How to build your family through international surrogacy

by Dr. Guy RinglerJune 28th, 2021

For people in many countries around the world, utilizing international fertility clinic services is the only way to have a child through surrogacy. Bans on surrogacy exist in countries on every continent, and it doesn’t matter if they’re a democracy or dictatorship, liberal-leaning or more conservative.

The list of countries banning compensated surrogacy includes Australia, the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Outright bans on all surrogacy exist in countries like France, Italy, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

It’s why I’ve been working with patients from around the world for years to help them build the family of their dreams. My patients have come from China, Taiwan, Australia, Israel and across Europe -- Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and many more.

While some people may think their fertility clinic or surrogate need to be near their home, they do not.

There are a few key steps to having a child through surrogacy here in Los Angeles, even if you’re from overseas.

Some steps in the process can be done right from your home, or your own doctor’s office. Researching surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics can be done via computer or phone. There are robust resources online to find the names of various agencies that work with, or even specialize in, finding surrogates from people around the world.

It’s important to engage a reproductive attorney as well, to best understand the laws governing your arrangement with a surrogate. A place like California has laws that respect all parties and protect the rights of the intended parents.

At California Fertility Partners, we also work with various clinics and doctors around the world to collect sperm, conduct blood tests and other medical procedures so that you don’t have to come to California for every step of the way.

Language barriers are also relatively easily overcome. We have staff at California Fertility Partners who speak Spanish and Mandarin, and we have translators for other languages.

The COVID pandemic has elevated our ability to work with people outside of the United States. Consultations via Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom have been routine. We’ve also established international connections to people who can help arrange for international delivery of medically sensitive material.

To be sure, you will have to visit your fertility clinic at some point, particularly if you are a woman who will need egg retrieval or be carrying the pregnancy. And of course you will have to go to where your surrogate is to be there for the birth of your child and bring them home.

Regardless of where you come from, it’s important to map out the legal issues ahead of time. While it may be illegal to conceive through surrogacy in your home country, there can be different laws to determine your legal right to bring a child home from another country, or who can be the legal parents.
Different countries have various legal maneuverings for same-sex couples, including one partner adopting another partner’s biological child.

Be sure to understand the legal issues of your country, and in particular the role of a birth certificate to bring your newborn baby home.

While international surrogacy may seem daunting, I’ve worked with hundreds of people from around the world over the years to build their family. I’m always here to answer questions and share insights from past experiences so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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