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Guide for Americans Doing Surrogacy in Mexico

If you are an American, you might be choosing Mexico because the cost of surrogacy in the US is just too expensive. The average cost of surrogacy in Mexico is approximately $70,000 to $90,000 USD while the cost of surrogacy in the US can be as high as $200,000 USD. Mexico is a popular destination for surrogacy for Americans because of its proximity to the US. It takes about just a couple of hours of flight to get to Mexico as opposed to European or South American destinations, and Mexico is a more familiar destination to those who travel to places like Cancun for vacation.

The Pros and Cons of Doing Surrogacy in Mexico Compared to Doing It in the US

Advantage of doing surrogacy in Mexico

Obviously, the cost is the biggest factor that drives Americans to Mexico for surrogacy. The cost of almost everything surrogacy-related in the US is more expensive than in Mexico. Take a look at the chart, below.

US Mexico
IVF Cost $14,000 USD – $20,000 USD $7,000 USD – $10,000 USD
Egg Donor Cost $10,000 USD – $40,000 USD $5,000 USD – $12,000 USD
Surrogate Compensation $45,000 USD – $70,000 USD $15,000 USD – $25,000 USD
Frozen Embryo Transfer $3,000 USD – $5,000 USD $3,000 USD – $7,000 USD
Surrogacy Lawyer Cost $5,500 USD – $15,000 USD $6,500 USD – $12,000 USD

Particularly striking is the difference in the average surrogate compensation. The cost of surrogate compensation in Mexico is 25% to 50% of that in the US. This is because the average income and cost of living are lower in Mexico. The average salary in Mexico in 2023 was 33,200 MXN per month or 398,400 MXN per year (approximately $24,000 USD). This means that a surrogate getting $20,000 USD of compensation is almost a year worth of mid-income salary. In the US, only few people are willing to carry a child for 9 months for $20,000, but in Mexico, that amount can be life-changing for some women looking to go to college or start her own business.

Overall, the cost of having one child through surrogacy in the US might be $150,000 USD to $200,000 USD, whereas the same can be done in Mexico for less than $100,000 USD. Some Americans even do two surrogacy journeys at a price tag of less than one journey in the US.

Advantage of doing surrogacy in the US

The biggest advantage of doing surrogacy in the US is the presence of surrogacy-friendly laws in some states. In states like California, Colorado, and Maine, intended parents can get a pre-birth order that recognizes the full legal parentage of the intended parents before the child is born. In these states, surrogacy contracts are legally enforceable and intended parents are treated as the legal parents of their child born through surrogacy.

In Mexico, the same kind of rigorous legal framework for surrogacy cannot be found. There are no regulations that either support or prohibit surrogacy other than in 2 states: Sinaloa and Tabasco. The 2021 Supreme Court ruling supports the legitimacy of surrogacy and recognizes the parentage of intended parents for children born through surrogacy, but states and Mexico City still follows the tradition of recognizing the surrogate mother as the legal mother of the child. What this means is that intended parents may have to initiate a constitutional challenge (Amparo) in the court to assert their parentage claim and remove the surrogate as the legal mother from their child’s birth certificate. While this court action is generally successful and intended parents do get recognized as the legal parents at the end of the legal process, it adds several months to the journey after the birth of their child, during which the intended parents must stay in Mexico.

What’s the Exit Process Like for Americans?

If you are an American with American citizenship, you may be able to pass your citizenship to your child depending on your specific situation. If you are eligible to pass your citizenship to your child, you can apply for CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) for your child. You can also apply for an American passport for your child at the same time if you believe your CRBA application will be successful. In order to apply for a CRBA, you’ll need to attend an appointment in person at the consulate with the following documentations. Both of the legal parents have to be present at the appointment.

  • Proof of parent(s)’ US citizenship. This can be your US passport and/or the original Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship.
  • Original marriage certificate if you are married.
  • Divorce or death certificate, if applicable.
  • Proof of physical presence in the US. Typically, this is 5 years of residence in the US before the birth of the child, but it may vary.
  • Passport photograph and fees.
  • Your child’s original birth certificate with the name(s) of the parent(s) and the date the document was filed.

