Surrogacy Laws and Regulations: A Guide to Understanding International Differences


Introduction: The Intricacies of Surrogacy

Surrogacy offers a viable path to parenthood for individuals or couples unable to conceive or carry a child naturally. In this arrangement, a woman (the surrogate) agrees to bear a child for another person or couple (the intended parents). While surrogacy can bring immense joy, its legalities are intricate and vary greatly worldwide. This article will guide you through the international differences in surrogacy laws and regulations.

United States: A Varied Legal Terrain

Surrogacy laws in the United States are governed at the state level, resulting in a patchwork of regulations. States such as California are known for surrogacy-friendly laws, which explicitly permit surrogacy and provide clear legal procedures for parental rights. Conversely, other states have restrictive laws or even prohibitions against surrogacy.

Canada: Altruistic Surrogacy Prevails

In Canada, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act allows only altruistic surrogacy. Surrogates may be reimbursed for pregnancy-related expenses but are prohibited from receiving any other form of compensation. Legal parentage processes for intended parents vary by province, necessitating expert legal counsel.

United Kingdom: Strict Oversight and Altruistic Surrogacy

In the UK, surrogacy is legal but heavily regulated. Like Canada, only altruistic surrogacy is permitted, with surrogates receiving payment solely for "reasonable expenses." UK law deems the surrogate mother as the legal mother at birth, requiring intended parents to obtain a parental order to secure legal parenthood.

Greece: A European Exception

Greece stands as an exception in Europe by legally permitting altruistic surrogacy. The Greek government legalized surrogacy for married couples unable to conceive naturally in 2002. Nonetheless, surrogates cannot receive payment beyond reasonable expenses.

Ukraine: A Permissive Legal Framework

Ukraine is notable for its relatively liberal surrogacy laws. Both altruistic and commercial surrogacy are permitted, and intended parents are recognized as legal parents from conception. Surrogacy in Ukraine, however, is limited to heterosexual, married foreign couples and single women.

Conclusion: Navigating International Surrogacy Laws

Given the diverse legal landscape of surrogacy worldwide, understanding these laws is paramount for anyone considering surrogacy as a path to parenthood.

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