MEXICO CITY – After countries such as India and Thailand restricted the “rent-a-womb” option for foreigners, Mexico is emerging as the next niche for this mode of reproduction and Congress is taking steps to prevent it.
Currently, only the states of Tabasco and Sinaloa have laws recognizing surrogate maternity, and there are legal loopholes in the legislation.
The Senate has passed a bill to amend the Health Act with the intention of regulating surrogate maternity.
The bill, still pending approval in the lower house of Congress, aims to make surrogate maternity accessible only to Mexican citizens and as a non-profit practice.
The proposal also makes surrogate pregnancy possible “only under strict medical prescriptions” for married couples with fertility problems, excluding same-sex couples and singles.
Mexico “doesn’t want to became the next reproductive tourism hot spot on the international scene” after restrictions in Asian countries sent people seeking surrogate mothers abroad, “tilting the international market toward Tabasco,” Marcelo Bartolini, an attorney for the Early Institute, told EFE.
Renting a womb in Mexico is three times cheaper than in the neighboring United States.
Costs for the biological parents range from 500,000 to 700,000 pesos (between $28,000 and $39,000), to which must added all the health-care costs incurred by the woman carrying the baby all the way to labor,” Ivan Davydov, legal counsel for Care Surrogacy Center Mexico, told EFE.
The woman in whose womb the embryo is implanted gets between 150,000 and 270,000 pesos ($8,400 to $15,000), which is “not enough compensation,” Davydov said.
In response to critics who argue that surrogate maternity takes advantage of low-income women in dire economic situations, Davydov said that women “who live in extreme poverty cannot be candidates.”
The potential womb-for-rent candidate is a woman between 25 and 35 who has had her own children and has not been pregnant for 365 days before the new gestation.