MHB Presents: How to Ensure Your Surrogacy Journey Abroad is Safe, Legal and Ethical

Considering going outside of the United States or Canada for your surrogacy journey? Before you do, read MHB's guidelines for safe and ethical surrogacy practices to protect yourself, your surrogate, and your future child. The guidelines, developed by an independent legal advisory committee, recommends what intended parents should take into consideration when considering surrogacy abroad, and whom should they consult with.

Men Having Babies: Guidelines for Safe, Legal and Ethical Surrogacy Abroad” includes legal and practical standards to evaluate potential surrogacy destinations outside of the United States and Canada.

The majority of gay men in the United States and Canada tend to seek the help of surrogates in North America, and that is the focus of MHB’s conferences. Indeed, over the years several other countries that were considered as alternatives have outlawed the practice, or limited access to foreigners or LGBT intended parents (IPs). However, new “destinations” get mentioned every now and then, and due to the high costs of surrogacy in the United States, some IPs look for advice about the advisability of these alternatives.

MHB first drafted the guidelines in cooperation with our advisory board. Once an original draft of the document was crafted, it was reviewed and amended by an independent legal committee made up of four lawyers with considerable overseas surrogacy experience: two U.S. based lawyers, Rich Vaughn and Molly O’Brien, European lawyer Michael Wells-Greco, and Israeli lawyer Victoria Gelfand. This step of the process was also to confirm there was no bias within the guidelines against overseas surrogacy journeys.

The document covers the legalities around parentage, ethics and social acceptance, attitude towards homosexuality, and other warning signs. MHB highly recommends inviting lawyers – both those based locally to where the journey is taking place, and one working with the IPs from their home base – to review the document and make sure that the guidelines are being met. Please ensure the lawyers are independent from any of the agencies and clinics involved in one’s journey, as otherwise there is a risk that their advice is self serving, as otherwise there is risk that their advice is self serving.

As part of our mission to promote surrogacy practices that benefit all involved, MHB created this living document to help gay, bi, and trans dads-to-be, evaluate if their potential overseas surrogacy options. While the document outlines a rigorous vetting process, these requirements were created to help keep all parties involved safe and fairly treated.

These guidelines are a further step in MHB’s goal to ensure the safety and best ethical practices of Intended Parents, surrogates and surrogacy professionals. “Men Having Babies: A Framework for Ethical Surrogacy for Intended Parents” was the original guiding document to ensure ethical protocols were being met even within agencies and clinics based in the United States and Canada. Providers outside North America should also be required to meet the Baseline Protocols in the Framework. These new guidelines go beyond the stated adherence of the providers to ensure the overall feasibility and legality of overseas journeys.

MHB is currently working on a plan to use the guidelines to evaluate specific surrogacy destinations by independent lawyers. They have invited professionals from around the world with experience in their own countries, specific to the LGBTQ+ community, to include their evaluations on how these countries measure up based on these protocols and best practices for IPs.