Some people that decide to start a family face huge obstacles right from the beginning. Where most couples begin a family by allowing the woman in the relationship to become pregnant, some face a situation where traditional or natural conception is either impossible, or not medically advised.
A woman with a heart condition, for example, can easily become pregnant, but if she does so, the intense demands of pregnancy may endanger her and the growing baby, resulting in the permanent damage or death of both. In other cases, such as a same-sex male couple, neither partner has a uterus in which a baby can grow and eventually be delivered from.
Surrogacy is one solution to this obstacle. A couple that wants to have a baby solicits an arrangement with a woman that is medically capable of undertaking a safe, healthy pregnancy and birth. When the baby is born, the surrogate mother introduces the newborn to the hopeful couple, and a new life as a family begins.
However, in some cases, this process may need to take place in another country. Here’s why and how it happens.
The Need For Foreign Surrogacy
In some situations, undertaking a surrogate pregnancy in your country of residence may not be a viable solution. Some people, such as citizens of France or Germany, don’t have the option of surrogacy at all since the act is classified as illegal in those countries. It means anyone that tries to have a child with a surrogate mother in such nations has no legal custody of that child, and parental rights remain with the surrogate mother.
In other cases, surrogacy may be available in a country, but it might not be the right kind of surrogacy for the preferences of the hopeful couple. In the United Kingdom, “altruistic” or “compassionate” surrogacy is legal. What this means, however, is that surrogate mothers only receive financial support for their living and medical expenses, which means they are essentially volunteering to become pregnant.
Compensated surrogacies, on the other hand, provide significant financial recognition of the surrogate mother’s role. In nations or states/provinces where compensated surrogacies are legal, there is a much larger pool of available candidates for surrogate motherhood, due to the financial incentives now involved. For people who want a broader range of choices, if they live in a country where only altruistic surrogacies are legal, undertaking the surrogacy process in a foreign country gives them more of the choices and options they’re looking for.
The Big Difference
Couples that decide to go the route of traveling for the surrogacy process in a foreign country now have many additional factors to consider. The biggest, of course, is the time and expense of travel. Finding a surrogate mother for a successful surrogacy should, rightfully, be a time-consuming process. The couple must be comfortable with the potential surrogate mother, and vice versa. This requires many meetings to ensure that everyone is comfortable, compatible and sharing the same goals. For surrogacy that takes place in the same city, this isn’t a big impediment, so the couple can visit with the surrogate candidates anytime they like.
Much planning has to occur for the same decision to be made in another country. In such cases, there may even be language barriers. It’s not unusual for a French couple, for example, to find that a surrogate mother in Georgia doesn’t speak French.
This also means that visits have to be more carefully planned because there should be periodic checks. It’s both unreasonable and unfair for a hopeful couple to only travel to find a surrogate mother, and then arrive when a baby is due. Scheduling trips to meet and support the surrogate mother is an essential part of the surrogacy process in a foreign country.
A big consideration for some may also be the legal status of the child. Depending on which country of residence a new family intends to return to, coming back with a new baby may be simple, and have citizenship automatically granted to the new child, or it may be far more restrictive. There are some countries where a couple that leaves and then attempts to reenter with a new child may find that the country refuses to grant citizenship to that child, and thus the baby is in a “stateless” political status, with no rights or protections of citizenship from anywhere.
For the surrogacy process in a foreign country to go smoothly, it’s important to either research what the laws are in your own country of residence regarding surrogate children, or work with an experienced foreign surrogacy center. In many cases, the surrogacy process in a foreign country is made easier by a surrogacy center that works with foreign clients and has the legal department or contacts to ensure questions of citizenship and rights are already addressed to prevent any unpleasant surprises upon return.