Growing Families (formerly Families Through Surrogacy) are running their last seminar for the year in Dublin on Thursday, November 14, and it promises to be a big one.
While Ireland remains without any surrogacy laws in place, most LGBT+ couples and singles seeking to create a biological family are venturing offshore. While Irish IVF clinics are often willing to ship to embryos overseas, they will not transfer embryos to a surrogate in Ireland.
It has left some LGBT+ couples resorting to ‘unofficial’ traditional surrogacy, using the surrogates eggs and home insemination. Others have had an Irish woman offer to carry for them and travelled overseas for the embryo transfer.
For the majority of LGBT+ Irish couples getting clucky, the USA and Canada have been solid, dependable options for years. But in the last 18 months, demand for Canadian surrogates has far outpaced supply, so there can be very long wait times to a successful match. Many are spending large amounts on creating embryos in Canada and then finding it difficult to locate a surrogate. Multiple LGBT+ singles and couples are reporting being ‘matched’ with a surrogate, paying large fees, only to have the match fall through and being asked to wait up to 180 days to be re-matched.
Meanwhile, in the US, some very good agencies can organise an appropriate surrogate in 6-10 weeks while others are charging huge fees for agency support, only to have no surrogate match nine months later and no means of recouping monies paid.
More affordable Asian destinations such as India, Thailand, Nepal and Cambodia are now closed to foreign surrogacy. So more recently some Irish LGBT+ couples have been investing in Kenyan surrogacy – a program that has had serious problems.
In Ukraine, a country that allows surrogacy for married heterosexuals only, at least one provider is assuring LGBT+ couples they can enrol – arranging forged medical letters and a sham marriage with a local woman. Too often vulnerable singles and couples are being conned.
Such stories make it essential that you do your homework and speak to parents and non-aligned experts. Even Irish surrogacy lawyers find it hard to keep up with the changing landscape.
While far less experienced than the US, there are proven surrogacy programs accepting LGBT+ singles and couples in Mexico, Cyprus and Colombia and an emerging program in the Czech Republic. All of these have provisos attached.
So whether you are currently engaged in surrogacy or contemplating it, being informed is essential. At the Hilton Kilmainham on November 14, parents and experts will share their experiences. There will also be a focus on the latest options in the US and the Czech Republic. See full details on how to register here.
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