Surrogacy laws differ across the United States, which is one of the reasons SPS is very glad to be in California. The state has measures in place that protect intended parents and surrogates, but not every state operates this way. In fact, some states, like New York, have outright bans on it. This leaves people struggling with fertility or the general inability to start a family without many options. They must leave their home if they want to begin the surrogacy process. As a very unfortunate side-effect of this, some people have been choosing international surrogacy, and with heartbreaking results.

A Word on International Surrogacy as a Whole

India was once the go-to international destination for intended parents who could not go through the surrogacy process in their home state. The country was known for affordability and many intended parents believed that they were changing the life of their surrogate with the payment they gave. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. The women and the babies often received inadequate medical care and much of the money that was paid was kept by the agency. It was common for a surrogate to go through the process repeatedly, with the hopes of making a better life for her own children or because she was forced to by a husband or brother, only to remain in poverty afterward. Moreover, the laws didn’t protect intended parents, which meant that the gestational carriers would sometimes keep the babies as their own. These things caused India to rethink its laws. Although it isn’t totally illegal to have an Indian surrogate, the laws put in place make it extremely difficult for intended parents to go there. As this occurred, parents shifted focus to Mexico, Thailand, and Nepal. Each country has since enacted similar legislation.

Cambodia: What Intended Parents Need to Know

Cambodia was not known for surrogacy until after Thailand changed its laws. In fact, many of the agencies working in Cambodia are the exact same ones that once operated in Thailand. After the ban, they merely moved to legal ground, but this didn’t make the process any safer, only legal. One first couples to be part of the boom actually began the process in Thailand, but had to move partway through the process, after IVF was performed, in light of the altered legislation.

The Cambodian government has vowed to put an end to the practice, classifying it as human trafficking, but it has not yet made a move to do so. It’s unclear how this will affect those who begin the process there before the laws change. Historically, this has posed additional challenges for intended parents heading to foreign countries, including a New Zealand couple that made headlines earlier this year after being stranded in Mexico after the birth of their babies. Moreover, Cambodia is a developing nation which lacks the infrastructure to handle what was once a $400 million industry in India. Without the laws and medical systems in place, as one would have here in California, surrogacy can be dangerous for both the baby and the gestational surrogate.

If you’re considering international surrogacy, please take the time to research the country’s laws, whether legislation changes are expected, and the infrastructure that’s set up, including agencies, hospitals, prenatal care, and treatment of the surrogates. Undoubtedly, you’re sure to find that no other place comes close to providing the safety and security that California does. To learn about the process and services SPS has to offer, contact us today.