There are some countries where surrogacy is legal — but only on a “altruistic” basis. In Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands, residents can use a surrogate to carry their pregnancy, but she cannot be paid more than personal expenses. It is also illegal for professional consultants (like Sensible Surrogacy) to arrange surrogacy agreements or advise parents on the process.
In other countries (including most of Europe and South America) it is absolutely illegal to perform surrogacy of any type. For residents of these counties it is necessary to travel abroad for surrogacy services…
There are only a few countries where gay couples can have commercial surrogacy, where the surrogate is paid. These would be the United States or Cambodia. But the problems are:
1. Return home with your surrogacy baby.
To return home the baby needs a passport to travel internationally. Normally your embassy will issue a passport for a baby born overseas. However your country may not recognize the baby as a citizen because it was born through surrogacy, or they may not allow the baby to be taken from it’s “legal mother”. Under the law in most countries the legal mother is the woman who gave birth to the baby (e.g., the surrogate).
2. Establish citizenship of your surrogacy baby
If you can’t get a passport from your local Bulgarian embassy, you can get an American passport if the baby is born in the United States. That will let the baby enter Europe and travel home to Bulgaria with you. However even though the baby is now with you, it is a US citizen, your partner/spouse will have no legal connection to the baby, and your surrogate mother still is the mother under Bulgarian law.
3. Protect the parental rights of you and your partner
Regardless of your country, you will need to work with a local lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected, and that your partner/spouse can also have rights as the baby’s guardian. If not, there may be instances where you cannot legally act as the baby’s parent. For example, if the baby was sick, your partner/spouse would not be able to make medical decisions because they have no legal connection to the child. If you died the baby would not automatically be given to your spouse, but might be sent back to its legal mother overseas. These are issues for your local lawyer to resolve with you before you begin the surrogacy process.
Note that if you have surrogacy in Cambodia the baby is eligible for a Cambodia passport when it is born. But a Visa still needs to be issued by your local embassy, and it is not certain they will issue a visa for a surrogacy baby on a Cambodian passport. That is also a question for a local lawyer with expertise in immigration cases.
If you can work with a local lawyer, Sensible Surrogacy can arrange to have the baby conceived and born in the United States or Cambodia, and given it’s local passport. However we will not start any procedure until we are confident that your local lawyer has a reliable and legal strategy to return home with your surrogacy baby.
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