For many people entering the world of fertility services, the legal landscape can be intimidatingly complex. That’s why we offer access to an expansive network of leading attorneys at the forefront of reproductive law in the United States.
The very best in reproductive legal protection
In most countries, surrogacy and fertility law (also known as reproductive law) is complicated at best. People looking to become parents with surrogacy services are often subjected to harsh restrictions, unregulated systems, and poor legal protection as parents. Many countries also impose tight restrictions on who can use assisted reproductive technology (ART), limiting applicants to married heterosexual couples. This means loving same-sex couples or single women looking to start their own families are often left without options.
These are just some of the reasons IMA ART decided to locate our home out of California in the United States. In California, parents' rights are protected by state law and by precedent. This way, parents can rest easy knowing that once their heir arrives, they won’t have to worry about legal issues, complications, or delays returning home.
Protecting Your Rights as Parents
“Our national network of lawyers on the cutting edge of reproductive law makes it so you won’t have to worry about unforeseen complications or delays. With IMA ART, you can trust that your legal rights will be protected, and your privacy ensured.”
IMA ART FOUNDER
In Hong Kong, only legally married couples can benefit from IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. And while the number of women undergoing IVF has increased in past years, success rates for births have not. Additionally, commercial egg donation isn’t allowed. People seeking fertility services in Hong Kong may struggle with long waits for publicly funded IVF, high costs in the private sector, and ineligibility for IVF (e.g., same-sex couples, unmarried couples, individuals, or surrogates).
Numerous assisted fertility treatments are banned throughout China, including commercial egg or sperm donors, the use of surrogacy technology, using sperm without an official certificate from the Human Sperm Bank, and egg freezing if you’re a single woman. Additionally, human assisted reproduction technology is not allowed for couples and single women outside the scope of the national population and family planning regulations.
While Japan holds some of the highest numbers in the world for women who undergo infertility treatments, it also has one of the lowest success rates. Additionally, only legally married heteroxesual couples can benefit from IVF, with single women and same sex couples using donor sperm from a third party unable to receive IVF.
Compare Reproductive Law Around the World
Assisted fertility technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donors, and donor sperm are either restricted to specific clients or unregulated. For instance, most countries offering fertility treatment restrict services to married heterosexual couples, and often only to those with recorded fertility problems. Additionally, the commercial availability of donor sperm or eggs is often tightly controlled, service providers are limited, and IVF is only available to specific clientele.
When it comes to surrogacy, few countries have as much safety and legal protection as the United States. Many are shocked to hear that the only countries in the world where commercial surrogacy is explicitly legal are the United States (on a state-by-state basis), Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia. However, just because surrogacy arrangements are legal, doesn’t mean they are well-regulated or without issues.
In Russia and Ukraine, gestational surrogacy is legal — but only under specific conditions. Couples must be heterosexual and have a recorded history of fertility issues.
In Russia, the only part of surrogacy contracts that’s enforceable is financial responsibility. This means if the gestational carrier decides to keep the baby, parents have no legal protection. In December 2022, the Russian parliament passed a bill that bans foreigners from using Russian surrogate mothers.
In Ukraine, lax regulations have led to varying qualities of reproductive health care and can make returning home with your child difficult. The conflict has added other huge challenges.
Russia and Ukraine
Although surrogacy has been legal in Georgia for heterosexual couples with fertility issues since 1997, there are very few regulatory systems in place. The lack of regulation often means surrogates receive poor-quality health care. This can lead to high risk pregnancies, birth defects, and low success rates.
The same goes for Kyrgyzstan, where surrogacy is legal, but few protections and regulatory structures exist.
Although surrogacy agencies/clinics claim surrogacy is legal in Mexico, there is no legal framework for foreigners or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy in Mexico. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers are not enforced by Mexican courts. U.S. Embassy & Consulates warned about this in 2021.
Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Mexico
Couples who consider low-cost options for surrogacy often don’t recognize the risks. Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia have banned surrogacy, and offenders can face criminal prosecution. Laos has few surrogacy laws, leaving parents unprotected. Additionally, babies born in Laos must obtain a Laos birth certificate, which only recognizes the biological father and surrogate mother as parents. This is true even if the surrogate is not biologically related to the baby, as with gestational surrogates.