Surrogacy Abroad – A New Wave of Medical Tourism

Reproductive Tourism has come as a new wave of hope for parents wanting to expand their family. It involves desiring parents to travel abroad in hopes of availing fertility treatments like Vitro fertilization, gamete production, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and surrogacy. In surrogacy, a woman other than the mother is fertilized externally with the father’s sperm. Surrogate Carriers can be approached using adoption or surrogate agencies.

There are many reasons why parents seek surrogacy abroad instead of availing it in their home countries. Firstly, the availability or prospect of surrogacy may be extremely limited or non-existent in their country. In European countries such as Germany, Austria, and Italy, donation of an egg is not legal. Due to this, many parents travel to countries such as U.S.A and Spain where such procedures are allowed. Many countries have placed a ban on commercial surrogacy. However, it is completely legal in countries like India, which have made them a popular destination for parents seeking surrogacy.

Secondly, many countries may not allow all types of parents to opt for surrogacy. In countries where homosexuality is not even legal, it becomes extremely difficult for parents of the same sex to hope for kids. In many countries, unmarried people living together is a taboo so it is out of question to allow an unmarried couple to seek surrogacy. Many places have even restricted surrogacy based on religion.

Thirdly, in countries where surrogacy is legal and the costs are reasonable, there is often a longer waiting list. Canada is the best example of such a situation.

Also, there are a lot of stakes in surrogacy. The surrogate mother should be physical, mentally and psychologically healthy to give up the baby after birth. Arranging for surrogacy is a criminal offense in Hong Kong. Anyone who is caught receiving or making a payment for surrogacy can face a jail term of up to two years and a fine of up to HK$100,000.

A couple who had approached Planet Hospital in New Mexico was faced with disappointment. The hospital failed to deliver as promised and also mulcted a couple of their money.

The variations of surrogacy are immense with some countries allowing only certain types of surrogacy. Some countries permit only altruistic surrogacy where the woman carrying the baby is only paid for her expenses and not for carrying the baby itself. In the USA itself, commercial surrogacy is legalized only in certain states and banned in the others. New York, Nebraska, and Maryland have scorn upon payment in return for surrogacy. California considers surrogacy as legal for domestic partnerships. In some countries, even advertising domestic or foreign surrogacy is prohibited.

According to the Independent, the parental order permitting the transfer of the child from the surrogate mother to the parents have increased from 47 in 2007 to 133 in 2011. Unfriendly legislation and services in home countries have forced many parents to travel abroad to fill their lives with the cackle of a child. With foreign travel costs decreasing coupled with the advancement in medical technologies, all parents can hope to fulfill their family wish of completing their and welcoming a child.

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