the controversial surrogacyillegal in Spain and legal in some countries, it is a growing industry that is increasingly being used by the elderly, a thorny and controversial issue, as the case of 68-year-old Spanish actress Ana Obregón showed this week.
“It’s a worrying trend,” says an expert who has been advising stakeholders for more than two decades.
“We see more and more older people turning to surrogacy without sufficiently planning what will happen if they die before their children are adults,” Sam Everingham, director of surrogacy support group Growing Families, based in in Australia and service globally.
“Growing Families has seen a 150% increase in applications from prospective parents over the age of 50 over the past three years,” Everingham says, adding that requests come from all over the world.
The director of Growing Families, an NGO founded in 2000 in Australia, where only altruistic surrogacy is allowed (with no intermediate economic exchange), finds several reasons behind this trend.
“I think the covid-19 lockdowns have caused couples and single people without children to rethink their priorities and investigate more options for starting a family,” she says.
Furthermore, he adds, “the fact that people over 50 are healthier than they were two decades ago, more options and the usual lack of restrictions on the age of potential parents in many countries have led to this change”.
Everingham, who supports the promotion of international agreements to this effect, points out that the situation varies from country to country: “In Canada, the applicant couple cannot add up to more than a hundred years… In the United States, it usually depends on the clinic In Argentina there are no age limits,” he says.
While, in Greece, for example, its access is limited to heterosexual couples and women under 50 and in India it is required that the father be no older than 55 and the woman no older than 50.
In her experience, the top countries people go to to find a surrogate mother are the United States, Canada, Georgia, Mexico, and Colombia. “Some emerging countries are Greece, Argentina and Kazakhstan,” she adds.
He also believes that Thailand, which banned commercial surrogacy in 2015 after years of being the epicenter of the practice in Asia, “may be discussing restarting it.”
The Australian says that, in general, “demand is increasing” all over the world and, according to the organization he directs, the countries with the most per capita requests are Israel, China and Australia.
For its part, consultancy Global Markets Insights says businesses around surrogacy generated an estimated $14,000 million in 2022 worldwide, a figure the firm calculates will rise to $129,000 million in 2032.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.