- Parts of Australia: Some states allow for Australians to enter into a surrogacy agreement overseas, however, the Australian parents may not be recognized as the parents of their child born via surrogate if they enter into a commercial surrogacy rather than an altruistic one.
No Laws/Regulation on Surrogacy
There are many problems with using a surrogate in a country without laws on surrogacy. In some cases the country or state will not uphold or enforced a surrogacy contract. In other cases, you may not be recognized as the child’s legal parents or the surrogate may be listed as the birth mother (even if she isn’t related to the child).
- Ireland: In Ireland, couples who choose to have a surrogate carry their child may face problems. A surrogate who carries the child in Ireland may be put as the birth mother on the birth certificate. If a couple decides to use an international surrogate, they may face problems with Ireland recognizing the child as a citizen of Ireland.
- Nepal: Though many people are going to Nepal for surrogates, there is actually no law concerning surrogacy in Nepal, therefore, surrogacy contracts are not enforceable according to the U.S. Embassy.
Does Not Allow International Surrogacy Within Their Country
- Thailand: After a few international scandals which involved international couples abandoning their children with Thai surrogates, the government outlawed international couples or singles from hiring Thai surrogates.
Fertility SOURCE Companies is one of the largest egg donor and surrogacy agencies operating on a national level in the United States, with a commitment to provide individuals who are unable to conceive with the assistance they need to become parents. Fertility SOURCE Companies works with intended parents from around the world seeking an egg donor and/or surrogate mother in the United States.