ovu.com - OVU.com

Surrogacy in Mexico | Legislation | Process | Cost | Clinics

Surrogacy in Mexico | Legislation | Process | Cost | Clinics

An Insightful Guide on Surrogacy in Mexico for Intended Parents 

Mexico is a federated state, which means surrogacy legislation has its own hurdles and nuances within each region and is, thus, a complex issue. However, gestational surrogacy — altruistic or commercial — is not prohibited and can be accessed by Mexican and foreign intending couples and singles. Although surrogacy is not expressly regulated at the national level, it has been developed by some of the Mexican federal entities and through extremely progressive judicial precedents.

Some prospective parents initiate the arrangements with the birth in Mexico, using the Mexican gestational carrier, while others are engaging in cross–border surrogacy with IVF in Mexico and the birth in the United States.

Unlike the United States, Mexico has no legal regulation for assisted reproduction technology (ART). Instead, ART is regulated through national organizations such as the Mexican Association of Reproductive Medicine (Asociación Mexicana de Medicina de la Reproducción, abbr. AMMR) and the Latin American Network of Assisted Reproduction (REDLARA).

The lack of ART legislation makes Mexico an attractive hub for infertile couples and singles opting for medically assisted reproductive services, as there are no legal regulations that restrict or prohibit in–vitro fertilization (IVF), gender selection, egg donation, or sperm donation treatment.

In this article, we will explore the legislation on surrogacy and treatments involving donations of reproductive cells, the process, cost fluctuations of Mexican vs. cross–border experience, and clinics initiating the medical part of surrogacy arrangements. Let’s start with legislation first.

Legislation on Surrogacy in Mexico

Surrogacy in Mexico dramatically changed in late 2021 when Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared it a protected medical procedure and issued a significant ruling. They stated that the right to have children, including through gestational surrogacy (altruistic or compensated), is an internationally recognized right. This decision effectively legalized surrogacy throughout Mexico.

However, the legal landscape for surrogacy varies across individual states. While the Supreme Court’s decision establishes a national framework, states retain some autonomy in regulating the practice. Surrogacy is expressly regulated in Sinaloa and Tabasco, which allow it under certain requirements. For its part, the practice is expressly prohibited in San Luis Potosí and, under certain circumstances, in Querétaro. While Tabasco and Sinaloa have specific regulations for initiating surrogacy arrangements, some of it has been ruled as discriminatory by the courts. For example, Tabasco prohibits foreigners (non–Mexican citizens or residents) from signing a surrogacy contract, which means that prospective parents may need to file a constitutional trial to have a judge remove these prohibitions. This highlights the ongoing legal complexities surrounding surrogacy in some Mexican states.

In certain Mexican states, like Mexico City, the intended parents’ names can now be listed on their baby’s birth certificate upon the birth. But not all jurisdictions have adopted the Court’s directives.

The Supreme Court, however, has established minimum requirements for surrogacy contracts nationwide, promoting fairness and protecting the rights of both intended parents and surrogate mothers. These requirements ensure that the contract clearly establishes the risks and obligations of each party and that both parties are informed of the consequences of non–compliance. Additionally, the intended parent(s) cannot deny the surrogate mother her rights or put her health at risk. In compensated surrogacy, financial compensation must be clearly outlined in the contract and overseen by authorities.

In addition to the above, the Supreme Court has established other requirements to protect both parties entering the surrogacy agreement. The surrogate mother must be healthy, between 25 and 35 years old, she must sign informed consent before the medical treatment, and she does not need her partner’s permission to enter into the contract. She can be married or single, have already given birth to their own children, have a good reproductive and obstetric history, be Mexican or foreign, be a close friend or a relative of the intended parents or not. The prospective parents may or may not be married heterosexual couples, may be single or LGBTQ+ couples, can be Mexican citizens or foreign nationals, and may be advised by agencies or clinics throughout their process.

Surrogacy Law in Mexico City

Intending couples or single parents opting for treatment in Mexico City must start by signing a contract with a gestational carrier that protects both parties while always recognizing the vulnerability it (the contract) might create.

