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Mexico was once considered a thriving destination for commercial surrogacy, but now its surrogacy business is in a precarious state. The invitation to foreigners to build their families in Mexico through surrogacy has now been rescinded.
While Mexico still plans to allow commercial surrogacy, such arrangements will only be available to Mexico’s heterosexual residents. In an about-face maneuver, Mexico is slamming its surrogacy doors to foreigners and gay couples, leaving only a sliver of business left for surrogacy agencies operating within its borders.
In Gabriela Gorbea’s article in Vice entitled, Mexico’s Booming Business of Producing Babies for Foreigners Is About To Go Bust, she interviews agency owner Geoff Moss. Realizing that India was not an option for his surrogacy agency’s headquarters, he, like many others, made a beeline to Tabasco, Mexico.
Moss called Tabasco the “ideal location.” While Moss admits that it took some time before his business was booming and intended parents considered Mexico a viable destination for surrogacy, Mexico’s easy accessibility from the United States, where most of his clients hailed from, was a major selling point.
“It took time to convince people that Mexico was a good option, that it had good doctors, hospitals, and proper attention,” Moss said.
Keeping up with the surge in business, new agencies sprouted all over the idyllic territory.
Now, any continued efforts to facilitate surrogacy arrangements in Mexico are moot.
León Altamirano, an attorney and agency owner told Gorbea, “This is a dead business.”
Altamirano, as well as other professionals in the industry, is feeling the aftermath of the state’s amended civil code. By denying foreigners, including gay couples, the ability to utilize surrogates in Mexico, the country’s capacity for future business in commercial surrogacy is severely crippled.
“Agencies and intermediaries are also banned from the process, as the agreement can only be signed between the contracting parents and the surrogate mother,” Gorbea wrote. She added, “Legislators promoting the reform argued that the lack of regulations made surrogate mothers vulnerable to exploitation and had created a potential hotbed of human trafficking.”
Although most Mexican surrogacy experts have accepted the reality that commercial surrogacy in Tabasco is soon to be a distant memory, Ivan Davydov indicates that his surrogacy agency, CARE, is working to appeal the restrictive changes made to the civil code.
While Moss is quick to paint a pretty picture of the inner workings of surrogacy in Mexico, some wonder if recent scandals, including the revelation by a Mexican surrogate that she was unknowingly implanted with an embryo created with sperm from an HIV-positive intended father and the crackdown on surrogacy in Cancun, where it was being practiced illegally, may have influenced the ban. Such scandals have also raised questions as to the adequate pay and care of surrogates.
Gorbea pointed out that the commercial surrogacy “crackdown” is already underway, stating that “…authorities in Tabasco closed down one clinic that offered surrogacy and fertility services last week.”
Just as quickly as surrogacy agencies opened in Tabasco, they are expected to close. Agencies that operated in Mexico are on the lookout for a new global hub for the commercial surrogacy business, and many have pegged Cambodia as the next prime location in which to set up shop.