What is International Surrogacy?

Some hopeful parents in the U.S. fear that the domestic surrogacy laws won't permit surrogacy, so they look into international surrogacy. Here's what you should know.

If you are considering surrogacy for your family, you might have some concerns about the unknowns of this process — won’t it be complicated? Isn’t it expensive? How will you interact with your surrogate? For reasons like these, many intended parents initially look into surrogacy overseas, thinking it the cheaper, easier option.

But foreign surrogacy can actually be riskier than domestic surrogacy, so our agency’s policies and recommendations are different for that path. Read on for what you need to know before considering international surrogacy for your family.

If You’re an American Intended Parent Looking for a Foreign Surrogate

American Surrogacy does not work with surrogates outside of the U.S. for a number of important reasons. We encourage all domestic intended parents, whether you pursue surrogacy through our agency or not, to partner with domestic gestational surrogates for these same reasons.

Risks of International Surrogacy
  • Legal Risks

    The U.S. offers some of the most comprehensive protective legal regulations of any country, both for surrogates and parents — which is why many foreign parents hope to find a surrogate here. The laws by which surrogacy is regulated in other countries varies widely — some don’t regulate it at all. Those laws also change frequently, which means that when your baby is born in another country, he or she could be at risk of not being able to come to the U.S. or may struggle to become a U.S. citizen.

  • Financial Risks

    Some American parents are drawn to overseas surrogacy because it seems like a cheaper option. But there are hidden costs. International surrogacy programs usually don’t include costs for traveling and legal services, which are extremely costly and complex. Additionally, if you’re saving money because your surrogate is being compensated very little, it’s likely because she’s living in poverty, which raises ethical concerns about working with international surrogates.

  • Health Risks

    Every country is different, but poorer countries will typically have limited access to health care. If your surrogate lives in a country where outbreaks of disease can’t easily be contained or treated, she and your baby may be harmed. An international surrogate association may not have the same high medical screening standards as a U.S. agency, so you can’t be certain your surrogate is healthy before she even begins.

There are additional challenges you can face with the surrogacy international process, like language barriers between you and your surrogate or with your transnational surrogacy provider, cultural miscommunications between you and your surrogate, the legal complexities of bringing a child born outside of the U.S. into the country and more.

Again, American Surrogacy does not work with non-U.S. surrogates. We also encourage all intended parents to consider partnering with a surrogate in their own country due to the challenges of cross-border surrogacy partnerships.

If You’re a Non-U.S. Intended Parent Looking for an American Surrogate

American Surrogacy generally does not work with intended parents outside of the United States. We have made a few exceptions to this, for example, with U.S. military families who were stationed overseas.

If you feel you might be such an exception, call American Surrogacy to ask a specialist if you meet our intended parent requirements at 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).

If you’re a non-U.S. intended parent, we encourage you to research your country’s surrogacy laws carefully. Reach out to experienced local legal counsel to explore your family-building options. If working with a domestic surrogate in your country is not a safe or legal option, ask your attorney about alternatives like adoption.

Surrogacy or Adoption?

Find out what's right for you to build your family.

Why You Should Consider Domestic Surrogacy

Perhaps you had your heart set on surrogacy abroad. But for American intended parents, there are many benefits of partnering with a surrogate domestically, such as:


The ability to get to know and have a relationship with your surrogate


Being able to see your baby born


Protection from citizenship concerns or future legal issues


The ability to more closely interact with your surrogacy agency or professional


The option to take a more active role in the surrogacy process and pregnancy


Being able to stay in touch with your surrogate after your baby is born, and the ability for your child to meet her

If you’d like to learn more about domestic surrogacy, or if you’d like to get started, you can contact American Surrogacy anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).