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Guide to surrogacy in medical tourism

Guide to surrogacy in medical tourism

When the biological parents are incapable of bearing a baby of their own, they take recourse to surrogacy. But even if they wish to avail this service, legal restrictions and lack of availability of sophisticated treatment infrastructure in home country force them look beyond the border. Many countries with lax regulations in surrogacy laws have turned out to be attractive destinations for these couples. Above all, the high quality IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) treatment facilities and the support in plush hi-end clinics have been luring the intending parents mostly from developed nations to avail this service. This has boosted medical tourism business but you should be well-informed before you opt for surrogacy.

In this guide you will read about:

Guide to surrogacy in medical tourism

Surrogacy- its necessity

Smiling woman holding ultrasound scan of baby near belly of pregnant girlfriend on bed

There may be a number of reasons why parents turn infertile like the following:

– The eggs of the mother are too weak to fertilize.

-The mother is unable to produce eggs.

– The mother’s womb might not be conducive to carrying a baby and giving birth.

-Same sex couples longing for a child.

In such cases, there are females available who professionally hire out their wombs to carry the fertilized embryos of parents. They nurture the baby in their womb and eventually give birth. They are after all not the biological mother. Of course, the surrogate mother is compensated for her invaluable service. Medical tourism facilitator companies arrange travel for couples who choose surrogacy, but you must check their credentials first.

Proliferation of surrogacy

parents to tje expectation of growth of your child in the womb of a surrogate mother

Surrogacy is not a new phenomenon but is deep rooted in history. However, the surrogate mothers were themselves the biological mother too. But the gestational surrogacy, which has bloomed into a multibillion dollar industry, the surrogate mother just acts as a carrier giving a paid service to the needy couples. Surrogacy, in ethical terms, is considered as an altruistic service where compensation comes as a reward. It is not labeled as the paid service. But due to a sharp rise in infertility cases and legalization of gay cohabitation in some countries, paid or commercial surrogacy especially cross-border surrogacy has proliferated often ignoring the basic ethics of a service and other humanitarian factors. Keeping this in view, surrogacy is banned in many countries.  In Germany it is a punishable offence while in some parts of US surrogacy for money is not approved.

Surrogacy – A service or profession?

Surrogacy – A service or profession

In many underdeveloped and developing countries where people belong to the lower economic bracket, some women have opted this service as a route to survival. Surrogacy has turned into a large scale profession, and medical tourism business has profited from its demand. Consequently, affluent infertile parents having difficulty in getting a baby through surrogacy in their home country due to legal barriers look for these poor countries as a potential destination for achieving their dreams. Fly to Thailand and Cambodia and pay the surrogate mothers and get a healthy baby. The financial ambition of these women could be pretty low compared to the western standards making them the key fulcrum in this multibillion dollar industry. They are more than happy from what they get from their western clients. So much of physical and mental endurance simply gets buried under compensation pay cheques. Isn’t there something highly obscene and unethical element looming over the entire system?

Ethical surrogacy – Beneficial to the giver and taker

Human sperm and egg cell

If the surrogate mothers are the victims of an unethical system, the intending parents also share the misfortune of being victimized in many cases. The act of surrogacy is apparently a service run on noble objectives to help childless couples. But if viewed from a closer angle one might be shocked to realize that this service is run as an industry in many clinics under the pretext of social service. In reality, the intent is money making using an unscrupulous route violating the basic codes of medical ethics. Unethical practice of egg splitting and cost saving is observed in many cases, and switching of the collected female eggs from one client to the other seems rampant.

The surrogate mother is often an insignificant nut in a corrupt machine being exploited just like the clinics exploit the intending parents. Many a time, the surrogate is paid a paltry amount or is forced to undergo successive womb hiring neglecting her basic health issues. Often, the baby born becomes the subject of dispute. Parents often reject the baby if it is not healthy born. Immigration issues and lack of proper custodian laws makes the baby the most vulnerable target.

The childless couples get cheated too. After a long and tiring emotional journey where social alienation and a feeling of incompetence have been constantly gnawing at their psyche, they become prey to unscrupulous intermediaries and clinics. They are forced to return back home heart-broken after giving in to exorbitant money extortion. That is why it is imperative to choose reputed, ethical medical tourism facilitator companies.

For many intending couples, surrogacy tourism can be the only way to achieve parenthood but maintaining the ethics should be given the topmost priority.