However, Mexico City offers a unique legal framework with a whole host of protections for both intended parents and surrogates. One important safeguard is a residency requirement—surrogates must have been legal residents of Mexico City for at least three years.

A cornerstone of this framework is the pre–birth parental court order. This order, approved by a judge who oversees the entire process, establishes the intended parents as the legal parents from the outset. This eliminates the need for any post–birth adoption or parental orders in Mexico.

Two options exist for obtaining a birth certificate listing the intended parents:

  • Pre–Birth Application: The contract can be submitted to local courts before the baby’s birth. This aims to list the intended parents’ names immediately, allowing them to leave the country without delay. However, success isn’t guaranteed.
  • Amparo Trial (Post–Birth): Alternatively, a human rights trial can be initiated after the baby’s birth. While this process may delay departure, it has a high success rate and offers a secure outcome for everyone involved.

It is worth noting that while Mexico City streamlines the process, additional legal steps might be necessary upon returning to your home country.

Stepping Back in the Past of Mexican Surrogacy

Prior to 2021, entering into an international surrogacy agreement in Mexico presented significant challenges for intended parents who lacked established ties to the country. This barrier has been removed, with no longer any specific legal restrictions on foreign couples pursuing surrogacy arrangements. However, navigating surrogacy in Mexico as a foreign national can involve complexities.

Important Considerations for Foreign Intended Parents 

Foreign single parents and intending couples who choose surrogacy in Mexico should familiarize themselves with Mexican reproductive law ahead of entering an agreement. It is important to know that there are risks due to the still–evolving regulations.

Here are some key considerations:

  • Mexican Citizenship and Birth Certificate: By law, the baby will be born with Mexican citizenship, and the surrogate’s name will legally appear on the birth certificate, which automatically grants parental rights. This is why working with a reputable attorney and agency is essential.
  • Preparation, Paperwork, and Documentation: Navigating Mexican surrogacy legislation as a foreigner requires preparation, paperwork, and documentation. A DNA test may also be required.
  • Legal Team and Agency Support: Your legal team and agency will help with essential steps like preparing a comprehensive legal contract, establishing parental rights for the intended parents, and obtaining U.S./Canadian citizenship for the baby (if applicable).

Egg Donation and Sperm Donation in Mexico

Egg, sperm, and embryo donation are legal in Mexico. Fertility centers offer a diverse selection of donors from various ethnicities, including Mexican, Spanish, Argentinian, Brazilian, Peruvian, Colombian, European, and Middle Eastern backgrounds. Clinics ensure a fair and inclusive process, guaranteeing equal access to treatments using donated oocytes and IVF with approved sperm donors for heterosexual couples, same–sex couples, single men, and gay singles.

Prior to selecting the egg or sperm donor, intended parents receive comprehensive donor profiles in the clinic’s database. These profiles typically include several photos, a personal biography, education information, detailed health and reproductive history, and family and genetic background. This thorough information helps prospective parents make informed decisions and choose the ideal donor to continue their treatment program.

Gender Selection 

Unlike many countries that prohibit sex selection for non–medical reasons in IVF embryos, Mexico allows gender selection through Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) during in vitro fertilization (IVF) for surrogacy. This is because Mexico lacks specific legislation or legal frameworks restricting this technique. PGT screens embryos for chromosomal abnormalities and sex chromosomes. This offers an alternative for intended parents seeking family balancing, avoiding sex-linked genetic diseases, or wanting a child of a specific gender. However, gender selection for non-medical purposes raises ethical concerns, with some viewing it as a way to create designer babies.

Logistics and Regulations for Shipping Embryos to Mexico

Intended parents considering surrogacy in Mexico with their own genetic material may need to arrange international shipping of embryos, oocytes (eggs), or sperm. Specialized medical couriers handle this process, ensuring safe transport using cryogenic containers at ultra–low temperatures. Clinics in Mexico often partner with such couriers and can guide patients through the logistics and necessary documentation for a seamless import process. It is worth noting that regulations around importing biological materials can vary, so consulting with both the clinic and the courier service is essential for a successful shipment.

