Gestational surrogacy, where a woman carries a child who is not genetically related to her following IVF, is an increasingly popular choice. Surrogacy may be the way to realize your dream of becoming a parent if you are unable to carry a pregnancy to term for medical reasons, or do not have a uterus (either because of a hysterectomy or because you are a man).
Many countries have extremely strict regulations pertaining to surrogacy. Commercial surrogacy is not a legal option in many jurisdictions, and where it is, the cost may well be astronomical. Even in US states where altruistic surrogacy is permitted and the surrogate mother will receive expenses only, your pregnancy may end up being very expensive.
Does that mean that you have to say goodbye to your dream of having biological children? Not for many families, who are opting to take their business to India, where commercial surrogacy is legal and high-quality fertility clinics offer services for a much lower cost.
Some of these families ship their previously frozen embryos over to India, where they will be implanted into an Indian surrogate mother of their choice. Others undergo the whole process of IVF in India.
The total estimated cost of IVF, an Indian surrogate mother, and the delivery of the baby varies from $2,500 and $6,500. Families who are having twins, or are using an Indian egg donor in addition to a gestational surrogate will have additional fees.
Those who are considering having a baby through Indian surrogacy do have some serious questions to ask themselves and others before they decide to take the leap and dive into a surrogacy journey. Finding out what the administrative procedure is to obtain a birth certificate and your citizenship for your baby is of paramount importance. Some countries will not provide your child with a passport if it is clear they were delivered through a surrogate mothers, meaning your whole family will be stuck in India. UK parents may even lose the rights to their baby altogether.
Ethical questions also enter the equation. How much of your total fee will be paid to your surrogate, and what are their motivations for carrying your child? Is this something they are essentially forced into because of poverty?
Finally, before you decide to opt for an Indian surrogate, look into legal fees, and compare all of the costs you will have with those you might have in other countries known for surrogacy tourism, such as the Ukraine.