Surrogate Babies: Deciding the Nationality based on Legal Agreement

Surrogate Babies

In August 2014, a couple in Australia who had a surrogate baby caused an international furor over their lack of compassion and lax attitude. What did they do? Well, the Surrogate Parenting Services left behind their surrogate baby boy after learning that he has Down’s syndrome. The baby boy was born to a Thai surrogate mother. While the Australian agencies investigated the case, the Thai did not show much hope in dealing with the case. That’s what brought the nationality issue of surrogacy into the limelight. The baby boy named Gammy was left without citizenship. 

Which nationality will the surrogate baby belong to if the adopting couple and the surrogate mother don’t belong to the same country?

So What Is The Answer? 

It depends on the legal framework of the country where the surrogate baby was born. As per the latest rulings related to surrogate babies, the nationality of the newborn baby is decided according to the nationality of the parents and the place where the surrogacy was complete. In short, the responsibility of deciding the nationality of the surrogate baby lies with the IVF clinic or the surrogacy center

If the adopting parents are foreign nationals, they have to register the name of their surrogate baby with their embassy in the surrogate country (the country where the surrogacy was carried out). This step ensures that the adopting parents become the legal guardians of the surrogate baby, leaving no role for the surrogate mother in the future.

Parents from the UK are not even required to pay any surrogacy fee to the carrier. However, a nominal maintenance fee is charged to ensure the wellbeing of the surrogate mother. 

Commercial surrogacy is legal in only very few countries. Top surrogate-favoring nations where commercial reproductive techniques are carried out on a rather large scale are:

  • UK
  • India
  • Mexico 
  • Thailand
  • Nepal
  • Russia
  • Ukraine 
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Georgia 

There are some exceptions to surrogacy-favoring nations as well. For instance, some Australian states have strict guidelines on surrogacy. Parents can choose a surrogate mother only from the same state they belong to and not outside. Australia has criminalized surrogacy done in other countries since Gammy’s case came into the limelight. 

Incest and same family surrogacy are legal in some countries. Strangely, Thailand is probably the only country that allows surrogacy from a blood-related member of the intending parents. However, the same family surrogacy has major medical risks surrounding the baby’s health.

In terms of legal protection and surrogate mother welfare, the USA ranks as the most preferred nation, followed by India.  Islamic nations don’t allow surrogacy at any cost. The surrogacy laws in the US are simple and easy to understand, ensuring the highest safety standards are carried out in the procedure. Moreover, the legal agreement regularizes the role of the surrogate mother in the life of the baby once the couple legally adopts it—heterosexual, gays, transgender, or single parents. 

Before picking a surrogate mother and the clinic, intending parents must find a lawyer who will make things easy for them to adopt the baby after it’s born.

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