Returning Home with your Surrogacy Baby…
The medical procedures of conceiving and delivering your child are only half of the surrogacy process. Often overlooked is the critical step of establishing the child’s citizenship, guaranteeing your parental rights, and obtaining the travel documents so that you and your new family can safely return home.
As part of our complete service, we promise to provide legal and logistical support in your child’s petition for citizenship. Our job is not done until you are home with your new family.
- In the United States, where commercial surrogacy is legal and surrogacy contracts are enforced by law, the citizenship process is simple and straightforward. A quick DNA test and series of legally notarized documents, and you can quickly return home.
- In a few countries where all surrogacy agreements are strictly prohibited, the local embassy will not grant citizenship to a child born through surrogacy under any circumstance. We advise parents from these countries to consider alternative options.
- However most countries will consider the “best interest” of children born through surrogacy, and they will provide a process for obtaining citizenship and passports. These countries will acknowledge the child’s legal rights if you can satisfy the requirements of the local embassy.
Every embassy has it’s own requirements. Even different embassies of the same country may have widely different requirements for this process – and those requirements may change over time. The only way to be 100% certain of the requirements of your embassy is to call and ask them directly (or ask your local lawyer to call and ask).
That said, we have excellent experience dealing with the embassies of many countries, and can provide excellent guidance and support as you prepare to bring your family home.
We will not leave your side until you are safely home with your child.
Bringing your baby home: Step-By-Step
Although exact requirements of every embassy are different, nearly all countries require some form of the following process. Here is a “big picture” understanding of the legal journey that you and your family must take.
Before you get the child’s passport you likely will have to complete the first 3 steps below. The exact amount of time required will depend on the specific documents your embassy will request. For that, you must contact the embassy directly (and it is often very useful to have a local lawyer assist with this).
The final step is the most complicated and time consuming, but happens only after you return home.
- 1) Register the child as a citizen be descent by proving your own citizenship and the child’s genetic relationship to you. This can require a DNA test plus supporting documentation. This may take 2 weeks for DNA tests plus time at the embassy to process the request. (It will also require a local birth certificate, which will be provided in a couple of days.) Additional supporting documents may be requested, including hospital records, IVF reports, and a medical exam to verify that the child was conceived as described and then born to the surrogate mother.
Our local team will be able to provide all of these documents, or (in the case of the DNA test) to assist you in the appropriate applications.
- 2) Prove the legal mother has waived her parental rights and granted you authority to leave the country with the child, apply for a changed citizenship, and (later) have your spouse adopt the child. A simple affidavit could take one week, but if the embassy insists on a court-ordered custody or parentage decree, this could take 4 to 6 weeks or more.
As part of our surrogacy agreement, your surrogate mother will provide multiple documents waiving her parental rights, and acknowledging you as the sole legal parent of the child. In most cases this is sufficient, but our local legal resources are available to provide any additional documents are requested by your embassy.
- 3) Apply for the passport or other travel documents. For most countries, this takes about 2 – 3 weeks, but can often be expedited in hardship cases. Passport applications must be made by the parents of the child, although we will be able to assist as needed.
- 4) Establish you (and your spouse’s) parental rights (and remove the parental rights of the surrogate mother) through an adoption or similar proceeding. This will be done in your home country, and often can take several months. (In countries where same-sex adoption is not legal, this final step may not be possible. In this case you will want to establish custody rights through your personal will and other legal documents.)
In most countries where Altruistic Surrogacy is recognized and regulated, a legal framework exists for the surrogate to waive her rights and transfer parentage to you and your spouse. Parentage transfer is required in the UK and Australia, and must be done immediately after you return home, within a few months of the child’s entry into the country. Although we provide support, the process will require a local lawyer to submit the petition to your local courts.