Not every couple can start a family the conventional way, with a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth to a child nine months later. For some, there are serious obstacles, like a condition that puts both woman and child at serious health risk. Others may be medically incapable of becoming pregnant because life-saving surgeries to fight cancer require the removal of the uterus and, thus, any ability to conceive.
For these hopeful families, surrogacy, where another woman agrees to become pregnant on their behalf, is one alternative to making their dreams come true. However, many people who undertake this journey choose to travel to a country other than their own to find a surrogate mother to partner with. There are often several reasons for this, such as cost factors or wanting more choices, but not all countries are the same when it comes to surrogacy. In fact, some countries, such as France and Germany, have completely outlawed surrogacy.
This is one reason why it’s important for couples considering going abroad to research their countries of choice carefully. But some nations have more reliability than others. This, however, comes with certain conditions.
The United States
Of course, one of the most advanced nations on Earth is also one of the most reliable regarding surrogacy, but some very strict caveats are attached to the recommendation. Unlike most nations, the USA has strong territorial laws, with state governments determining many factors. So, people considering the United States for its reliability must also be careful about which states they choose to undertake surrogacy in. For example, couples that make the mistake of going to Arizona will find that this state actively bans surrogacy so that no contracts will be respected. The surrogate mother will likely be considered the legal parent of the newborn.
On the other hand, California has very strong surrogacy laws that protect the rights of hopeful parents, provided that California state laws are observed during the pregnancy. Here, it is important to draw up contracts in compliance with California law regarding surrogacy. As long as that requirement is met, couples will have no issue asserting parental and custody rights of a newborn. States like California also allow for compensated or “commercial” surrogacy. This means surrogate mothers receive ample compensation for their role in the journey, versus “altruistic surrogacy,” which is a voluntary role with no financial recognition other than covering certain expenses, such as medical costs.
Aside from certain states allowing compensated surrogacies that provide a greater range of choices, one of the biggest reasons to choose the United States is the unparalleled medical support. Again, this is a matter of selecting the right states with the right facilities, such as California or New York State, but if you are concerned with getting world-class medical support and treatment during your surrogacy journey, the United States sits at the top of the list.
As expected, however, all of this comes at a cost, in this case, a high financial price. While the United States can provide world-class care, the strength of the American dollar on American soil also means that this is the most expensive option for people and will require significant financial investment. It’s for this reason that while the wealthy may opt for the United States for their surrogacy needs, it’s not unusual for Americans themselves to seek countries abroad and use their American dollars elsewhere to obtain that which they could not afford at home. Countries that provide similar levels of support for less cost include:
In Europe, one of the countries that has shown a progressive stance toward surrogacy has been Ukraine. Unlike the United States, where there is no varying territorial law, Ukraine has a single, national constitutional interpretation of parental rights protecting hopeful parents’ custody. It is also one of the more successful former Soviet states to join the rest of the European community, enjoying a high standard of health care, which extends to its treatment of surrogate mothers.
Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle to Ukraine as a choice is the war currently being waged in the nation. If, at some point, the conflict ends and normal life is restored to the country, it will once again be an excellent choice.
Located in Eastern Europe, Georgia is similar to Ukraine because it has access to advanced, world-class medical staff and facilities. It also has a more recently drafted constitution in which consideration for surrogacy custody issues has been clearly defined to protect hopeful parents.
Georgia and Ukraine are similar in that while they offer a high level of reliability, one caveat is that only heterosexual couples may be granted surrogacy services. Same-sex couples must look to other countries if they wish to undertake the surrogacy journey. That restriction aside, however, Georgia is not a member of the European Union and still operates on its own currency, which can make those wishing to spend American dollars enjoy even greater financial flexibility.