Like other intended parents, if you’re considering surrogacy, you may have heard about the potential benefits of an international surrogacy — that is, one completed outside of the United States. If this is the case, you may be wondering as an LGBT individual: What are some gay surrogacy countries where the process is legal?
You can contact a surrogacy professional today to get more information about completing a gay surrogacy in other countries.
Unfortunately, the legal landscape for international surrogacy grows more restrictive by the day and, while you may have had previous international options for surrogacy, many of those are either restricted for non-nationals or completely banned today. Add to that the fact that many countries around the world do not recognize same-sex marriage or LGBT parenting, and your options for an LGBT international surrogacy are much less available than you may have been led to believe.
It’s important to note that, as parents, you are not just defined by your sexual orientation; loving parents are loving parents, regardless of gender or sexuality. Terms like “gay parents” or “gay surrogacy” may not represent your preferred language or gender identity, and our use of these terms may even seem odd, insensitive or unnecessary to you. You can learn more about these language choices here.
The History and Challenges of Completing an LGBT International Surrogacy
Surrogacy has been a rapidly changing and continually advancing family-building method over the last couple of decades. In many countries and states, governments had been unable to keep up to properly regulate and legalize the process — until now.
In the past, it was common for intended parents of all sexual orientation and gender identity to go abroad to complete their surrogacy process outside of the United States. A lack of regulation and legislation often offered them more flexibility and brought down the costs involved (although there were always additional legal risks for the same reason). At the time, it seemed like a perfectly ethical and effective way to have a child via surrogacy, even for LGBT individuals. While they may not have been able to jointly claim parental rights in the country where their child was born, there were usually not laws outlawing the surrogacy process to them
However, as time went on, it became clear that international surrogacy did not always respect the rights of the surrogates and intended parents involved. Many surrogates did not receive the compensation and care they deserved, intended parents were continually caught up in legal battles involving parental rights, and more events occurred that brought the ethical complications of international surrogacy to light. In response, many countries that had previously not regulated the process began to implement severe restrictions or bans aimed at international intended parents.
An LGBT international surrogacy was hard enough to complete without these new restrictions, many of which recently outlawed surrogacy for LGBT individuals and couples (more on that below). Because many of these countries did not did not recognize gay marriage or relationships, both parents usually could not claim parental rights at their child’s birth. They would have to complete a stepparent or second parent adoption when they arrived back in the U.S. — that was, after they met all the legal requirements to bring an “adopted” child into the country. And, while there are no statistics on this, it’s reasonable to assume that fewer surrogates were available to LGBT couples because of different cultures’ views of same-sex relationships.
Therefore, the new laws on international surrogacy did not make it easier for LGBT couples to complete an international surrogacy.
What Are the International LGBT Surrogacy Laws Today?
Today, due to new bans on international surrogacy, international intended parents of all sexual orientations and gender identities have very limited options for an ethical international surrogacy. Many domestic LGBT intended parents also experience new restrictions in those locations, as many countries made it illegal for all LGBT individuals to complete the surrogacy process.
Here are the current laws on gay surrogacy by country, looking at those which used to be popular international surrogacy destinations:
- Gay Surrogacy in India: Illegal for domestic homosexual couples and all foreigners.
- Gay Surrogacy in Mexico: Illegal for foreigners and domestic homosexual couples.
- Gay Surrogacy in Nepal: Illegal for all intended parents, domestic and foreign.
- Gay Surrogacy in New Zealand: Compensated surrogacy is illegal, and altruistic surrogacy contracts cannot be enforced. Any LGBT surrogacy completed would not name both parents on a birth certificate and comes with other legal risks.
- Gay Surrogacy in Australia: Surrogacy laws vary by state, but in most cases, compensated surrogacy is illegal. Laws are currently under review.
- Gay Surrogacy in Thailand: Illegal for foreigners and unmarried Thai individuals. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Thailand.
- Gay Surrogacy in the K.: LGBT couples can complete a surrogacy, although it must be altruistic and managed entirely by intended parents.
LGBT surrogacy laws are still under revision in many countries around the world, which offers the possibility that intended parents could run into legal complications if laws were suddenly to change — risking their rights to their child, their money invested and more. This is an important consideration for all LGBT intended parents to consider before moving forward with an international surrogacy.
Why the U.S. is the Best Choice for Gay Couples Considering Surrogacy
Clearly, international surrogacy for LGBT intended parents can be a risky endeavor — which is why so many intended parents in the U.S. and abroad choose the legal protections of an American surrogacy, instead. While this process may incur additional expenses, it’s because it’s a much safer process legally, medically and practically.
The surrogacy laws in the United States are much more LGBT-friendly than other countries, and there is a clear path for establishing parental rights for a child born via surrogacy. In addition, there are plenty of LGBT-friendly surrogacy agencies that will help you find a surrogate excited to work with LGBT intended parents and will make sure you feel comfortable and advocated for throughout the entire surrogacy process. There are many reasons why foreign and domestic LGBT intended parents choose to complete their surrogacy in the U.S. — and these are just a few of them.
Surrogacy in the United States also offers advantages for all intended parents, regardless of their sexual orientation:
- They can be a physical presence during their child development and attend doctor’s appointments.
- They can create an intimate friendship with their surrogate in an easy manner.
- They can receive unparalleled medical and practical support from experienced surrogacy professionals.
- And more.
To learn more about the benefits of completing an LGBT surrogacy in the U.S. rather than abroad, we encourage you to contact an LGBT-friendly professional for information on the surrogacy process and the LGBT-specific services they can offer you along the way.