The surrogacy industry is constantly growing larger, especially with the cost of surrogacies rising in the US. Unfortunately, this leaves families who just can’t afford to do so in the dust. Alternatively, families who do have the money but live in a country in which surrogacy is illegal have an equal but opposite problem. Their solution? International surrogacies.

American surrogacies can often exceed $100,000, while in comparison, surrogacies in India can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $60,000, depending on specific services and the clinic where the surrogacy is hosted. With the Internet allowing couples that can’t afford American surrogacies to research quickly and more easily, the market for surrogacy has suddenly become international. Surrogacy consulting companies like World of Surrogacy (in America) and DiYi Consulting (in China) are also making it easier for couples to get in touch with people willing to carry a baby to full-term.

The reason why this is possible is because India is one of several countries in which commercial surrogacy is legal. In comparison, commercial surrogacy is only legal in a few states in the US, and all surrogacies are even illegal in certain states – limiting the number of surrogate mothers and in turn driving the price of surrogacy up. This growth, however, has caused India to start to place restrictions on exactly what kind of couples surrogacy is available to. It is often an option for homosexual couples, although internationally, they still face restrictions. Though more difficult to organize, the price of surrogacy is still low enough internationally for these couples to be willing to bring together people from several countries in order to have a baby.

International surrogacy goes both ways, however – in China, where surrogacy is illegal, wealthier Chinese couples who can afford the price are looking to California to find surrogates. In addition, their babies are born in America as American citizens, and when those babies turn 21, they can actually apply for green cards for their parents. Chinese parents can even select the gender of their baby, which is especially important as male children are still culturally preferred.

There are many advocates for international surrogacy, but also critics who say that “outsourcing” surrogates exploit poorer women who offer these services in India, and pose immigration questions about the growing number of surrogate children who are now legal American citizens. Regardless, there is no denying that the surrogacy industry has officially grown into an international and commercial business.

If you are interested in seeking legal counsel for surrogacy or other family law matters, reach out to our firm for help!