Do I Have to Be a US Citizen to Qualify As a Surrogate?

Feb 14, 2024
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Surrogacy is complex and controversial — and most surrogacy agencies in the United States require candidates to be US citizens. Find out you have to be a US citizen to be a surrogate.

Many folks unable to bear their own children turn to surrogacy to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. Though more accepted today than in the past, surrogacy remains controversial.

In the United States, many people question the legal and ethical aspects of surrogacy, and laws vary from state to state; it’s even illegal in some. The same is true around the world.

Are you wondering whether you must be a US citizen to be a surrogacy candidate? The answer depends on the surrogacy agency.   

At Great Beginnings Surrogacy Services (GBSS) in San Diego, California, our fertility and surrogacy expert, Dr. Samuel Wood, and our team of care coordinators are leaders in the industry. Though we serve clients from all over the world, our surrogates must be US citizens. 

Read on to learn why.

Surrogacy guidelines 

Surrogacy is when a person carries and delivers a baby for someone else. It’s a medical process with legal and ethical concerns. Currently, there are no federal surrogacy laws or regulations in the US, leaving it up to the states to govern.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has created guidelines to help agencies like ours keep our surrogates healthy and safe. 

These guidelines suggest surrogates:

  • Be of legal age, ideally between 21 and 45
  • Have at least one healthy, full-term pregnancy
  • Have no more than five vaginal deliveries or three Cesarean sections (C-sections)
  • Have a stable and supportive home environment

Candidates who meet these basic requirements must then undergo physical and psychological testing to determine if they can be surrogates.

Ethical, legal, and cultural concerns

The ethical, legal, and cultural aspects of surrogacy make it a controversial issue, further complicating the medical process. 

Ethical concerns

Critics argue that surrogacy is exploitative to women, putting their health at risk and a price tag on their ability to bear children. These ethical issues are especially concerning for women facing financial hardship who may not have complete control over the decision-making process.

Legal concerns

Legal concerns involve the rights and autonomy of everyone involved in the surrogacy process, including the surrogate, intended parents (IPs), and child. Legal rights depend on the laws of the state or country, which vary considerably.

Cultural concerns

Cultural perspectives on surrogacy contribute to the controversy. Many people oppose infertility treatment because it goes against their religious beliefs. 

Why citizenship matters

Though not perfect, surrogacy is well-regulated in the US, attracting IPs from all over the world. We can help noncitizen IPs grow their family, but our surrogates must be US citizens.

Using noncitizens as surrogates complicates the process and may affect parental rights and enforcement of any contracts between the IPs and the surrogate. It may also put the surrogate in legal danger.

Surrogacy is a complicated process that affects physical, emotional, social, and financial well-being. Adding legal and ethical challenges to the process compounds these effects.

Most surrogacy agencies in the US require their surrogates to be US citizens. 

Are you considering surrogacy to help someone grow their family or to grow your own family? We can help. Schedule an appointment with our experts by calling our office today or booking a consultation online.