Breaking down the process further, vitrified embryos (frozen through a specific process) can be shipped from international clinics to Mexican facilities for the completion of surrogacy via cryotransfers (frozen embryo transfers). Similarly, vitrified oocytes (eggs) and cryopreserved sperm can be shipped for use in Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a procedure that fertilizes eggs by injecting a single sperm directly into the egg.

However, prospective parents should be aware of the legal restrictions and logistical hurdles involved, especially when using donor genetic material. Importing and exporting reproductive materials can be more complex if a compensated donor is involved. Generally, transporting embryos and sperm from the intended parents is simpler than using donor eggs or embryos. For those who have created embryos with donor assistance, obtaining their legal consent for transport is essential.

Fortunately, most medical couriers offer multimodal delivery options (land, air, or sea) depending on your needs. They also leverage the latest technology to ensure the safety of your cells, tissues, and embryos during transport. CryoShippers, designed specifically for cryogenic temperatures, often come equipped with Data loggers, a monitoring system with internet connectivity, GPS, and various sensors. This allows for real–time monitoring of temperature, pressure, location, and potential disruptions, providing peace of mind throughout the journey.

Surrogacy Process in Mexico 

For those considering gestational surrogacy in Mexico, it’s essential to understand the steps and the timelines involved so you can plan ahead. Understanding each step makes it easier to see how the process might fit around or affect your schedule. For example, you might need to cancel the business trips or delay them when undergoing an IVF and coming to take the baby home. Some stages, like waiting for a surrogate match or embryo transfer results, can take several weeks, so factoring in flexibility is key. A clear timeline helps you manage expectations and ensures everyone involved feels prepared for the exciting journey ahead. Moreover, the transparency of each step of the process and its timeframe will allow you to take a break before moving on to the next step and address any personal needs or commitments.

Initial Consultation

When choosing to work with an agency, either Mexican or global, offering a cross–border experience, prospective parents should expect an initial consult with a Case Manager to discuss their medical and fertility history and the different treatment options (IVF, Egg Donation, or others) available to resolve their unique case.

For intending couples or individuals who have already found a surrogate willing to help them, the Case Manager may schedule an appointment at the fertility clinic to qualify her as a potential gestational carrier and negotiate the medical procedures and the process involved.

Those who need a gestational surrogate will be matched with her at a later stage.

Finding a Gestational Surrogate

Finding a compatible surrogate can take several weeks or even months prior to match meetings and final agreements. Intended parents working with an agency will typically have access to detailed profiles of potential surrogates. These profiles often include information about medical history, motivations for surrogacy, and desired compensation. Parents can review these profiles and express interest in candidates who seem like a good fit. The agency will then facilitate communication and initial screenings to ensure everyone feels comfortable moving forward to the match meeting stage.

Match Meeting(s) and Final Matching

Once potential surrogates and intended parents have undergone initial screenings and counselling, the agency facilitates match meetings. These in–person or virtual meetings allow both parties to get to know each other on a personal level. It is a chance to discuss expectations, communication preferences, and answer any lingering questions. After a successful match meeting, there is usually a legal review period for both sides. Once everyone feels comfortable and confident about moving forward, the final matching officially takes place, solidifying the surrogacy partnership and paving the way for a beautiful journey.

Implications Counselling

Any surrogacy arrangement includes counselling for both intended parents (couples or singles) and the prospective surrogate. This ensures everyone involved fully understands the implications of surrogacy treatment and how it will affect their lives emotionally, legally, and financially. Counselling explores topics like parental rights and responsibilities, potential medical risks, and navigating the complex emotions that can arise during pregnancy and after birth.

Legal Framework Establishment: Blueprinting, Negotiating, and Signing the Surrogacy Contract

Following successful match confirmation, intending couple or single parent–to–be and the gestational mother make an essential step by establishing a secure legal framework. This is achieved through drafting, negotiating, and finally signing a comprehensive surrogacy contract This contract transparently outlines all parties’ rights, responsibilities, and expectations, including the intended parents, the surrogate, and any relevant agencies. The contract is a blueprint for the entire journey, ensuring clarity and legal protection throughout the surrogacy process.

