Who might have surrogacy?
Surrogacy may be appropriate for women with a medical condition that makes it impossible or dangerous for them to get pregnant and give birth. These include:
Absence or malformation of the womb
Recurrent pregnancy loss
Repeated in vitro fertilisation (IVF) implantation failures.
It’s also a popular option for male same-sex couples who want to have a family and can be used by single people.
How does surrogacy work?
There are two types of surrogacy:
Full surrogacy (also known as host or gestational surrogacy) is when the eggs of the intended mother or a donor are used and there is, therefore, no genetic connection between the baby and the surrogate.
Partial surrogacy (also known as straight or traditional surrogacy) involves the surrogate’s egg being fertilised with the sperm of the intended father. If you go down this route, we recommend you have treatment at a licensed UK fertility clinic.
How successful is surrogacy?
Success rates for surrogacy depend on many factors, including:
The surrogate’s ability to get pregnant
The age of the woman whose eggs are being used
The success of the treatment you’re having (ie, IUI, IVF or ICSI)
The quality of the father’s or donor’s sperm.
Does the age of the surrogate matter?
If you’re using the surrogate’s eggs, your chances of having a baby will depend on how old she is.
Women over 35 can be at greater risk of health problems or complications during pregnancy, which is something else to consider. The age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects the chances of pregnancy.
How much does it cost to have a surrogate?
At p4 fertility, we discuss the individual plan. We offer personalised treatment and discuss the estimated cost. You’re not allowed to pay a surrogate in the UK. However, you are responsible for reimbursing any reasonable expenses that the surrogate incurs such as maternity clothes, travel expenses and loss of earnings. Expenses vary. According to a report by Surrogacy UK, surrogates typically receive £10,000-£15,000, although this will depend on your circumstances. For example, extra expenses may apply if your surrogate has twins. You’ll also need to pay for your clinic treatment. Costs for this vary depending on what you’re having. If you’re using your eggs and sperm or donated eggs from someone who isn’t the surrogate, you’ll need to have in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is more expensive than IUI. If you’re using sperm that isn’t of the highest quality you may need to have intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, which is an additional cost on top of IVF.
What are the legal issues to consider?
Surrogacy involves a lot of complicated legal issues which is why you should seek independent legal advice, especially if you’re having treatment overseas.
The most important thing to know is that, in the UK, the surrogate is the legal mother of the child unless you get a parental order from the court; even if the eggs and sperm used are yours or donated (ie, she’s not genetically related to the child). Once you have a parental order for the baby, the surrogate will have no further rights or obligations to the child.
Who the second legal parent is at birth will depend on your circumstances? If the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, her partner will automatically be the second legal parent (until a parental order is granted), unless it can be shown that her partner did not consent to her treatment. If the surrogate is single, then the man providing the sperm (if he wants to be the father) will automatically be the second legal parent at birth. However, the surrogate can nominate a second legal parent such as the intended mother or non-biological father if you’d all prefer. To do this, both the intended second parent and the surrogate will need to give their consent before the sperm, egg or embryo are transferred. The law previously only allowed two people to apply for a parental order, however, it has recently been changed and it is now possible for one person to apply for a parental order if you are a biological parent of the child (i.e., your eggs or sperm were used to create the baby).
This is a complicated area so you should discuss this with our team.
What about if we want to go abroad? Can I have surrogacy treatment aboard / outside UK?
More and more hopeful parents are having surrogacy treatment overseas. In UK law, surrogacy is treated as an altruistic act so paying a surrogate anything more than reasonable expenses is illegal. However, commercial surrogacy is permitted in some other countries.
Many people who have treatment abroad are very happy with the quality of care they receive, but you need to do your research first.
Legal arrangements differ from country to country and getting a passport and getting your child back to Britain can be a very difficult and time-consuming process.
You should also know that even if you’re named on a foreign birth certificate as the legal parents of your child, you’ll still need to apply for a parental order when you return to the UK. This is because UK law recognises the surrogate as the legal parent(s) until you have a parental order.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have produced guidance for people considering having surrogacy treatment abroad.