For the majority of folks, making a baby isn’t exactly hard work—something accomplished, dare we say it, even accidentally. But for plenty of others, procreating takes some real planning, and sometimes some hard cash. From fertility drugs to egg donors to surrogates, there’s a world of options available to gay couples and heterosexual couples who have difficulty conceiving, provided they can afford it. And now, a new industry is emerging to help produce babies for families uninterested in adoption (or legally prevented from adopting), using an international network of surrogate mothers and egg and sperm donors, away from countries with restrictive surrogacy laws, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Among others, companies like PlanetHospital (which was already in the medical tourism business) are in the business of assembling “world babies,” using an egg donor from one country, a sperm donor from another, and a surrogate in a third. Fees are lower for these “baby concierge” services, running from $32,000 to $68,000, a relative bargain when compared to up to $200,000 for a U.S. surrogate. Assembling a “world baby” also helps prevent sticky legal situations, like when a surrogate decides to keep the baby, sometimes encountered in countries with more restrictive surrogacy laws. Clients can choose from a variety of packages, making selections like the number of embryo transfers, twins, and gender preference.
This new industry comes with a range of potential problems and ethical quandaries. Parents of the babies produced from these pregnancy puzzles can sometimes face difficulties obtaining birth certificates and passports from their home countries. And when clinics sometimes implant multiple embryos into multiple surrogates to improve the odds of a successful birth, clients are sometimes faced with tough questions about whether they want to abort any of the fetuses, or if they’re willing to end up with more babies than they had initially planned to have.
If you had trouble conceiving and couldn’t afford a U.S. surrogate (and weren’t interested in adoption), would you consider using an overseas surrogate?