Ask the Surrogacy Experts

“I read in The Guide about new options for surrogacy in Colombia as well as in Ukraine. What’s the difference between the two programs? Which program would you recommend for my husband and me?”
— Elizabeth


Good morning Elizabeth.

Just to be clear… I love surrogacy programs in the United States, and all things being equal that’s where I recommend you start your surrogacy journey. But I also understand the real world situations of many couples struggling with infertility. Most have gone through years of expensive treatments and failed IVF procedures. By the time they reach my blog, they’re often tapped out both emotionally and financially. So it’s time to consider affordable options that are both reliable and secure.

Surrogacy in Colombia is a new opportunity, and Bogotá meets all of the criteria as a global surrogacy destination — the medical care is excellent, the legal framework is supportive, and the cost of living is low (e.g., it’s affordable). But the same can be said for Kiev… so what’s the difference?

I regularly recommend both destinations, but for different couples. The biggest difference is that the laws are more explicit for surrogacy in Ukraine. There is explicit legislation at the federal level supporting the surrogacy contract. When the baby is born in Kiev you are considered the legal parents from the moment of conception, and you and your husband are named on the birth certificate immediately. There are very few countries where that’s possible.

In Bogotá the legal framework is based on rulings by the country’s Constitutional Court. The court has upheld surrogacy agreements when performed according to specific guidelines. When a surrogacy baby is born in Colombia, the surrogate is on the birth certificate until a legal process (called Disputacio de Maternidad) is completed. That process is similar to the Parental Order process in the UK or the Parental Transfer in Australia. That court process takes place after you are home with your baby, and it can take several months (after which, you will get a new birth certificate with the Intended Parents names only.)

The lack of an explicit law in Colombia is a technical distinction only — the prevailing legal system in both countries recognizes and supports the surrogacy contract. Some might argue that the rulings by Colombia’s Constitutional Court are more secure becasue they can’t be rescinded except by another Constitutional action. Whereas (theoretically speaking) the law(s) in Ukraine could be overturned if the Parliament passed a contradicting law(s).

But the biggest distinction is that Colombia’s legal protections apply to all couples. There are laws in Colombia that support LGBT families — including gay marriage, gay adoption, and general support for gay “procreation rights”. In Ukraine, surrogacy is strictly limited only to heterosexual married couples.

For married couples, my general opinion is that the program in Kiev is the most explicit and streamlined process outside of the US. Aside from the explicit legislation in Ukraine, the clinics also are well-practiced, and I have had great success with my Clinic partners there. There is an excellent guarantee program in Kiev, but most of my IPs have become successfully pregnant without needing the guarantee.

The next most affordable and secure option is Bogotá, which I recommend for LGBT parents. Colombia is one of the few countries here LGBT couples can legally and securely conceive their families.

Also worth noting, the Bogotá program is quite recent. The clinic was founded in 2009, but their fertility department was created in 2015. Because I have less experience with this Bogotá clinic, I recommend the guarantee program. That’s not a reflection on the quality of the clinic — just with my own lack of a personal history with this clinic.

Both Colombia and Ukraine offer guarantee programs for about the same cost and with very similar terms. Under the guarantees, the clinics will continue to provide medical services until you have your baby, regardless of how many attempts are needed.

Both the Kiev and the Bogota guarantees includes an unlimited number of egg donations (using a local donor pre-evaluated by the clinic), IVF cycles and embryo transfers. The terms of the Guarantee are met only when a baby is delivered.

There also are some bureaucratic hoops to complete in Kiev at the start — you need a doctor’s letter stating that you cannot carry the pregnancy yourself, and also an original version of your marriage certificate (with an apostille stamp). That is the one added obstacle in Kiev that does not exist n Bogotá.

I hope this is clear and helpful,
— Bill


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