Surrogacy Abroad: Exploring International Options for Canadians 
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Surrogacy Abroad: Exploring International Options for Canadians 

Surrogacy is a growing practice worldwide, and so is a need for international surrogacy for couples in countries without the appropriate laws or technology. This can be a form of medical or health tourism, as it is a form of overseas medical treatment. They are usually offered by medical travel agencies or meditour agencies. It is crucial to do enough and adequate research before going overseas for surrogacy purposes. It is important to ensure that the arrangements are ethical and within the legal boundaries of the country chosen. Research will also enable the individual to make smarter and more informed choices before considering surrogacy abroad; especially when exploring international options for Canadians.

Legal and ethical issues must be taken into account while arranging an international surrogacy. All parties must be aware of their rights and obligations because laws differ from country to country. Contracts must be legally binding and abide by the laws of both nations. In terms of ethics, it is essential to ensure the intended parents are not acting unethically and that the surrogate mother gives her consent without being exploited. For success and safety, working with competent professionals is essential.

What are the types of surrogacy arrangements?

Surrogacy, in the first place, is when a woman known as a surrogate agrees to carry and give birth to a child for an individual or a couple known as the intended parents. International surrogacy is when the intended parents travel to another country to carry out surrogacy. The types of surrogacy that can be done include:

Commercial surrogacy 

This is also known as gestational surrogacy. It is when the surrogate agrees to carry out surrogacy for a payment after the service. In this type of surrogacy, the egg and sperm are obtained from the intended parents or donors. Fertilization is done in vitro; the embryo is then grown in the lab for a few days. It is then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate who then carries and delivers the child. The child has no genetic relationship with the surrogate, and this makes it legally simpler for the intended parents.

This is the type of surrogacy that is widely practised by fertility agencies in most parts of the world. In some countries, commercial surrogacy is illegal for foreigners, these countries include destinations that were popular for commercial surrogacy previously. Countries like India, Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia, Greece, and other countries. The reasons for the bans range from issues with legal rights and citizenship of these children and problems with the arrangements with the surrogate mothers, including bonded labour.

Surrogacy Abroad: Exploring International Options for Canadians 
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Traditional surrogacy 

Also seen as altruistic surrogacy, this is when the surrogate volunteers for the service. Her egg and sperm from the intended parent are used for the creation of the embryo. The sperm is inseminated into her through ART methods. The baby has a genetic or biological relationship with the mother. While the surrogate does not charge any fees for the surrogacy, they may still be reimbursed for their medical bills or any other costs that are related to the surrogacy. This type of surrogacy can create legal complications, especially in the instance that the mother changes her mind about handing the baby over after delivery. This type of surrogacy is also not popular with fertility agencies because of the possibility of legal complications. In countries like Canada, this is the only type of surrogacy that is legal.

Surrogacy around the World: Surrogacy Abroad

Surrogacy Abroad- Exploring International Options for Canadians- surrogacy around the world
Picture courtesy: Babygest

Different countries around the world adopt different methods towards the issue of surrogacy. Surrogacy is prohibited in many countries, including most European countries. This implies that services that facilitate surrogacy, including fertility treatments are not available in these countries and can even be illegal. In other areas, surrogacy is permitted within the range of legal frameworks, or in other cases because there are no specific laws prohibiting it, it can take place informally. The countries where surrogacy is permitted for intended parents from overseas include:

United States of America 

This is the most popular international surrogacy destination for people from most developed countries like Canada, the UK and Australia. The country offers established professionals who can match intended parents and surrogates and manage the process. They also have strong ethical safeguards, excellent clinical standards and legal security. The surrogacy operations are commercial, and surrogates and donors receive appropriate compensation. The laws vary from state to state but a majority of the states recognize intended parents as the child’s legal parents from birth.


This is historically the second most popular international surrogacy destination. Ukraine, however, offers surrogacy only to heterosexual couples who have a medical need for the service. Ukraine law recognizes the intended parents as the child’s legal parents from birth. They also have many fertility agencies which can match the intended parents with a donor or surrogate; they are compensated adequately for their services. There is also a limited direct relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate, so due diligence is required. However, the current war poses difficulties for international intended parents seeking surrogacy in Ukraine.

Surrogacy in Georgia 

Apart from the presence of fewer agencies in Georgia than in Ukraine, the country has a very similar legal outlook to surrogacy in Ukraine. Also, recently, there has been an increase in demand due to the issues in Ukraine. In June 2023, the Georgian Prime Minister announced plans to prohibit surrogacy for foreign intended parents from 2024.

Surrogacy in Greece 

Before embryo transfer, the law in the country requires intended parents and surrogates to apply for a court order approving the surrogacy. The intended parents are then recognized as the child’s legal parents once the child is born. Surrogacy is available to heterosexual couples or single mothers only. However, there are no established surrogacy agencies and clinics in Greece, and they offer only very limited matching services with surrogates, and they also have limited available surrogates.

More International Surrogacy Destination Options for Canadians

There is a list of countries where surrogacy takes place without any specific legal framework; the list of these countries is changing as well. Typically, in these countries, surrogacy operates with no explicit regulation or support. It relies on other laws like contract law together with complicit birth registration authorities to make it work. In these countries, a sudden ban or prohibition suddenly occurs due to the growth and marketing of surrogacy by service providers, leading to negative media attention and ethical concerns. 

Surrogacy services then move to another unregulated destination with the pattern repeating itself. Pursuing surrogacy in these countries is something that must be embarked on with a full risk assessment and adequate research. This is because when these sudden bans occur, the intended parents and the surrogate part ways. Both parties can be left uncertain and vulnerable, with the pregnant surrogates concerned about being penalized and the intended parents facing lost embryos and hurdles of bringing their children home. The countries where surrogacy is currently operating in this way include:

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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