A question that often comes up in my conversations with prospective intended parents is: “What if the Surrogate changes her mind and wants to keep the baby?” I understand the concern of intended parents, given that the primary objective of a surrogacy program is to receive their baby at birth without any drama or hiccups.
In reality, this has never been an issue for any of our clients during the ten years we have operated in any of the nine countries where we had programs. People may have heard of surrogates “changing their minds” on social media. However, the actual cases I am aware of where a surrogate has obstructed the handing over of the baby have all been in respect of private surrogacy arrangements. In some countries where surrogacy is legal (e.g., Russia), there have been quite a few private arrangements, but in all the cases where there was a dispute, it was inevitably about money and the intended parents trying to walk back from the compensation they had agreed to pay the surrogate mother.
When surrogacy occurs across international borders, meaning the surrogate and the intended parents are residents and/or citizens of different countries, there is an inevitable “conflict of laws”. That is a lawyer’s formal description of the issue, but in simple terms, it means, for example, that in the country where the baby is born, the law may define the parents of that baby differently from the way the law in the intended parents’ country defines parentage. For this reason, many intended parents have heard about “parenting orders”. The extent to which there is a conflict of laws is determined by the citizenship and residency of each of the intended parents, the citizenship and residency of the surrogate mother, and the place of birth of the child in each particular circumstance.
Where the intended parents are not both considered the legal parents of the child in their home country, there may be an option for them to apply to their relevant family court for a parenting order that grants or confirms those rights. In some circumstances (depending on the IP’s country), there may be a need for one or both parents to adopt their own biological child. Global Surrogacy stays with you and provides any documentary support you need for these processes when you are back home with your child.
In our experience, the one thing that generates the most anxiety and upset among intended parents is poor communication from the clinic, surrogate or other people assisting you on the ground in the surrogacy country. We place good communication above all other factors (all the clinics we work with already have good medical skills) in selecting our partners and employing our staff.
Global Surrogacy has a team on the ground. Many agencies exist in the ether or in a small office in a different country where surrogacy occurs. Using Colombia as an example, we have seven staff living and working in Colombia. We manage and recruit the surrogate mothers ourselves. We are stringent in the criteria we apply in surrogate selection. Our surrogates ask to do the program a second time and refer their friends and family to us as potential surrogates.
We hope this post can focus your attention on the key issues you should address with any agency or clinic you propose working with to achieve your dreams of a family.