Surrogacy abroad

8 August 2019

If surrogacy in the UK is not an option for you due to the inability to find a surrogate or the potential delay in moving your surrogacy journey forward, certain countries allow foreigners to undergo the surrogacy process there.  Below we set out a brief summary of five countries that are popular surrogacy destinations for UK intended parents.  If you intend to bring your baby back to the UK, regardless of the foreign country you choose for surrogacy, you will need to obtain a Parental Order to be recognised in the UK as the child's legal parents.  We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to seek advice on which country is best for you before starting the process.

USA -  The USA is the gold standard for overseas surrogacy.  Commercial surrogacy is not legal in all states and therefore you need to carefully research which state is best for you.  Commercial surrogacy is well established in the USA and most commonly an agency will match you with a surrogate and guide you through the medical, legal and emotional journey.  Many states opt to use the pre-birth system which, as well as ensuring surrogacy agreements are legally enforceable, will also mean that the intended parents are named as the legal parents on the US birth certificate at the outset.  In many states surrogacy is open to foreign and domestic heterosexual, homosexual, married, unmarried and single people.  The USA is one of the most expensive surrogacy destinations.

Canada – In most Canadian provinces, surrogacy is legal.  However, commercial surrogacy agencies as well as compensation (or an offer of compensation) to a surrogate are prohibited and, in this sense, it is a fairly similar system to the UK albeit that there are more surrogates available.  Canada is a relatively new market to foreigners and the most surrogacy friendly states are British Columbia and Ontario.  There is no pre-birth system like there is in the USA and instead intended parents must seek a declaration of parentage from the courts after the child has been born which recognises them as the legal parents.  The intended parents can then use this court order to obtain a birth certificate naming them as the parents.  Canada is a cheaper alternative to the USA.

Ukraine – Surrogacy in Ukraine is legal and regulated with surrogacy agreements being legally enforceable.  The intended parents are recognised as the legal parents from the moment of conception and the birth certificate will name the intended parents as the legal parents with the surrogate having no parental rights.  Additionally, Ukraine adopt strict criteria that any surrogate must meet.  Only heterosexual married couples can pursue surrogacy in Ukraine and at least one of them must be genetically related to the child.  Surrogacy in the Ukraine is more affordable than the USA or Canada and is on par with Georgia.

Georgia – Commercial surrogacy has been legal in Georgia since 1992.  Intended parents must be in a heterosexual couple although there is no requirement for either of them to be genetically related to the child.  The birth certificate will name the intended parents as the legal parents of the child.  The surrogate will not be recognised as a legal parent.  The costs of surrogacy in Georgia are similar to those in Ukraine.

Colombia – Colombia is a new surrogacy destination and is growing in popularity thanks to its world class medical facilities.  Whilst there is no express prohibition of surrogacy agreements or arrangements, there is also no specific legislation that allows surrogacy.  Instead, the relevant laws are found in the constitution which essentially states that foreigners have the same rights as nationals, discrimination is prohibited and children have a right to a family and a right not to be separated from it.  This has been interpreted by the Colombian courts to allow foreigners, both same-sex and heterosexual, to go through surrogacy in Colombia.  Despite calls for the law on surrogacy to be clarified this has still not happened and, recently, certain politicians are calling for it to be prohibited.  As with Canada, intended parents can only apply to be recognised as the legal parents after the child is born.  Colombia offers an affordable option for foreigners but there is a certain level of risk involved.

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