The idea of surrogacy is an old one by historical standards. For centuries, different couples in different cultures had sometimes turned to a surrogate mother as a way to have a child when the actual couple was, for whatever reason, unable to do so themselves. So while surrogacy and surrogate mothers are not the most common occurrence in the world when it comes to having children, the idea is far from new.
The vast majority of couples that choose surrogacy instead of natural childbirth do so to circumvent certain obstacles. In some cases, there may be medical issues that add health risks for the potential mother, baby, or both. In other instances, natural childbirth may no longer be possible, such as mothers that have had their uterus surgically removed, or same-sex male couples, for which neither partner is biologically capable of becoming pregnant.
Surrogacy today, however, is both much more complex, and much more accessible than it has ever been in history. However, surrogacy, like national culture, is not the same everywhere, sometimes not even in different parts of the same country. It’s for this reason that for some couples, an international surrogacy center may be the ideal solution.
What Is An International Surrogacy Center?
An International surrogacy center is a clinic or surrogacy organization that is not only willing but legally allowed to accept clients from other parts of the world. As a result, international surrogacy centers may get couples from France, or Germany, China, or Brazil; nationality is not an issue.
This usually means that international surrogacy centers, as a result of their focus, also can deal with and anticipate the needs of hopeful families coming from other countries. They can handle their language requirements, as well as the many different legal situations that a newborn child may encounter when it comes to citizenship upon returning to the actual, intended country of origin.
Why Go International?
There are a few different reasons why hopeful couples might consider going to an international surrogacy center to work with a surrogate mother. The first and most pressing concern is that in their country of origin, surrogacy of any kind is illegal. This means that should a couple decide to engage a surrogate mother in their own country when the child is born the surrogate mother is recognized as the legal mother and guardian of the infant, and she retains legal custody rights of the child. Countries like France and Germany have outlawed any form of surrogacy, whether it is compassionate, or compensated.
In other legal situations, hopeful parents may choose to go to an international surrogacy center because they want legal peace of mind. While some countries like France, Germany, and even some regions, such as the Canadian province of Quebec, have all outlawed surrogacy, other places exist in “legal limbo.” Ireland, for example, has no laws about surrogacy one way or the other. This means that while it’s not technically illegal, there are no legal mechanisms in place either to recognize or assert the rights of the hopeful parents. However, going to another country, with international surrogacy centers, means that within those borders, national laws fully recognize the rights of hopeful parents. Georgia, for example, has laws in place specifically protecting hopeful parent rights once contracts are in place, just like with any legal transaction.
Even when surrogacy is legal in a country, state, or province, sometimes the type of surrogacy that is legal is not the type of surrogacy that a hopeful family wants. In many countries where surrogacy is legal, it is only “compassionate” or “altruistic” surrogacy that recognized. This means that the surrogate mother is usually only provided the funds to cover living and medical expenses while pregnant, and nothing else. This type of surrogacy requires an enormous amount of commitment and personal sacrifice, and so the pool of willing candidates is much smaller.
The other form of surrogacy is known as “compensated” surrogacy. With this type of surrogacy, the enormous commitment the surrogate mother is making is financially recognized. In other words, in addition to living and medical expenses, she profits from the surrogacy, just as if she were being paid in exchange for providing an important service.
If you decide to engage the services of an international surrogacy center, there is a bit more preparation involved. One of the biggest factors is the travel and time involved. You won’t be required to go abroad for nine months of pregnancy with a chosen surrogate mother, but you will have to factor in traveling to negotiate with the center. You’ll need to select and meet candidates, picking a surrogate, and taking any other extra considerations into account, such as the transport of cryogenically frozen egg or sperm if this is desired for a gestational surrogacy. In the end, a good international surrogacy center will have services in place to help with this.