Not All Surrogacy Agencies Abroad Are The Same

For most couples worldwide, once a lifelong relationship has been established, it’s natural to want to take the next step and begin a new life together as a family. There is the usual route for this journey is the traditional one, where the woman becomes pregnant, and nine months later their beautiful baby is delivered, and so is a new beginning as a family.

Unfortunately, not every couple has this option. Some same-sex couples, for example, are biologically unable to become pregnant. Some women have medical conditions that would put both themselves and their baby at a high degree of risk if a pregnancy is attempted. Some women can no longer bear children because life-saving surgeries, such as a hysterectomy to fight specific types of cancer, have surgically removed the womb.

Of course, this doesn’t mean these couples can’t start families, but it does mean there are more challenges ahead to make the dream come true. One alternative, especially for those that want a newborn of their own, is to choose surrogacy. This is where another woman agrees to become pregnant on behalf of a hopeful couple and, when the baby is born, units that infant with the intended family so their new life can begin together.

Going Abroad

Finding a surrogate mother can be a challenging task. For some, the odds of a successful surrogacy are better met by choosing to travel to another country and work with a surrogacy agency there. But why would couples decide to do this?

There are several reasons, including matters of cost, such as taking advantage of differences in currency to get more value for money. Or reasons of choice, such as wanting a bigger possible range of suitable surrogate candidates when options are more limited in your own country due to legal restrictions, such as only allowing altruistic instead of compensated surrogacies. However, choosing to go abroad, while an ideal solution for some, does mean considering some extra factors, such as choosing the right surrogacy agency to work with.

Levels Of Service

One of the biggest differentiators for surrogacy agencies abroad is how comprehensive the service may be. As with many things in life, surrogacy agencies operate on a “you get what you pay for” basis, so if you see a surrogacy agency that has a huge range of different services available to couples but is charging less than what other similar services in the same country offer, approach with extreme caution.

At the baseline, a good surrogacy agency abroad will understand that a hopeful family’s primary concern is finding a suitable surrogate mother candidate. This is one of the most important steps in the surrogacy journey, and nothing else can happen without this first phase coming to completion. At a minimum, a surrogacy agency should have the knowledge and experience to help couples find a woman willing to partner with them in this journey that has been medically evaluated to be suitable for pregnancy, in addition to having already successfully given birth at least once before. Hence, she understands the journey ahead and is prepared for it.

However, at higher levels, surrogacy agencies can offer additional services than just this. Other ways agencies can help couples include.

Alliances With Fertility Clinics

While finding a suitable surrogate mother candidate is important, another equally important factor is the impregnation process, which can be complex, depending on the needs of the hopeful family. For example, some hopeful families will want a “true genetic descendant” that carries the DNA of the hopeful father and the hopeful mother. Traditional surrogacy uses artificial insemination, so only the DNA of the hopeful father—or a donor—is present, while the DNA of the surrogate mother is used because her own egg is fertilized.

However, through the In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF procedure, these couples can have their dreams come true with advanced medical assistance. The egg of the hopeful mother and the sperm of the hopeful father is introduced in a laboratory setting. Once fertilization has been confirmed, the egg is implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus. While it is her body that carries the growing baby to term, the work of the IVF clinic has made it possible for the baby to be exactly 50% of the hopeful mother and 50% of the hopeful father so that, at a genetic level, the child is a direct descendant of the parents, exactly as in a traditional birth.

Legal Assistance

Another way that more comprehensive surrogacy agencies can also work with hopeful parents from abroad is by helping with the legal protocols involved in surrogate births. Upon the parent’s return, children returning to a country of residence with their biological mother are automatically awarded citizenship.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with surrogate babies, so certain legal measures must be taken depending on the country of residence a family is returning to. If these protocols are not observed, a child may not be granted citizenship and is thus “stateless” and not allowed to enter the country of residence.

Depending on how much assistance hopeful parents feel they need, it’s important to look for a surrogacy agency that offers the services they want.