What to Know About Being a Surrogate for an International Couple

Key Points:
  • International intended parents are coming to the U.S. to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents through surrogacy.
  • There are many questions you should consider before becoming a surrogate for an international couple.
  • There are different surrogacy professionals who can help you find an international couple to carry for.

When you first decide to become a surrogate, you have a big decision to make: What kind of intended parents do you want to carry for?

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As a gestational carrier, you have the right to choose the intended parents for whom you carry a child. After all, these will be the people that you will partner with for a year or more in their journey to become parents. It’s not a decision you can make overnight.

If you’ve come to this article, you are likely thinking about carrying for international intended parents. This path comes with many pros and cons, so proper research ahead of time is crucial.

Why are International Intended Parents Coming to the U.S.?

The United States is a popular destination for international intended parents — for several reasons.

Although there are no federal laws regulating surrogacy in the U.S., many states offer a safe and legal path for intended parents to build their family. On the other hand, many countries around the world have either prohibited surrogacy or set strict regulations that make it near impossible. In many countries, compensated surrogacy is illegal, and intended parents must have a family member who is willing to carry for them altruistically.

International LGBT intended parents often face even more challenges. Gay marriage is illegal in many countries, and some countries have even criminalized homosexuality. For this reason, many LGBT intended parents can’t complete surrogacy in their own country — or, if they can, cannot properly establish their rights to their child because of their marital status.

People who are looking to safely and ethically add a child to their family often have no other choice than to work with a surrogate in the United States. This way, they know that their surrogate is being properly compensated for her services and that their own rights will be protected when their baby is born. Surrogacy within the United States is often the best path for international would-be parents.

What Should You Consider Before Becoming a Surrogate for an International Couple?

Choosing intended parents for your surrogacy journey is a big deal — whether they are located domestically or internationally. There are a lot of questions you should ask before finding the perfect surrogacy partner but, if you’re considering working with an international couple, there are a few specific things you should consider:

  • Long-distance contact: While many surrogates are matched with long-distance intended parents in the U.S., there’s a whole new level of distance involved when working with intended parents in another country. You may be dealing with difficult time zones, and it may be hard to find a way to communicate that doesn’t incur long distance charges. Many surrogacy partners find ways around these challenges, but it’s important to consider that you won’t just be able to pick up the phone and call your intended parents whenever like you would with a domestic surrogacy.
  • Distance, in case of emergency: Similarly, because your intended parents live so far away, they may not be able to get to you (and the baby) as quickly as possible if something unexpected occurs. Most international intended parents will arrive before your due date to ensure they are there for the birth of their child, but surprises happen. Be comfortable with the fact that you might be dealing with unexpected occurrences on your own as the intended parents make their way to you.
  • Language barriers: Some intended parents may not speak your language. While your surrogacy professional should provide a translator, these challenges can make it harder to connect with your intended parents and really get to know them.
  • Lack of contact after completed surrogacy: Not all surrogates and intended parents in the U.S. continue their relationship after the surrogacy is complete. The same is true for international intended parents. But, it’s much more likely that your intended parents will return to their home country and not stay in contact much after their baby is born. If you want a solid post-surrogacy relationship with your intended parents, working with an international couple may not be right for you.

How Can You Find an International Couple to Carry For?

Have you decided that an international couple might be right for you? It’s time to start locating your perfect match.

There are two main ways you can do this: on your own or with an agency. Finding intended parents independently will require a lot of work on your part; you’ll need to search through forums and online ads, initiate contact with potential intended parents, and make sure that they meet all of your preferences before moving forward.

If you work with a surrogacy agency, all of those steps are handled by your professional. Your professional will present a list of potential intended parents based on your preferences, and each of them will be already screened and approved for the surrogacy process. Your specialist will also help mediate your initial conversations and provide a translator when needed.


Surrogacy agencies can typically help you find highly qualified intended parents within an average of 30-90 days.

Surrogates who want to carry for international intended parents should seek out agencies who specifically work with international couples. Here are a few to choose from:

Still not sure whether domestic or international intended parents are right for your journey? Speak with a surrogacy professional today to get more information about the pros and cons of each path to make the best decision for your family.

Male and Female couple smiling with surrogate mother
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