Just because you are an American citizen doesn’t necessarily mean that you can pass your American citizenship to your child. You can pass your citizenship only if one of the following conditions is met:

  1. A male US citizen is the father of the child and is genetically related to the child.
  2. A female US citizen is the legal mother (emphasis added – the female parent must be on the child’s birth certificate) and is genetically or gestationally related to the child.
  3. A US citizen is not genetically or gestationally related to the child but is married to a parent who is genetically or gestationally related to the child. This parent doesn’t have to be a US citizen.

In the following situations, you are able to pass your citizenship to your child even if you don’t do Amparo and the birth certificate has only the intended father’s name on it:

  • You are a male US citizen married to a female (US citizen or non-citizen), using your own sperms and either donated eggs or your wife’s eggs
  • You are a male US citizen in same-sex relationship, using your own sperms
  • You are a male US citizen who is single, using your own sperms
  • You are a male non-US citizen married to a male US citizen, using your partner’s sperms
  • You are a female US citizen married to a male US citizen, using your own eggs or donated eggs and your husband’s sperms
  • You are a female non-US citizen married to a male US citizen, using your own eggs or donated eggs and your husband’s sperms

In the following situations, you are able to pass your citizenship to your child but you will have to Amparo to amend the birth certificate:

  • You are a male US citizen married to female (US citizen or non-citizen), using donated sperms and your wife’s eggs
  • You are a male non-US citizen married to a female US citizen, using your own sperms or donated sperms and your wife’s eggs
  • You are a female US citizen married to a male (US citizen or non-citizen), using your own eggs and donated sperms
  • You are a female US citizen married to a male non-US citizen, using your own eggs or donated eggs and your husband’s sperms
  • You are a female US citizen married to a female US citizen, using donated sperms and your own eggs or your wife’s eggs
  • You are a female US citizen married to a female non-US citizen, using donated sperms and your wife’s eggs
  • You are a female US citizen who is single, using donated sperms and your own eggs
  • You are a female non-US citizen married to a female US citizen, using your wife’s eggs and donated sperms
  • You are a female non-US citizen married to a female US citizen, using your own eggs and donated sperms

In the following situations, you are not able to pass your citizenship to your child even if you do Amparo:

  • You are a male US citizen or non-citizen, married or single, using donated sperms and donated eggs
  • You are a female US citizen or non-citizen, married or single, using donated sperms and donated eggs

In all of the cases above, I am assuming that a surrogate carries the fetus so none of the intended parents will be gestationally related to the child. The detailed analysis can be found on the guide to the exit process for American intended parents.

Note that American embassies in Mexico may require you to prove your or your partner’s genetic linkage to the child through a DNA test. The DNA test has to be done at an approved lab, and it may take up to a month to have the result ready.

Once the CRBA application is approved, your child can get an American passport and fly back home.

What CRBA is and isn’t

CRBA is a proof that your child can inherit US citizenship from their parents. It is not a proof that you and/or your partner are the legal parent of the child. If you are transmitting your US citizenship to your child, your name will be on the CRBA. If only you are transmitting your citizenship to the child and not your partner (for example, if your partner is a non-US citizen), you have a child to add your partner to the CRBA. If you choose to do this, you will have to prove that your partner is also connected to your child.

Should I remove the surrogate’s name from the birth certificate if I don’t have to?

The Amparo process can take 1 to 3 months, and that’s why some intended parents ask whether they can come back to the States without going through the process if they don’t need to. If you don’t go through the Amparo process, you may be able to come back to the US in just a few weeks. However, there are some points to consider.

  • Often, the surrogate asks for her name to be removed from the birth certificate. This legally absolves her of any parental rights and obligations to the child. In the past, some surrogates have been charged with child abandonment when the intended parent left the country with the child.
  • Some agencies and lawyers require that you go through the Amparo process to remove the surrogate’s name from the birth certificate for the above reasons.
  • If you are a female intended parent whose name is not on the birth certificate, you may want to do a second-parent adoption when you come back to the US. Adoption will formally recognize that you and your partner have equal parental rights.

Final Thoughts

Many American are looking into surrogacy in Mexico because of the substantial cost savings. If you are considering Mexico as your surrogacy destination, do a thorough research to understand the nuances of surrogacy in Mexico. Doing so will save you unexpected wait time or cost during your surrogacy journey in Mexico.

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