Commercial surrogacy in Colombia is unregulated and common. A feature in the Spanish newspaper El Pais begins: “Finding a surrogate in Colombia is as easy as buying or selling a second-hand car in the classified ads.” Women are paid about US$6,000.
The system is corrupt. According to Colombian law, the mother on the birth certificate must be the birth mother; she also nominates the father. But for surrogate births, clinics “pay the doctors to provide the names of the parents who bought the baby instead of the woman who has just given birth,” according to El Pais. “The whole business is neatly tied up.”
These machinations have given rise to an entire network of document forgery and fraudulent records of newborn babies that the Colombian authorities have been unable to address effectively. Each year, with the help of lawyers and aided by notaries, hundreds of foreigners return to their countries with babies born via surrogates. No surrogacy records have been kept.
Going through a surrogacy agency gives prospective parents more peace of mind, but it comes at a price. An all-inclusive package for a baby is about US$65,000. That includes legal fees, hotels, finding a surrogate and managing her pregnancy.
In September last year, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ordered Congress to regulate surrogacy within six months. So far, nothing has happened.