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International Surrogacy

The Law Center has been handling surrogacies for nearly 20 years. We are also uniquely situated to help families in international surrogacy matters.

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National Leaders in Surrogacy Law

Our attorneys have significant experience, and are national leaders and speakers, in this intersection of surrogacy law and immigration. We represent clients from all over the United States and the world when a surrogacy arrangement is crossing a national border.

There are two types of international surrogacy cases and we have substantial experience in both: (1) incoming cases (meaning a child is born abroad and is being brought into the United States to live with the intended parents); and (2) outgoing cases (meaning a child is born in the United States and is leaving the United States to live with the intended parents abroad).

Incoming Surrogacy Cases

Incoming surrogacy cases are fairly unregulated, and some of the practices that have developed abroad within this “industry” are scary and unethical. Many problems have arisen for children born of these arrangements. There are news stories of children being left stateless, parentless, or both in the “destination countries.” There are stories of intended parents being stranded in a foreign country because the local courts will not recognize their parentage of the child they created. There are also grave concerns about the exploitation of impoverished women in some “destination countries” being used as surrogates and egg donors.

The Law Center strongly warns families who are considering a surrogacy abroad to consult with a U.S. attorney first, one who is experienced in these matters and practices immigration law. Such a consultation should definitely occur before a child is conceived.

Our attorneys can talk to you about the different countries involved and how to ensure that the arrangements are conducted ethically and morally for all participants. Some countries should be avoided, for many reasons, including moral ones. We can also discuss strategies to ensure that the child born has secure parentage and will have some type of immigration status or citizenship in the United States after birth.

One of our attorneys, Emily Dudak Leiter, has significant experience handling incoming cases from Canada. Emily has also co-authored a Position Paper for the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (“AAAA”), which was submitted to the Hague Conference on Public International Law in the Netherlands. The paper proposes a treaty framework to regulate international surrogacy arrangements in an ethical and efficient way. For more detailed information on bringing a child home to the United States after a surrogate birth abroad, please read Emily’s handout here.

Outgoing Surrogacy Cases

As for outgoing surrogacy cases, some foreign individuals come to the United States, and our dear Wisconsin, for surrogacy and fertility treatments because of the state-of-the-art technology and our country’s reputation as a safe place for surrogacy. Sometimes they come because surrogacy is forbidden in their country of residence. These individuals should have an attorney in the United States in the state where the surrogate resides, and when the surrogate resides in Wisconsin, we can help. We also strongly caution foreign intended parents to retain an attorney in their home country to address the child’s parentage and citizenship in the home country.

Another attorney at The Law Center, Lynn J. Bodi, has significant experience in handling this type of case when the child is born in Wisconsin. Lynn has handled Wisconsin surrogacies for intended parents from China, Japan, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, and more. Lynn is fluent in French and especially loves working with families from France.

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