All You Need to Know About Completing a Surrogacy in Mexico

As an intended parent, you may be considering a surrogacy in Mexico. What should you know about the process before starting?

Up until recently, if an American intended parent wanted to go abroad for their surrogacy process, they didn’t have to go very far — just south of the border to Mexico. Here, international intended parents could add a child to their family in a less expensive way than if they had stayed in the United States.

Surrogacy in Mexico has been and still is regulated by state law, rather than federal law — just like in the United States. For years, Tabasco was the go-to state for international intended parents, for it was the only state where surrogacy in Mexico was legal.

However, surrogacy in Mexico soon went the way of other international surrogacy programs, enacting new regulations that limited exactly who could enter into a surrogacy agreement within the state of Tabasco. Before you pursue a Mexican surrogacy, it’s important you understand what these restrictions and regulations mean for you.

Is Surrogacy Legal in Mexico?

Since 1997, surrogacy has been legal in Tabasco, Mexico, because of a modification in the state’s civil code. It stated that a child born from a surrogate mother would legally belong to the parent who contracted the birth. No more detailed regulations for the Mexican surrogacy process were enacted.

In response to growing controversies in surrogacy programs around the world, the Tabasco government recognized the need for safe surrogacy regulations in 2016. That year, new laws banned international intended parents from completing a surrogacy in Mexico. Mexican LGBT individuals and couples and heterosexual singles were also prohibited from the surrogacy process.

Today, only heterosexual couples with Mexican citizenship, between the age of 25 and 40, who can prove their inability to carry a pregnancy, are allowed to pursue surrogacy in Mexico.

Therefore, international intended parents who wish to pursue surrogacy in Mexico would be doing so illegally.

Why Has Mexican Surrogacy Been Banned?

The lack of regulations when the surrogacy process was first legalized led to many risks and complications for surrogacies in Mexico. As the number of international intended parents coming to Mexico skyrocketed, surrogacy professionals could not keep up with the demand, and protections for intended parents and surrogates began to fall by the wayside.

Surrogacy in Mexico was plagued with many of the controversies that other international programs experienced: no regulations for surrogate compensation, unlicensed clinics and fertility specialists, “baby factories” where surrogates were kept until giving birth, higher mortality rate in childbirth and more. Despite these risks, many women turned to surrogacy for the financial gain, with some getting pregnant year after year — and falling victim to the medical risks involved.

While surrogacy in Mexico did not have as high-profile cases like Thailand did with the “Baby Gammy” case, Mexican officials recognized the potential for these situations in an unregulated surrogacy process. Therefore, the Mexican surrogacy restrictions were passed shortly after those international scandals made headlines around the world.

Will Mexican Surrogacy Ever Be Legal Again?

It’s difficult to say whether Mexican legislators will allow international intended parents the chance to pursue surrogacy in this country again but, because the restrictions are so recent, it’s reasonable to expect more time before the laws are revisited again.

Those who were pursuing surrogacy in Mexico at the time these restrictions were enacted were given a nine-month delay in order to obtain a proper birth certificate for their child. However, while there were some intended parents with pregnant surrogates at the time, others were still in the early stages of the process — meaning they needed more than nine months to successfully complete their surrogacy in Mexico. The New York Times reported that an estimated 100 babies were still expected to be born even a year into the surrogacy ban.

For intended parents in that situation and for those still awaiting papers for their newborns, the only option was to sue the Mexican government. There are many families still in this process, and their future remains uncertain.

If you’re thinking about pursuing surrogacy in Mexico, do so with caution. There are still some surrogacy agencies in Mexico that operate with intended parents from the U.S., using a combination of IVF treatments in Mexico with a birth in the U.S. to reduce costs involved. If you are interested in working with one of these professionals, make sure they clearly lay out the legal protections you and your surrogate will be given, as well as how the legal process will work. Building a family is an important process — and it’s not one to be left up to chance and risk.

That’s why one of the best places to pursue a surrogacy is actually in the United States, where you can find multiple surrogacy-friendly states for protection for you and your surrogate during the process. Unlike in Mexico and other countries, the surrogacy laws in the U.S. aren’t as likely to change quickly, which means you can pursue a safer surrogacy process as an intended parent.

Wherever you decide to pursue surrogacy, make sure you speak with an experienced surrogacy agency to learn more about what options are available to you.

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