Surrogate Screening

Following implications counselling, prospective surrogates undergo a thorough screening process. This ensures they are physically and emotionally prepared for the journey ahead. It typically involves:

  • Medical Evaluation: A comprehensive medical evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional assesses the surrogate’s overall health, fertility history, previous pregnancies, and suitability for pregnancy. This may include physical exams, blood tests, ultrasounds, and psychological assessments.
  • Psychological Screening: In–depth psychological counselling explores the surrogate’s motivations, expectations, and emotional well–being throughout the surrogacy process.
  • Background Checks: Background checks verify the surrogate’s identity, medical history, and lifestyle factors that might impact the pregnancy.

This inclusive screening process protects the health of both the surrogate and the intended parents, fostering a safe and secure foundation for a successful surrogacy journey.

Semen Analysis and Freezing

Once the intending couple has decided how to proceed, they will usually undergo a semen analysis to ensure the quality of the prospective father’s semen is sufficient to give the best chance of creating healthy embryos. Once the father–to–be has these results, he can provide a semen sample for freezing. This will be thawed and used to create embryos.

To further ensure safety, the sperm sample undergoes a mandatory quarantine period of at least 3 months. This period allows for the detection of any potential underlying infections or issues with the sperm that are not apparent immediately. After quarantine, intended parents can choose to pause the process, knowing their sperm is securely stored for future use.

IVF process

Intending heterosexual couples wishing to use their oocytes and sperm in IVF or give a try for the intended mother’s oocytes while having an egg donor backup in Tandem IVF cycles will undergo a whole round to create the embryos for surrogacy.

Prospective parents seeking egg donation will be introduced to a donor database to select an egg donor with characteristics that match their requirements. The timeline usually depends on the specific characteristics required. Once the donated eggs are retrieved or transported to the clinic, the frozen sample can be thawed and used to create embryos.

The process typically involves:

  • Ovulation Stimulation: The intended mother (or an egg donor, or both the intended mother and egg donor) undergoes hormonal medication to stimulate the production of multiple eggs.
  • Egg Retrieval: Mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries (ovarian follicles) through a minimally invasive surgical procedure known as “egg retrieval” and “follicular aspiration.”
  • Sperm Collection: Sperm is collected from the intended father (or a sperm donor) through a simple procedure. In some cases, when the prospective father cannot provide a sperm sample due to factors like low sperm count, blockage, or vasectomy, he may undergo a sperm retrieval procedure. This is a more sophisticated method enabling the collection of sperm directly from the testicles or epididymis.
  • Fertilization: Each oocyte will be injected a single sperm via technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Fertilized oocytes will be cultivated for a few days, usually, 5 or 6, until they reach the blastocyst stage.
  • Embryo Selection: After several days of development, the healthiest embryos are chosen for implantation.
  • Embryo Transfer: Following successful embryo selection, the embryos are transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier (surrogate) in a process similar to a routine pap smear. This is when the pregnancy journey truly begins for the intended parents and the surrogate.

Surrogate’s Pregnancy Confirmation

Approximately 10 days after the embryo transfer, the surrogate returns to the fertility clinic for a blood test to confirm pregnancy. If the test is positive, an ultrasound scan is scheduled to confirm the viability of the pregnancy, meaning a healthy heartbeat and fetal development. Typically, the clinic will monitor the surrogate’s care up to the 12th week before referring her to local prenatal care. Unfortunately, if the transfer is unsuccessful, the intended parents will work closely with their consultant to understand the reasons and plan their next steps.

Cost of Surrogacy in Mexico 

While the average cost of surrogacy programs in the United States and Canada usually exceeds $119,000 and results in $169,000, Mexican standard programs may save the intended parents between 39% and 69% of their budgets. The total cost of the non–guaranteed surrogacy program in Mexico typically ranges from $56,000 to $60,000 USD and can be broken down into installments.

