Surrogacy is when a woman is not able to carry a pregnancy and “commissions” another woman (surrogate) to carry the baby on her behalf.
Who requires surrogacy?
You are unable to carry a pregnancy for medical reasons. Some girls are born without a uterus; some women have had their uterus removed (hysterectomy) because of disease or haemorrhage; some women have medical problems that would make a pregnancy dangerous for them. In these cases it is still possible to become a parent by using a surrogate to carry your baby for you. Men in a same sex relationship will also require a surrogate to help them become parents.
What does surrogacy involve?
Host/gestational surrogacy is when you use your own eggs and partner’s sperm to create an embryo using IVF treatment. The embryos are then transferred into the surrogate mother’s uterus. Any resulting child born from host surrogacy will carry your genetic material and is not biologically related to the surrogate mother.
Payment of a surrogate is not allowed in the UK (unlike in some other countries) but reasonable expenses may be reimbursed, and could include costs due to loss of earnings from time off work, travelling expenses, and maternity clothes.
At birth, the surrogate mother is the legal mother of the child. Parenthood can subsequently be reassigned via Parental Order applications through the Courts. Relevant legal advice will be needed to steer would-be parents through the process.
How do I find or become a surrogate?
Although treatment must be carried out by HFEA-licensed fertility clinics, we are not permitted to recruit surrogate mothers on your behalf, so you must find your own. Contacting the organisations COTS (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy) or Surrogacy UK would be a good starting point for advice on how to do this. Their websites are available below in the Links to Surrogacy websites section.
Links to Surrogacy Agency Websites:
Surrogacy UK: www.surrogacyuk.org
Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS): www.surrogacy.org.uk