Cross-Border Surrogacy Standards

Cross-border surrogacy arrangements come with additional complexities and risks. To protect the interests of vulnerable surrogates, intended parents, donors and babies born from these arrangements, the Growing Families International Advisory Board has established the following guidelines that are essential to consider before engaging in cross-border surrogacy.

These standards are focused on mitigating risks and improving safety, wellbeing, and care. All who adhere to these standards commit to making international surrogacy safer by behaving with integrity and honesty.

This is general guidance only. Before embarking on surrogacy, legal advice must be obtained in both the country where the you reside and the country where the surrogacy journey will take place.

For Intended Parents:

  1. Demonstrate a genuine need for surrogacy related to medical or psychological conditions or fertility issues.
  2. Undergo appropriate psychological counseling to prepare for the surrogacy journey.
  3. Avoid engaging in surrogacy in politically unstable or conflict-affected jurisdictions.
  4. Seek professional advice to understand the legal situation and surrogacy regulations in specific countries before proceeding.
  5. Ensure eligibility for surrogacy under the destination country’s laws and secure a pathway for the child to be granted citizenship and a travel document.
  6. Ensure you have agreements and advice in writing, and you understand your rights, the risks and your responsibilities.
  7. Agreed payments to be made directly to your surrogate where possible.

For Donor and Surrogacy Agencies:

  1. Clearly outline the services provided, estimated costs, billing, and refund policies. 
  2. Ensure that all participants have the right and opportunity for independent legal advice for all gamete and surrogacy arrangements. 
  3. Disclose the agency’s facilitation policies regarding future contact among participants.  
  4. Facilitate any mutually desired contact between intended parents and surrogates before and during pregnancy. 
  5. Conduct thorough screening of intended parents, including criminal background checks and mental health evaluations. 
  6. Provide support and guidance to intended parents on insurance options, and necessary arrangements during the surrogacy journey. 
  7. Ensure transparency in surrogate care and re-imbursement.  
  8. Determine and respect each participant’s match preferences before proceeding. 
  9. Provide full disclosure to intended parents regarding the background and screening status of surrogates and donors. 
  10. Ensure that the surrogacy only occurs in a location with access to quality medical care for the surrogate and newborn. 
  11. Ensure there is full consent from the surrogate without any coercion and infringement on her rights or liberty.  
  12. Provide surrogates with safe and comfortable housing, allowing them to live with their own family during the pregnancy. 
  13. Only deal with ethical and transparent IVF clinics with an excellent standard of care. There is a duty to report any unethical or illegal activity to the relevant authorities.  
  14. Ensure agency owners are aware of the relevant laws and regulations in their jurisdiction and comply with theses at all times. 

For Surrogates:

  1. Surrogates must be citizens or residents of the country where the birth will occur. 
  2. Have successfully delivered at least one child and be raising or have raised the child and have completed their own family building. 
  3. Be financially stable and at least 21 years old. 
  4. Undergo medical evaluation and health screenings. 
  5. Understand and agree to all aspects of the surrogacy agreement including the birth registration process, having independent legal advice paid for by the intended parents. 
  6. Have been assessed and approved as suitable to act as a surrogate by an appropriate medical practitioner. 
  7. Have sole decision-making powers in relation to any pregnancy related decisions, the right to bodily autonomy, including no requirement for a mandatory c-section or termination, unless a licensed physician states in writing that either her or the fetus are likely to suffer health issues without it. 
  8. Be able to live at home with their children during the pregnancy 

For Gamete Donors:

  1. Obtain comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation before matching.
  2. Have access to family medical history and genetic screening counseling.
  3. Be over the age of consent and provided with necessary information and requirements.

For Surrogate and Donor Agreements:

  1. All participants must have independent legal counsel and agreements between them must be in writing, signed and witnessed.
  2. Include next-of-kin arrangements and assurances of intended parents’ responsibilities for any child born via surrogacy.


  1. Surrogacy agreements between the surrogate & intended parents and between the agency and intended parents, as well as relevant court orders must be provided to intended parents as soon as they are finalized, in accordance with the regulations of the state in which they take place.
  2. Documentation related to confidentiality of participant records must be maintained and disclosed only with written consent or court orders.

By adhering to these guidelines, we aim to ensure that cross-border surrogacy arrangements are conducted with the highest ethical standards, prioritizing the well-being of all involved parties and safeguarding their rights throughout the surrogacy journey.