With every booming business comes an element of profiteering, and the Guardian newspaper has offered a few examples of Surrogacy in Mexico that has resulted in tales of missing money and stolen eggs, and broken dreams.
While the report starts with admission that most “Mexico surrogacy journeys” progress smoothly. But there are some horror stories of unscrupulous or mismanaged agencies stealing money and eggs, abusing surrogate mothers, and cutting corners on their finances.
Of course the consummate example is the now-famous Planet Hospital, which was forced into bankruptcy after the owners/operators accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars for surrogacy services that never took place. The owner of that business is now under FBI investigation, but the executive team have now started new agencies in Mexico. They are now actively recruiting new parent clients.
But for future parents willing to take the effort and select a clinic that has extensive experience and reputation to protect, surrogacy in Mexico can be a dream come true for both the surrogate mother as well as the parents.
Some surrogates interviewed for the story seemed genuinely excited about helping others start a family. “Nancy” (a surrogate mother for a gay couples in California) said she loves the idea that the parents of the baby girl she carried are gay men from San Francisco. “Maybe one day she might be curious and ask about me,” she said. Nancy is now considering a second pregnancy. “I can’t think of any other way of getting my daughter out of the barrio.”
Another surrogate said she was happy with her procedure. The monthly installments of 10,000 pesos has tripled her previous income from working as a maid. “I’m doing this for my children,” she said. “It’s a hard job, but its better than prostitution, which is the only other thing round here that can earn you a bit more.”
Another gay couples contracted with a 29-year-old single mother from Villahermosa. In an interview with the reporter, the future parents and surrogate answered questions about the twins she was carrying for them. “I am helping them and they are helping me,” the surrogate said. “My mother was shocked when I first told her, but she understands now.” She said she knew the babies were boys because they kicked so much. The couple were equally enthusiastic, saying they didn’t care what sex they were.
Surrogacy agencies offer an unquestionably legitimate service. But the truth is that surrogacy remains a controversial topic in many parts of the world, including rural Mexico. Agencies and clinics operate in a legal grey area because surrogacy in Mexico is legal, but only under “Altruistic” guidelines. That means that surrogates are not supposed to be compensated beyond “reasonable expenses”. But a reasonable expense for a wealthy western couple may very well be a life-altering sum for a woman in an economically disadvantaged area of Mexico. In the UK for example, which also permits only altruistic surrogacy, courts have approved “reasonable” payments to the surrogates of over £12,000.
“There are good agencies and bad agencies” said a nurse working in one Villahermosa clinic. The nurse has the responsibility of visiting surrogates at home in and around the city, as well as some living in agency-run houses. The nurse, who did not want her name published, said many were essentially left to fend for themselves. “They all make the same promises,” she said of the agencies. “Some keep them and others don’t.”