Countries where surrogacy is legal – A Global View

Surrogacy is not legal in India for foreign intended parents. It’s a widespread truth now. In the year 2002, the Indian Government finally legalized commercial surrogacy in the country. The decision taken by the Indian Government was in the direction of promoting medical tourism in the country. The Confederation of India predicts to generate over 2.3 billion by the end of the year 2012.

Disclaimer: In 2015, the Indian government made a significant decision to prohibit surrogacy services for foreigners. This marked a turning point in the regulation of surrogacy in the country. Subsequently, in 2016, the government introduced and approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, which introduced a comprehensive redefinition of surrogacy and laid down a set of regulations to govern this practice.

However, there are several countries like Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Poland, France, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Finland, Austria and Finland where surrogacy is prohibited.


Most governments in Western countries are in favor of the complete prohibition of all types of surrogacy arrangements. More so, in certain jurisdictions, criminal and civil penalties even apply for people who consider entering into these types of arrangements. All types of surrogacy arrangements are banned, despite of the fact whether they are for commercial or altruistic purposes. However, in some countries, there is an alternative view to releasing the law that would accept the altruistic purpose of surrogacy while prohibiting commercial surrogacy.

Complete Surrogacy Prohibition

In the United States, there are many states where all forms of surrogacy are prohibited according to the surrogacy law. These states include New Jersey, Arizona, and Michigan. There are other European countries that also prohibit any type of surrogacy arrangement like Italy, Norway, Sweden, and so on. In countries like Australia, all types of surrogacy arrangements are prohibited and criminal and civil penalties are also imposed on people, who try to enter into any sort of surrogacy agreement or contract and also on people who facilitate them. In Queensland and Australia, all kinds of surrogacy contracts are also prohibited.

Partial Surrogacy Acceptance

While commercial surrogacy is wholly prohibited in most Western countries, altruistic surrogacy is permitted. In some states of America, like Washington, NebraskaandKentuckyonly commercial surrogacy is prohibited while altruistic surrogacy is allowed. In these states, all the surrogacy contracts are regarded unenforceable and if any kind of dispute arises then the contract terms can not be enforced. Similarly in Wales and England, commercial surrogacy is an offence but surrogacy is not illegal.

Commercial surrogacy is completely prohibited in European countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, Greece, and France. In the other states of Australia like (except Queensland) the Capital Territory of Australia, Victoria, South AustraliaandTasmaniacommercial surrogacy has been prohibited and surrogacy which is purely based on altruism without the money being paid to the surrogate mother is only allowed.

There is a Surrogacy Arrangement Act in the United Kingdom which allows the surrogate mother to achieve some sort of reimbursement for genuine medical as well as pregnancy-related expenses. On the other hand, there are other states of the US without any kind of specific legislation concerning surrogacy arrangements. This is the same with some parts of Australia like the Northern Territory, Western AustraliaandNew South Wales.

The South African countries do not follow any kind of consistent surrogacy regulation nor does it have any sort of specific prohibitions against any kind of surrogacy contract or agreement. However several courts from different jurisdictions while in the process of adoption stated that they would not approve any kind of surrogacy arrangement and could only grant adoption orders to commissioning or intended parents.

All types of surrogacy arrangements taking place without any kind of legislative provision include countries like Ireland and Finland. In countries like New Zealand, there is no such specific legislation that has to do with surrogacy. However, there is a bill pending in the New Zealand Parliament related to this subject as well. If ever the bill is passed then it can also take the country into a sort of partial acceptance or facilitation.

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