Country-Wise Surrogacy Laws: Advantages and Disadvantages – Part 2



The Netherlands
The Netherlands enjoys a popular image of being an extremely liberal nation. This liberty is not extended to the field of commercial surrogacy, however. Altruistic surrogacy is considered legal in the Netherlands, whereas commercial surrogacy is prohibited. Entering into any surrogacy contract that involves a third party or even attempting to enter into any such arrangement is punishable with imprisonment. Additionally, surrogacy is only carried out in a few hospitals across the country, and there are very strict requirements for couples wishing to use these services. They have to go through an extended procedure of documentation and legal verification, which leads many couples to seek treatment outside the Netherlands.

Surrogacy is currently banned in all its forms in Sweden. Nevertheless, Sweden has recently taken a step forward towards the possibility of lifting its ban on surrogate motherhood. This initiative has been taken on by the Riksdag’s committee on social affairs, who have received a public majority vote demanding surrogacy services to be made available in Sweden. They have filed a petition to begin the process of changing Sweden’s strict anti-surrogacy laws. It is, however, still a long way away from having full access to surrogacy services.

United Kingdom
Commercial surrogacy is not legal in the United Kingdom. It is prohibited by the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985. It is marked as illegal to pay apart from the necessary expenses for a surrogacy. Regardless of any contractual documents involved in the process, the legal parent is still recognized as the surrogate mother, not the intended parents. It is possible, however, for the intended parents to receive a parental or adoption order from the judicial authorities.

The United States
The United States allows both altruistic and commercial surrogacy for citizens and international intended parents. Strong surrogacy infrastructure means that most facilities use modern techniques and advanced technology, which is a major attraction for childless couples from around the world. The legal documentation and child transfer litigations are managed by the government, coordinated by numerous surrogacy agencies that provide treatments such as egg and semen donation, gamete donation, providing surrogate mothers, and the management of legal procedures. It is, however, very expensive in terms of surrogacy expenses, food, and lodging. This is one reason why it may not be affordable for every childless couple. As a result, many choose to seek surrogacy services abroad. However, it is expensive in regards to surrogacy expenses and food and lodging. This is one major reason why it is not affordable by every childless couple interested to avail surrogacy abroad.

Altruistic surrogacy is legal in Australia, but advertising for donors or surrogates is outlawed. The donors must be identified and approved by an ethics committee before entering into any surrogacy contract. Surrogacy services for foreign intended parents are also banned.

Cambodia has emerged as a popular commercial surrogacy destination due to the absence of laws pertaining to surrogacy. There are virtually no laws to protect the rights of either the surrogates in Cambodia or the intended parents who use the facilities there. Surrogates are recruited from poor communities who are willing to perform the services for money. Many Cambodian surrogacy agencies also recruit surrogates from India, Thailand, Nepal, and other developing nations. The surrogate mother has complete custody of the child and has to testify through legal documents that she is willing to give up her baby to the intended parents.

Cambodia’s surrogacy law is murky, poorly managed, and is rapidly heading towards surrogacy becoming an illegitimate business. A good example is the notorious case of the Australian nurse Tammy David-Charles, who is currently in Cambodian custody for producing falsified documents – including birth certificates – of surrogate babies through the agency she runs.

The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRC) of Canada permits only altruistic surrogacy. Surrogate mothers may only be reimbursed for their approved expenses regarding the maintenance of their pregnancy. Any other payment is considered to be illegal. Quebec law, however, does not permit any surrogacy arrangements of any kind.

Surrogacy is increasingly popular in Mexico and is legal across the country. The only restrictions are in the State of Tabasco, where surrogacy for foreign single parents and LGBT parents is banned. Embryo transfer is a popular treatment in Cancun or Mexico City and is done legally without any prohibition.

Surrogacy for foreign nationals is banned in Nepal. Once, it was an extremely popular location for surrogacy, but now only non-Nepalese can serve as surrogates. As a result, all surrogates in the country are relocated from India, Thailand, and other parts of Asia. Nepal also banned surrogacy in 2015 for international intended parents after India and Thailand barred it in the same year.

Surrogacy in Poland is not directly controlled by the Polish legal system. The subject is actively debated however, and the majority of Polish citizens are in favor of surrogacy and see it as a good way of overcoming infertility. On the other hand, the church is in opposition to this practice and is an influential presence in Polish society. As per Polish law, the woman who gives birth to the child is the rightful mother of that child, and there is resistance to allowing said surrogate mother to hand the child over to the intended parents.

As a result of the Baby Gammy scandal in 2014, Thailand has banned foreign people from receiving commercial surrogacy treatments since July 30, 2015. Heterogeneous Thai couples or married couples living in Thailand as Thai residents are permitted to receive- commercial surrogacy treatments. Thailand was previously a well-used destination for intended parents, but since the increase in restrictions it has become drastically less popular.

Hong Kong
Commercial surrogacy is a criminal offense in Hong Kong under the Human Reproductive Technology Ordinance (HRTO) introduced in 2000. The law states that no payment can be made for surrogacy services, or to any surrogacy agency, and that neither the surrogate or agency can receive money for the service they provide. The same law applies to the supply of gametes – irrespective of whether they were supplied from within or outside of Hong Kong, no charges can be made for them. As a result, the intended parent’s gametes are usually the only ones used.

Legal Issues with Surrogacy
It is of utmost importance that intended parents understand the existing surrogacy laws of the country they intend to have treatments in. Travel arrangements and lodging should be taken care of, and information relating to the surrogacy contracts in the country should be researched, well before you start getting ready for the surrogacy itself.


Disclaimer: Reproductive laws are a comparatively new legal territory. They are constantly changing all across the world, and as a result it is difficult to maintain up-to-date information on each country’s specific laws and customs. If you are reading this article as a part of your research into pursuing reproductive assistance abroad, we advise you to contact surrogacy lawyers to get the latest facts on surrogacy law in the country you intend to travel to. We do not affirm the information provided here’s accuracy, and cannot be held responsible for the presence of any errors. We welcome you to contact us if you have any conflicting information or additional information so that we can update this article.