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Foreigners come to U.S. for surrogate moms

CHICAGO, April 14 (UPI) -- Illinois, with laws friendly to surrogate mother contracts, has become a center for foreign couples seeking surrogates, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The newspaper estimates, in a story published Wednesday, that about two dozen children born in the state last year were conceived under surrogate contracts with foreigners. While the children, born in the United States, automatically become U.S. citizens, agencies who make the arrangements say foreigners come to Illinois and a few other states because surrogacy is illegal in their home countries.

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Laurie Thompson of McHenry, who has three daughters of her own, is now pregnant with twins conceived with donor eggs for a same-sex Spanish couple. She has already carried a child for a Serbian couple.

"There's such pride in knowing that I did this for somebody," she said. "This is something that is probably hard for most people to do -- with the emotional connection and everything -- and I was able to do it."

Only Illinois, Arkansas, California and Massachusetts have explicitly legalized paid surrogate mother contracts. About 1,400 babies are born to surrogates every year across the country.

While no one tracks how many involve foreigners, one large agency in California said about half its 104 births last year were for overseas parents.

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