International vs. Domestic Surrogacy: The process for IPs that are overseas versus located in the US

If you are intended parents considering surrogacy, whether you live in the US or elsewhere, you need to know the basic lay of the land as far as the law is concerned. Is surrogacy legal in the state your proposed surrogate resides? Even within the United States there are some states that are not considered surrogate friendly. For International intended parents, there is an extra layer of scrutiny: is surrogacy allowed where you live? Will you be able to easily take your child home after the birth? It is important to understand your ability and the process to be recognized as the legal parents of your baby.

If you live outside the United States, it is also vital to understand related laws in your home country. You will need to find a knowledgeable attorney in your home jurisdiction to answer such questions as: Will you be recognized as parents of your child in your home country? Will there be any issues with your child’s registration or citizenship? Will one of you need to adopt the child in your home country? Does your home country recognize pre-birth orders or will only a post-birth order do?

The good news: the legality of surrogacy is going in a positive direction in the United Sates!!! Recently 3 jurisdictions have changed their anti-surrogacy laws to now permit compensated surrogacy: Washington State, Washington D.C. and New Jersey. If you are using a surrogate in the US, the laws of the surrogate’s home residence are important, as that is where your child will most likely be born and where you will obtain the court order specifying that your names should go on the baby’s birth certificate as his or her parents. Creative Family Connections has a great map that helps explain surrogacy laws by state. New Mexico is a surrogacy-friendly state, and parentage orders are easily granted, thus making New Mexico a great place to find a surrogate.

OK. You have picked an enchanted state like New Mexico to find a surrogate, so now you need to know the laws in your country if you are the intended parents. In contrast to the US, many countries around the world do not permit surrogacy or place restrictions on surrogacy that make it much less accessible. This can affect intended parents from that country, even if their surrogate and the surrogacy arrangement is in the United States. Even in some European countries you may have trouble establishing parentage in the home country if proper precautions aren’t taken. Make sure to consult legal counsel in your home country, as Intended Parents, in order to establish parentage for yourself and citizenship for your child once you return home after using the surrogacy process. 

Distance is another significant difference for international intended parents vs domestic. Non-US intended parents planning to consider partnering with a US surrogate must consider how involved they want to be during the surrogacy and pregnancy process. Domestic intended parents are more able to attend the transfer, several OB visits and, of course, the birth of the child. International intended parents may only be able to attend the birth, and even that, due to the unpredictability of labor and birth, may not happen. Plan ahead of time, and establish expectations for communication and involvement.

International intended parents should plan to be in the United States for at least two to four week before and several weeks (some agencies advise six weeks) after the birth in order to obtain the birth certificate and passport for the baby before being able to return home with their new bundle of joy. International intended parents will also need to budget for newborn health insurance for the baby’s time receiving medical care in the United States at and after the birth. There may be additional fees for translation, and the process may take longer due to language, time zones and other cultural differences. 

New Mexico Surrogacy works with international intended parents, and we would love to help you through the surrogacy process.