Introduction to Surrogacy
Surrogacy is the process whereby a woman will aid a couple in having a baby by carrying and giving birth to the child.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the process whereby a woman will aid a couple in having a baby by carrying and giving birth to the child. Surrogacy can be classified as either straight surrogacy or host surrogacy with the difference lying in who are the child’s biological parents. It is important to note that regardless of which type of surrogacy is pursued the surrogate mother terminates her parental rights upon birth.
People who consider surrogacy as a means to have a child may have experienced fertility problems or are in a same-sex relationship. It may also be the case that other fertility treatments have failed to aid the couple in having their own child.
It is an inherently lengthy process and all medical, legal, financial and ethical considerations will have to be properly addressed before beginning the process.
How is the Surrogacy procedure performed?
There are two types of surrogacy: straight surrogacy and host surrogacy. Straight surrogacy, also known as full surrogacy, involves a surrogate mother artificially conceiving the child through IUI (intrauterine insemination) of the intended father’s sperm. This process will use the surrogate mother’s uterus and eggs. Host surrogacy involves the surrogate mother carrying a donated embryo, which is usually conceived through IVF. This method uses both you and your partner’s biological sperm and egg, and so the child would be the couple’s biological child. When the surrogate mother has given birth to your baby she would normally go on to terminate her parental rights and give you and your partner the baby.
How to prepare for the Surrogacy procedure?
Surrogacy agreements are not regulated by a central organisation and as a result of this most agreements are arranged through private agencies. Surrogacy UK is a non-profit organisation that acts a platform for couples to meet potential surrogate mothers, although it is not involved in negotiating the agreements. It is very normal for couples to be actively involved in the pregnancy, and for the surrogate mother to be involved in the baby’s life after the birth. Surrogacy is legal in the UK, however it is illegal for a couple to advertise for a surrogate or for someone to advertise as a surrogate. Similarly, it is also illegal for a clinic to find a surrogate for you. Legally you are not allowed to pay the surrogate mother a fee for the service; you are only allowed and expected to cover expenses, such as travel, and any maternity loss of earnings. It is extremely important to have established a relationship with a potential surrogate mother before the procedure.
What happens after the Surrogacy procedure?
After birth your baby will be registered as the child of the surrogate mother, irrespective of whether she is genetically related to the child. Afterwards, you and your partner will need to seek legal parentage either through a parental order or by applying for adoption.