The decision to have a child and start a family is often thought of as a natural course of action for people in committed relationships. Natural, however, doesn’t easy. Starting a family is an enormous financial investment for decades to come, and requires patience, commitment, and major changes for the couple in question so that life is never the same. All of this is already a considerable proposition.
But for some, the obstacles to starting a family don’t present themselves after a child is born. Some couples experience one of the biggest hurdles right at the start, with having a child. For various reasons, whether medical or biological, it may not be recommended or not possible to have a child through pregnancy and childbirth.
For these couples, one solution is surrogacy, and the task is better left to an international surrogacy center. But why?
The concept of surrogacy itself is an ancient one that is even documented in sacred religious texts such as the Bible. Surrogacy is when another woman capable of sustaining a healthy pregnancy to completion consents to bear a child that is then united with intended parents. This is a practice that has taken place across the world for centuries, but not every country—or region within a country—in the 21st century condones the activity.
Different parts of the world, and different regional governments within nations, have different stances on surrogacy. In the United States, for example, while surrogacy isn’t explicitly illegal in any one state, some states, like California, have very well-defined laws outlining the rights of surrogate parents and surrogate mothers. Other states have no laws in place at all, meaning that any legal disputes in a jurisdiction within those states are far more nebulous, with less certain outcomes.
Other countries, like Canada, largely allow surrogacy, but in one province, Quebec, surrogacy is illegal. Some nations, such as France and Germany, have taken this stance at a national level, and do not recognize the rights of surrogate parents at all in cases of child custody, remanding custody of the child to the biological surrogate mother instead.
It means that for some couples wishing to start a family through surrogacy, there may be issues having a surrogate child at all in their country, state, or province of residence and still have that child legally considered their own.
Different Surrogate Approaches
Another consideration for working with an international surrogacy center versus going with a local alternative may be the type of surrogacy that a couple wishes to have. One of the more commonly accepted forms of surrogacy is called “Altruistic Surrogacy.” This form of surrogacy means that an intended family may be financially responsible for a surrogate mother’s medical finances, and modest living expenses, but that is the extent of any financial transaction. A “Compensated Surrogacy,” on the other hand, is more like a traditional exchange of money for services rendered in that the surrogate mother receives direct, significant financial recognition for the role she plays in the surrogacy process.
Not all countries have legalized compensated surrogacies. Canada, as one example, only legally authorizes altruistic surrogacies in those provinces where the government allows it. In the United States, some states, like California, have very comprehensive laws that outline the compensated surrogacy process. Then there are entire countries, like Georgia, in Europe, where compensated surrogacy is permitted at the Federal level, and extensive laws are in place to outline the rights of surrogate mothers and intended parents.
Because of the larger financial incentives that can come from compensated surrogacies, the pool of available, suitable candidates is often much larger. Some intended parents wishing to give themselves as much choice as possible while living in an area that only permits altruistic surrogacies may wish to travel to an international surrogacy center to explore other prospects.
Travel & Planning
Of course, the choice to visit an international surrogacy center, while it may be a more viable choice will also incur additional costs. Travel expenses must now be factored into the financing, and, depending on the timetable and distances involved, more planning is likely required to ensure scheduling enough time to meet with the staff at the international surrogacy center, and have enough time to meet with and select a suitable surrogate mother candidate.
Visiting an international surrogacy center can bring many more options and opportunities to the table, but it’s also important to consider legal aspects. Depending on the intended country of residence for a new family to return to, certain legal considerations need to be addressed correctly and sometimes in advance. A family that shows up with a new baby without any proper legal groundwork may, depending on the country, deny citizenship to the baby, and thus the child will have a “stateless” political status. Always make sure when considering an international surrogacy center that legal requirements for a safe return are considered and addressed.