International Surrogacy Law

Understanding How the Law Impacts You

The number of intended parents looking to start a family with the help of an international surrogate has been steadily on the rise for more than a decade. This has prompted foreign governments and human rights groups alike to scrutinize how surrogacy affects the intent to seek or establish citizenship in a country.

Laws surrounding surrogacy − which vary from state to state in the U.S. and nation to nation across the world – range from total prohibition to partial or full acceptance. While some countries fail to recognize children who are born abroad through surrogacy as nationals, tides appear to be turning. 

The European Court of Human Rights has handed down unanimous decisions in France and Spain declaring that children born of an international surrogate cannot be denied citizenship within their home countries. Germany has issued similar legislation stating that children born via foreign surrogates must be legally recognized as the offspring of their intended parents. However, a recent ruling in Germany ruled in favor of intended parents.

The Hague, a private international law convention working to find answers to global legal questions, has been looking into the process of international surrogacy through its “Parentage/ Surrogacy Project.” The ongoing project continues to address the needs and issues arising from the influx of global surrogacy. The main interest of the convention is to protect the well-being and safety of children born to an international surrogate as well as international regulation of surrogacy.

Where Is Surrogacy Prohibited?

Some countries completely outlaw all types of surrogacy, even if the surrogate is not paid or only reimbursed for reasonable expenses. These countries include:

  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Nepal
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Where Is Surrogacy Not Regulated?

Some countries do not have formal laws prohibiting surrogacy but also do not regulate the process. These include:

  • Kenya
  • Malaysia
  • Nigeria

Where Is Surrogacy Popular?

Countries around the world where surrogacy is not regulated but considered “surrogacy friendly” include:

  • Georgia
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine

Where Is Surrogacy Regulated?

In the United States, surrogacy laws fall under the jurisdiction of each of the 50 states, so they vary greatly.  

Working with Surrogates in the U.S.

Because surrogacy is prohibited in many countries, individuals and couples seeking to build and grow a family of their own choose the United States. Depending on your nation of residence, you will need to follow a variety of guidelines should you choose this path. It is important that you seek council from both a lawyer familiar with surrogacy law in your home country as well as in America.

Growing Generations works with International Reproductive Law Group (IRLG), based out of Los Angeles, California, for the majority of our legal dealings. These lawyers are well-versed in United States surrogacy laws and often the laws of other countries including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and more. If you are not a resident of the United States, they will be able to put you in contact with respected attorneys in your country to manage any issues that may arise there.

When you work with IRLG, your contract will be tailored to meet the legal needs of your home country as well as those of the state in which your child will be born. There is no such thing as a “stock” or “standard” contract.  

Growing Generations and IRLG will be with you every step of the surrogacy process. From drawing up your surrogate contracts to assisting with passport preparation and birth orders, you will have comprehensive legal coverage. We even provide multi-lingual employees to help you communicate between you and your surrogate. Let us show you how surrogacy works when you work with Growing Generations.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.