What to Expect During International Surrogacy [and What to Avoid]

Whether you are a hopeful intended parent or a prospective carrier, surrogacy is a life-changing decision. Because it is such an important choice, you want to ensure you have the best information on all of your options before you begin your surrogacy journey.

If you are considering international surrogacy, this guide will help jumpstart your research as you weigh your options. Here, we will:

  • Explain the international surrogacy process
  • Discuss some of the best countries for surrogacy
  • Inform you of details you may not have considered when thinking about surrogacy abroad
  • And more

Just like domestic surrogacy, it is highly recommended you speak with a professional before making any decisions. Fill out this online form to answer any questions you may have and get in touch with a surrogacy professional. With such a big decision, you want the best resources by your side. Continue reading this guide to learn more about international surrogacy

What is International Surrogacy?

No matter what stage you are at in researching your options for surrogacy, you have likely seen the term “international surrogacy.” For intended parents and surrogates, although the concept is the same, it will mean different things. The scenarios include:

  • Intended parents who live in the United States and want to match with a surrogate from another country. 
  • Intended parents from a country other than the United States who want to match with a surrogate from the U.S.
  • A surrogate from the United States who wants to match with an intended family from a different country.
  • A surrogate from a different country who matches with intended parents from the U.S. 

Although the goal of international surrogacy is the same for domestic, and there are very few differences in the process, the amount of involvement and protection offered will greatly differ. Laws and regulations, medical processes, matching opportunities, and more will all vary depending upon the country your intended parents or surrogate is from. 

Understanding the risks and potential outcomes is essential prior to signing any surrogacy contracts. 

Keep in mind, with all international surrogacies, the process of bringing a child back to the intended parents’ country can be a challenge. Depending on the country’s laws in which your child was born, this process can be easy or difficult. Although this is not an impossible task, you will want to work closely with your surrogacy professional and determine if the U.S. Department of State will support and protect you if there are any complications.

International Surrogacy Laws and Practices

Although there are no federal laws in the United States regarding surrogacy, each state has its own set of rules and regulations. For international intended parents and surrogates from the U.S., they can rest easy knowing that it will be a safe and legal process from start to finish. Intended parents from the United States choosing to pursue an international surrogate will not have this same luxury. 

Many countries have put a ban on overseas surrogacy, as they see the practice as controversial and unethical. Whether compensated or altruistic, the majority of the countries that do allow surrogacy will have little to no regulation or monitoring of practices. When choosing a country from which you wish to find a surrogate, you will want to research thoroughly the legalities of surrogacy and their regulations to do so. This helps protect you, the surrogate, and your child throughout the process.  

You will want to work with an international surrogacy agency that is well versed in the international surrogacy laws and processes of the country you choose. One topic that is often overlooked is the language barrier that may occur. If you find a surrogate in a country that you do not speak the language, you will want the services of a translator to avoid any miscommunication.

As previously mentioned, laws will vary from country to country. Although some countries support and allow international surrogacy, not all will allow both compensated and altruistic. Working with an experienced agency and surrogacy lawyer will help guide you to the best international option.

To learn more about laws where surrogacy is most chosen, follow this link

Risks Involved with International Surrogacy

For many intended families in the United States, they are drawn to surrogacy in other countries because it seems to be a cheaper option than domestic surrogacy. If one of your main factors for pursuing an international surrogacy is cost, you may want to reconsider. Here is why.

Many surrogates from countries that allow compensated surrogacy are doing so strictly for monetary purposes. Whether by choice or force, they become a surrogate because of the money involved, not to provide intended parents with the gift of parenthood. With fewer regulations on medical care and less education on the surrogacy process, there are greater risks that the surrogacy is not being completed ethically and safely.

Because of these concerns, many countries have begun to restrict or outlaw surrogacy.

You will also want to consider the medical regulations in the country your surrogate is from. In many cases, the success rate for embryo transfers is much lower than that of the United States, which means you may have to pay for multiple attempts of an embryo transfer. This causes an unexpected increase in your overall cost.

Another aspect to consider is that although an international surrogacy may appear less expensive initially, travel costs and agency fees can quickly add up. If you are not traveling often, keep in mind time differences, schedule conflicts, language, and cultural barriers will all make staying up to date with your surrogate and communication much more difficult.

None of these risks are meant to scare you or deter you from pursuing an international surrogacy. This information is meant to shine a light on topics you may not have considered. International surrogacy is the right choice for some people, but it is not the right choice for everyone. Researching your options and understanding the potential risks all help you decide what the best path may be. 

Keep in mind, when you choose surrogacy in the United States, everyone involved is doing so under their own free will. All parties are well educated on the process and are protected by the best laws and regulations in the world. 

No matter which way you may be leaning for your surrogacy decision, we strongly suggest contacting a trained surrogacy professional to learn more about the risks involved with international surrogacy programs and to determine which option may be best for you.