Things to know when choosing a surrogacy center

Upset man comforting his depressed wife with negative pregnancy test, free space

A lot of couples with fertility issues have started opting for surrogacy in order to build families and lead an enriching life. Surrogacy continues to remain as one of the most successful treatments for fertility issues as well, with an astounding 90% success rate. However, one would always need to be wary of other issues like payments, insurance and legal loopholes when opting for surrogacy. A surrogacy center would help reduce these issues and help couples start their families via surrogacy in a seamless, hassle free manner.

Tips to choose the best surrogacy center

Couple wishing to have children in fertility clinic with doctor

Then again, one needs to be extra careful when opting for a particular surrogacy center as there are so many agencies that operate without proper regulations. So if you are on the lookout for a surrogacy center, take a look at some tips that would help you zero in on the right center while staying away from the  scams.

  • Providing Previous Client List

Although they may consider it as a violation of their client’s privacy, a regulated and credible surrogacy center would be able to provide you with the details of at least a few current and former clients you can speak to – as references or reviewers. If you keep on getting ‘no’ for your answer, take the hint and bail out.

  • Providing Previous Case History

Female doctor hand hold silver pen filling patient history list

The surrogacy center you choose must be more than willing to provide information about previous cases they had successfully tended. In addition to determining their success rate, this would also allow you to find out whether the center has tie ups with certain insurance companies or fertility clinics. If that is the case, bail out immediately. Take the help of a medical tourism expert to find a reputed clinic or find other couples who had a successful surrogacy experience.

  • Providing Separate Lawyers

In the case of surrogacy, the surrogate and the intended parents should be represented by separate lawyers. The surrogacy center you choose must make you aware of this fact (if you did not know it already) and take the necessary measures to get both the concerned parties legal help from different sources.

  • Offer Face to Face Meeting

Young man and woman gesticulating and speaking with male doctor psychologist while making video call to psychotherapy clinic from home

Not everything can be discussed over the phone or email. Insist on a face to face meeting, even by video call. Ask random questions about the entire process and see how they respond. Talk about instances when the treatment did not go as planned and ask the agency what it would do in such situations. This would help you gain a basic understanding of the entire process as well as zero in on the right surrogacy center easily.

Surrogacy has become a very popular treatment plan for infertility. Couples around the world who suffer from fertility issues have started opting for surrogacy to bear children. It is imperative that they choose the right surrogacy center to help them deal with the process better.

Surrogacy – Common Medical Tourism Procedures


genetically linked child

Surrogacy or gestational care is the process of assisted reproduction to become a parent of a genetically linked child, especially for couples who have not been successful in conception via other infertility treatments. Surrogatus—to act in the place of. Surrogacy—a woman carries and gives birth to another woman’s child.

Types of surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy

  1. IVF/Gestational surrogacy—is a common type of surrogacy in which a woman called as ‘surrogate mother’ carries an embryo, where the egg of the intending mother is fertilized with the sperm of the male partner through IVF procedure. The child carries genes of both intended parents.
  2. Traditional/Natural surrogacy—a ‘surrogate mother’ carries an embryo (her own egg and the sperm of an intended male).The sperms of the intended male partner are inseminated in to surrogate (intra uterine insemination-IUI) or the IVF procedure may be used. The child carries genes of the surrogate mother and male partner. It is mainly useful when the intended mother has some genetic deformities that can be transferred to a baby or her eggs are unfertile.

Additional information about the procedure:

Woman planning her monthly menstruation calendar

  • The menstrual cycle matching of the genetic mother and the surrogate is done by adjusting menstrual dates by oral contraceptive pills. Depending on the requirement, hormonal injections or tablets are given to the genetic mother. Patient is monitored daily and USG is done from time to time.
  • Similarly the surrogate also receives medication and injections. Egg retrieval is done close to the ovulation time. On the same day the genetic father gives his semen sample for IVF. The resultant embryo is transferred into the womb of the surrogate under the guidance of ultrasound. The surrogate is given additional medication. The pregnancy test can be confirmed 15days later.
  • The surrogate pregnancy is treated with extra care and various tests are done from time to time for the early detection of any complications related to pregnancy.
  • The intended couple is kept informed about the progress of the baby by providing the ultrasound pictures and various reports.


surrogacy legal procedures

Multiple complex emotional, social and ethical issues are associated with surrogacy. The decision of surrogacy must be taken after knowing the pros, cons and the legal procedures so as to avoid any complications in the future.

