Ask the Surrogacy Experts

“My partner and I have read through all the information you’ve sent. It’s so disheartening that the only options are so expensive for gay couples – it’s really upsetting. What are our options? Do you think surrogacy is achievable for less than $80,000 dollars?”
— Arturo & William


Good morning Arturo and William.

Surrogacy options suck for gay couples. It’s even worse for gay couples in the UK. There are only 2 or 3 destinations where surrogacy is explicitly supported for gay couples. And the UK Parental Order process limits surrogacy to countries with explicit, supportive legislation.

surrogacy for gay couplesStraight couples have affordable options in Europe, but gay couples don’t enjoy that alternative. LGBT families are often limited to shady programs in developing countries like Kenya, or pretending to be straight to arrange a legally murky journey in Ukraine or Cyprus. Those options run afoul or the UK laws.

Below is a summary of international surrogacy programs for LGBT couples within your $80,000 budget. There’s also a full discussion about surrogacy destinations for LGBT families in the Surrogacy Guide.

Independent or Assisted Surrogacy in the USA: This is a new type of program, and not for everyone. Instead of hiring a surrogacy agency, the “Indy” program has the parents work directly with their surrogate to manage her clinical appointments, medications and prenatal care. Agency’s typically charge from $25,000 to $30,000 USD, so by cutting out the agent this type of program costs right around $80,000 USD. But you should be prepared to take a much more active role in your surrogacy journey.

Canada: After the US, Canada is the best-known option for Gay couples. Only altruistic surrogacy is legal, which complicates finding a surrogate. A client recently told me that he was on a list for 18 months for a surrogate in Canada – he was a gay man from overseas and surrogate candidates preferred to work with mainstream couples. If you’re willing to wait, you might find a program for about $85,000 in Canada.

Colombia: A little known option is surrogacy in Colombia. Colombia has a progressive society with gay marriage, gay adoption and LGBT non-discrimination laws. There is also a legal framework based on declarations by the Constitutional Court supporting surrogacy agreements. A “guarantee program” in Colombia is also affordable, at about $67,000 USD. Although there is still no explicit legislation on the books, surrogacy in Colombia is becoming a hot-spot for same-sex couples.

Surrogacy in Greece: An oddity of Greek law allows for surrogacy for single women (but not single men) — and since there is no gay-marriage in Greece, lesbian couples are considered single women. Various LGBT marriage laws have been proposed in the country, which if passed might open the door for same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy (but not yet). Greece requires a court decision to validate the surrogacy contract before beginning, which adds some time and expense. Programs in Greece run about $85,000 USD.

Ukraine:Technical loopholes will allow a single man to pursue surrogacy if he presents himself in a relationship with the surrogate, and that their intention is to raise the child together. These programs cost about $50,000 USD.

Mexico:There are some unregulated programs in Mexico that may be within your budget. But after working in Mexico for years, I’ve pulled clients from that country because the pregnancy rates were low and the legal risks are high. There is no federal law banning surrogacy in Mexico, so anybody can pursue a journey there — but there are also no legal protections or certainties. All couples should get a court-order mandating that they will be named the legal parents on the birth certificate. I also recommend guarantee programs, becasue they align the financial interests of the clinic and the intended parents.

Kenya: There is no regulation on surrogacy in Kenya, so anyone can do it.  The surrogacy contract is just a private agreement with your surrogate, which means it can’t be enforced if something goes awry. And given that the Kenya is one of the most homophobic destinations worldwide, the chances of something going awry are not insignificant. Programs now costs about $45,000 USD.

In your case, because the baby will need to return to the UK, a Parental Order is needed to establish parental rights.  Parental Order requires the country where the baby is born has supportive legislation — and that eliminates Kenya, Ukraine or Mexico.

So by elimination, the only destination that may fit your needs would be the Indy program in the United States or the altruistic program in Colombia.

I hope this is helpful. Don’t hesitate to send a note and ask for details about any of these options.

— Bill


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