Worldwide surrogacy: an update

Sam Everingham runs Families Through Surrogacy, a not for profit organisation providing advice and support on international surrogacy. Building up to their EU conference in London on 5th March and Dublin on 6th March he gives us a round up of notable changes in worldwide surrogacy. Sam lives is Australia with his partner and twin girls, born through surrogacy


Mexico Remains Open for Foreign Clients

Mexico has had mixed reports as a surrogacy destination in recent years. The state of Tabasco where surrogacy was legal has recently announced its intention to close surrogacy to foreigners. However reports from Mexican fertility lawyers state that the situation remains confused. Tabasco’s Health secretary has resigned and his replacement does not seem to agree with the proposed ban on foreigners. Many close to the situation believe it could be a lengthy period before the law is enacted. As a result, a number of providers continue to offer programs for foreigners in Mexico.

The Mexican state of Quinta Roo for example, where Cancun is situated, remains without any surrogacy laws. So a number of agencies are now scheduling surrogate births to take place in Cancun rather than Tabasco. Under local law, the surrogate’s name must be entered on the birth certificate where gay men are using surrogacy.

CEFAM, one of the major operators, now offers a Mexico/U.S. hybrid program allowing gay commissioning parents to incorporates the most favorable elements from two separate programs into one. A unique panel at our London and Dublin conferences in March will look at these developments in detail.

US IVF Agency offering Hybrid program with Canada

IVF processes in the US are world-class, with very impressive success rates. However the costs of surrogacy in the US can be prohibitively high for many and this has led to intended parents looking to countries where the costs are lower. As a result, and to help protect intended parents, some forward-thinking IVF thought-leaders, such as Surrogacy With Confidence, are working together with surrogacy providers The Fertility Center and Canadian Fertility Consultants to develop a dual-jurisdiction program for intended parents.

The Surrogacy With Confidence hybrid program consists of the IVF component being undertaken in the US and the surrogacy journey happening in Canada. The program aims to keep costs under US$99,000 for those wanting a singleton baby. Other organisations such as the Israel-based Tammuz have previously offered such programs combining India and the US and others have offered programs combing IVF in Cyprus with surrogates in the US but none thus far have combined Canada and the US.

First Surrogacy Babies Born in Cambodia

There has been considerable skepticism about the viability of surrogacy in Cambodia, in the absence of relevant laws protecting surrogates and commissioning parents. In addition, the concept of IVF let alone surrogacy, has been unknown in Cambodia. Just two IVF clinics are operational, but each are very busy coping with the influx of frozen embryos from neighbouring Thailand, as well as Nepal, after each of these markets closed to foreigners.

Many Thai surrogates are reportedly carrying babies following embryo implantation in Phnom Penh and New Life Cambodia has reported its first successful births to both Chinese and American commissioning parents.


Kenya a new destination for Gay Commissioning Parents

The global surrogacy provider New Life has recently opened a surrogacy program in Kenya. The country has no surrogacy laws in place, so just like Cambodia and Nepal, the surrogate’s name will appear on the child’s birth certificate. New Life is utilizing local IVF clinics owned and operated by experienced Indian specialists. Surrogacy including the cost of donor eggs, is reportedly available for approximately £24,200.

The Status of Surrogacy in Nepal

Again 2015 has been a year of upheaval for surrogacy globally. Nepal had risen quickly as a destination, particularly for the gay and de-facto markets locked out of India. However it had done so without protective legislation in place and the Nepalese government only agreed to surrogacy if not only commissioning parents, but surrogates too, were foreigners. With just one or two private Kathmandu hospitals cornering the market on surrogacy births, certain entrepreneurs were charging all they could get away with. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the Nepalese Supreme Court issued an order freezing all new arrangements in September 2015. The ‘stay’ order is according to some sources, likely to end by March 2016, when the Supreme Court may replace this with new regulations. If and when new regulations are published, they are likely to sanction the use of Nepalese surrogates.

Thousands of Embryos Being Shipped from Country to Country

With a number of Asian surrogacy markets closed to foreigners in the last year (India, Thailand, Nepal), thousands of frozen embryos face an uncertain future unless they can be safely shipped elsewhere. Enter the Cryoshipper – a specialist courier company who understand the complex paperwork, storage and legal processes involved in shipping genetic material across borders. These professionals are playing an increasingly important role in surrogacy journeys. Choosing a shoddy operator can easily lead to disaster – incomplete paperwork, embryos turned back at borders, shipping cannisters compromised.

Our March conference will feature two experts from IVF couriers, who have together worked miracles in assisting parents to ship genetic material globally.

Other highlights this year include celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his partner Karl Allen share their experiences of surrogacy in the USA on a parents discussion panel. To read the first part of their journey click here. To see the full programme of talks at this year's Families Through Surrogacy EU conference go to:

For more articles on domestic and international surrogacy use our word cloud above right - just click on the word surrogacy to see a list.



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