Uses of surrogacy:

Same sex couples longing for a child

  • For couples and single women who are not able to conceive and/or carry foetus to term and want to have a child genetically related to one or both parents.
  • Gay male couples who want a child with genetic connection to one partner.
  • Couples or single women in which the woman has no uterus or has a deformity of the uterus and is not able to carry to full term but is capable of producing eggs.

Travelers Guide:

Cropped view of pregnant woman holding dollar banknotes near belly on grey background, concept of surrogacy maternity

  • Not all countries permit the commercial (surrogate is paid for carrying the pregnancy) form of surrogacy. However, in India all types of surrogacy are available.
  • Medical travelers should ensure the safety and good standards of medical practice before opting for surrogacy. Be sure to have recommendations, clear your doubts and have legal contracts drawn up to protect the rights and responsibilities of the parents, surrogates, and intended child. A medical tourism expert may help to clarify all your issues.

Reasons for medical tourists to visit India for surrogacy

artificial insemination or fertility treatment

Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technique in which a woman carries another woman’s baby in her womb. Many couples choose to go for this method to have their own baby. Surrogacy is often performed when a woman’s own uterus is unable to support pregnancy. Thus, another healthy mother needs to nourish the child through nine months of pregnancy. Since a healthy lifestyle of the surrogate mother is very essential for healthy delivery, couples generally prefer to come to India where they easily find healthy women who are ready to be surrogate mothers. In fact, India has become a hub of surrogacy where this option is provided at lower costs.

Experts also suggest that women in India are less exposed to habits of smoking, drinking or drug intake. That makes them better surrogate mothers than women in several Western nations. Their healthier lifestyle is a boon for themselves and the babies they carry. Another reason why couples prefer India as a surrogacy destination is the country’s lenient laws for surrogacy as compared to various other countries. Various hospitals around the country specially cater to medical tourists who visit for surrogacy procedures.

In addition to above factors, the success rate of surrogacy procedure is higher in India than in other countries. This has been happening due to proper checks carried out for the carriers. Some mandatory conditions for being a carrier include the age to be between 21 and 35, having a strong personal and family history, and clearing all medical fitness tests. When the carrier is properly screened, the couple and the surrogate mother have to sign a legal contract that is handled by the medical facility through which the couple is taking surrogacy services. Couples usually feel it safe in India, as surrogacy laws are properly followed.

However, the major driving force for medical tourists to come to India for surrogacy is the cost factor. Couples from foreign countries easily find women who are ready to give birth to their babies at a comparatively very low compensation. This can specially happen when these women belong to the lower strata of society. Even though the carrier woman gets a good amount in comparison to her family’s regular earnings, this money equals peanuts to the rich couple that receives a precious gift in return. Thus, it is very likely for parents to avail child surrogacy services in India than in another country.

How medical tourism to India supports your surrogacy efforts

pregnanat woman signing legal contract

There was a time when nobody thought of surrogacy as an option to extend families. However, it is now that people even travel to foreign nations so they can bring their babies back with them. This has become possible due to technological advancements in the areas of reproduction and medicine. There have been various fertility specialists working in state-of-the-art medical facilities in countries like India where surrogacy procedures are popular among medical tourists. India also has various specialists and caretakers who are fluent in English and can easily communicate with patients from developed countries.

In India, surrogacy is made possible by the use of latest techniques, technology and equipment. While the cost of surrogacy procedures in developed countries like the United States is nearly $80,000, it can be settled at a much lower price in India. Commonly, the whole procedure in India can be availed by merely spending around $25,000 or even lesser. The increasing cost of medical treatments in developed countries has led people to fly abroad for even these surrogacy procedures. In developed countries, women are also unsure of the surrogate mothers who sometimes try to keep the babies with themselves. However, it is not the case in India.

There are proper legal contracts signed between the surrogate mother and the couple. This leads to transparency in surrogacy procedures. Even if there is a legal issue in surrogacy, it can be easily managed in India. In addition to these factors, India is also a preferred destination for surrogacy procedures, because Indian women have a better and healthier lifestyle than women in developed nations. They stay away from smoking, drinking or drug abuse. Additionally, the process of adoption is quite smooth in India.

If you have been planning to visit India for surrogacy procedures, it would be useful for you to get in touch with a good medical tourism facilitator company that understands your specific surrogacy requirements. This company can accordingly arrange for you in a proper fertility clinic. It can also take care of your travel and lodging issues. They also search for safer legal representation for your adoption process. Thus if you wish to have a baby of your own and are facing any problems doing it naturally, then you might consider the medical tourism option to India for having a baby through surrogacy procedures. You will come as a couple to India, but would carry your baby in your arms when you go back.

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