Surrogacy Laws by Country – Where Is It Legal?

By Babygest Staff
Last Update: 11/19/2019

Surrogacy, commonly referred to as surrogate motherhood or even womb for hire, is a practice allowed only in a few countries around the globe. For this reason, prospective parents from anywhere in the world decide to have a baby via surrogacy in a foreign country, and therefore fulfill their dream of becoming parents.

Unfortunately, there is no global law that regulates surrogacy worldwide. For this reason, we are committed to providing an extensive guide where countries are classified into two groups, depending on whether they allow or forbid surrogacy arrangements.

Countries where surrogacy is allowed

Surrogacy is permitted only in those countries where there is a law that explicitly allows this fertility treatment.

Even though the regulations governing surrogacy arrangements vary from country to country, a law that is favorable to this procedure is one that clearly establishes the conditions and the requirements for complying with it, including aspects such as the types of family structures that have access to it, the establishment of parentage, and the rights and obligations of the intended parents and the surrogate.

Examples of countries allowing surrogacy nowadays include the United States of America, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Georgia, Portugal, Canada and the Netherlands. In all of them, surrogacy is allowed to foreign citizens, too.

Surrogacy is the most challenging of all fertility treatments. For this reason, it's crucial that you rely on well-versed professionals. Therefore, we recommend you to visit this article to read some tips before getting into this process.

In the USA, for instance, there is no federal law permitting surrogacy to all US citizens—it varies from state to state. However, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington DC, and West Virginia do allow surrogacy arrangements, either by law or case law.

It is essential to review the laws of each country, even if it is your home country, before getting started to make sure that you meet all the requirements, and it is done within the legal framework.

Broadly speaking, we can say that gay couples and single men have a narrow range of options to become parents through surrogacy—only the Canadian law and some US states have envisaged these family types as prospective parents. Anyone entering into a surrogacy agreement in countries other than Canada or the USA is at risk of encountering a number of legal hurdles, especially when being recognized as the legal parents of the child.

Countries where surrogacy is not permitted to international families

In most parts of Europe, surrogacy is an illegal procedure. While the law explicitly forbids it in some countries, others do not mention surrogacy as an option to become parents at all. Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Estonia, and Moldavia are some examples.

Europe is not the only continent where the vast majority of countries ban surrogacy arrangements. In Asia, for example, it is not permitted in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and Japan. And the same applies to some US states in spite of the country's popularity as a lax destination for surrogacy overseas. New York, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, and North Dakota are some examples.

In fact, for some US states, including New York, surrogacy is punishable by law, and those who enter into a surrogacy arrangement—both surrogates/gestational carriers, and commissioning parents—are subject to a fine or imprisonment, as well as any other party that intermediates in a surrogacy arrangement to some extent.

Finally, Mexico has been included in this group despite two Mexican states allow surrogacy for residentes: Tabasco and Sinaloa. Until recently, foreign citizens were allowed to have a surrogate baby in Mexico. However, this is not allowed anymore after the law was amended in 2015, establishing that access was not allowed to non-residents or to those who don't meet certain criteria.

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