Facing the prospect of infertility? Surrogacy is one option you might want to explore. All you need is to discover just how the process works
If you’ve just found out you could be infertile, you’ll likely feel the path to motherhood just took an increasingly steep turn.
But don’t despair there are plenty of other ways to become a mum, including using a surrogate.
It’s time to get clued up on a very modern way of having a baby…
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves. Common reasons why couples may look at surrogacy are:
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Repeated failure of IVF
- Premature menopause
- A hysterectomy, or an absent or abnormal uterus.
What are the different types of surrogacy?
There are two ways surrogacy can be carried out: Straight surrogacy is when the surrogate inseminates herself. This can be done with or without medical intervention.
Host surrogacy is when the surrogate acts like an incubator. The couple goes through IVF and the surrogate has the embryo implanted at the right stage.
Is surrogacy legal?
In the UK, surrogacy has been legal since 1995, but there are a few considerations.
- No third party should be involved on a commercial basis – ie receive fees for ‘brokering’ a surrogacy relationship.
- Advertising for a surrogate is not allowed, nor is advertising to be a surrogate.
- The surrogate can only receive payments to cover expenses she has incurred in being pregnant (for example, clothes, travel expenses and loss of earnings). She cannot be ‘paid’ to be a surrogate.
Surrogacy involves complicated legal issues, so the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) recommend you seek legal advice before making any decisions. It is important to know that surrogacy arrangements are unenforceable.
What is my chance of having a baby through surrogacy?
Difficult to say as success rates depend on many factors including: the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant, the age of the egg donor (if involved), the success of procedures such as IUI and IVF.
According to the HFEA the age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Where do I even start?
Once you’ve had a consultation with your fertility specialist and decided that surrogacy is suitable for your circumstances, you need to find a surrogate. Fertility clinics are not allowed to find a surrogate for you.
There may be unregulated organisations in the UK that may be able to help. You should also be prepared to make the appropriate legal arrangements in order to be recognised in law as the parent of the child.
And it might be a good idea to get some counselling before starting the surrogacy process, to help you digest all the questions involved.