  • The First Installment (approximately  $15,000) usually covers services associated with surrogate matching, drafting, and signing a legal agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of the clinic, intended parents, and surrogate, legal fees including consultations, contract preparation, and official registration, surrogate selection and screening, and coordination and care.
  • The Second Installment (approximately  $15,000–$16,000) covers several key expenses associated with the medical and legal process: IVF treatment, initial payment for embryo transfer, and legal fees for voluntary jurisdiction.
  • The Third Installment (approximately ∼ $12,000–$15,000) covers expenses related to ongoing support throughout the pregnancy, comprehensive surrogate coordination, surrogate prenatal care, and legal fees.
  • The Fourth Installment (approximately ∼ $13,000–$14,000) covers the final payment to the surrogate and the legal fees associated with the official birth certificate and registration of the child.

Cost of Cross–Border Surrogacy Programs Initiated in Mexico

In contrast, cross–border surrogacy programs offered by global agencies may incur additional logistical and legal complexities. These programs typically cost more, ranging from $62,900 to $69,900.

Mexican guaranteed surrogacy programs pricing fluctuates between $70,900 and $79,900 for a singleton baby and $135,900 and $139,900 for a “Sibling Guarantee” with two surrogates.

IVF Surrogacy

A single–attempt surrogacy program using the prospective mother’s eggs and the prospective father’s sperm is available at a basic cost of $59,300 and up to $69,900. It includes in vitro fertilization (IVF), a birth package (hospital fees, delivery, and basic postpartum care for the surrogate), and local clinic fees. Some more inclusive packages may cost around $72,900 and up.

Surrogacy with a Local Egg Donor

A single–attempt surrogacy program with a local egg donor is available at a basic cost of $68,000 and up to $75,000.

“Guaranteed Surrogacy” with a Local Egg Donor

The guarantee program provides unlimited clinical procedures (IVF cycles, embryo transfers, donations, etc.) for a fixed cost of $76,900–$79,900.

“Surrogacy Only” with Shipped Embryos

Exclusively for intended parents with embryos deposited at overseas clinics, this option offers an affordable opportunity to initiate surrogacy without a fresh IVF cycle. Routinely, such program includes high–quality prenatal care, comprehensive pregnancy screening, and risk protection in case of miscarriage, high–risk pregnancy, NICU, or elective embryo reduction. The price tag for such a program varies from $52,800 to $62,900.

“Sibling Guarantee” with 2 Surrogates

The Sibling Guarantee ensures the birth of two babies with two different surrogates within one timeframe. The program cost starts at $135,900 and goes up to $149,000.

Surrogacy & Fertility Clinics in Mexico

Egg, sperm, and embryo donation are legal in Mexico, and many IVF clinics are offering such options to singles and couples seeking these services. While not all clinics offer surrogacy programs, several reputable centers specialize in gestational surrogacy. These clinics typically recommend transferring one or two embryos per procedure to maximize success rates.

Here are three Mexican clinics offering gestational surrogacy treatments:

Mexico: A Growing Hub for Fertility Treatments and International Surrogacy

Mexico has become a well–established hub for infertile couples and singles seeking medically assisted reproductive services. There are no legal restrictions on in vitro fertilization (IVF), gender selection, egg donation, or sperm donation treatments. Mexican citizens, legal residents, and foreigners can access these services regardless of their social status or sexual orientation.

The 2021 Supreme Court ruling that established surrogacy as a protected medical procedure further boosted Mexico’s appeal. Many intended parents, especially from Britain, America, and Europe, now come to Mexico for both IVF and gestational surrogacy. This has made Mexico an emerging international surrogacy destination, particularly for British intended parents who now view surrogacy in Cancun and Mexico City as a viable alternative to Ukraine and Georgia.

While Mexico offers a welcoming and streamlined approach to fertility treatments, it is vital to remember that surrogacy regulations are still evolving. Consulting with experienced legal professionals and reputable agencies is essential to navigate the legalities and ensure a smooth journey.

Get a Free Quote

Enter your phone in an international format
Please fill your county of residence so we can match you with best clinic
The more detailed address you put for a preferred destination for your treatment - the more options you will get