How to create families via cross-border surrogacy

In mid-August Scandinavia’s very first surrogacy education conference will take place in Stockholm. Both Danish and Swedish gay dads will share their experiences in creating families via cross-border surrogacy and you can take part in it.

How to create families via cross-border surrogacy

Ahead of Scandinavia’s first surrogacy education conference in Stockholm, gay dad Sam Everingham looks at how gay Scandinavian singles and couples in have been using surrogacy to create families.

Amongst the twenty three speakers sharing their expertise at Sweden’s inaugural surrogacy conference on 12 August in Stockholm will be eight gay dads who created families via cross-border surrogacy. Some are Swedish or Danish, others will come from Australia, the UK, Canada & Israel to share their learnings regarding journeys which created a new life in the US, Canada or Mexico.

Many started without understanding the hurdles – relying simply on hope and trust; some experienced tragedy and heartache; some switched to a second agency or a new country when the first let them down.

Eduardo Afonso is one Swedish single gay dad speaking at the conference who longed for children for 20 years before investing in surrogacy. His surrogacy journey led to the birth of twin girls in Thailand in 2014. Like me, Eduardo is much more knowledgeable now, but did not have the benefit of any surrogacy education before he commenced.

Despite an absence of enabling laws, Scandinavians have been creating families via surrogacy for many years. Research by Families Through Surrogacy in 2015 investigated ’source’ countries for surrogacy. Of the 57 nationalities represented, Norway was the third largest user of surrogacy globally proportionate to population size.

With surrogacy unavailable domestically, the US, India and Thailand have been popular destinations. But in the last few years, discomfort with cultural inequality and power imbalances has meant not only India and Thailand but Cambodia and Nepal have closed access to foreign intended parents.

So gay men are now turning to environments such as the US and Canada where surrogates are well-educated and empowered and where post-birth contact with surrogates is far easier. Although Danish domestic policy only allows altruistic surrogacy. the law is silent on overseas arrangements.

While many heterosexuals are now working with surrogates in Ukraine or Georgia (countries unavailable to gay men), the downside is wait times of ten weeks before they can return home post-birth. Reliable surrogacy options for gay men are now limited to North America, but there is an upside. Wait times before they can bring a newborn son or daughter home from Canada or the USA are closer to two weeks. Once in Denmark, a Danish passport and child registration are available.

As well, entrepreneurial surrogacy providers are now providing lower cost US programs by for example outsourcing the IVF process to countries such as Cyprus, Mexico or India, which can save up to SEK190,000. The changing landscape of surrogacy globally and practical advice will be discussed at Families Through Surrogacy’s Stockholm conference for intended parents on 12 August. Details at familiesthrusurrogacy.com.

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