Surrogacy describes the arrangement made when a woman agrees to become pregnant and have a baby for another couple. The woman having the baby is called the surrogate and the couple who will become the parents are known as the intended parents (IPs).
Surrogacy is often the only course of action available to women who are unable to carry a baby to term themselves, and to male gay couples.
There are two forms of surrogacy: Full/host surrogacy and Partial/straight surrogacy.
In this scenario, the intended parents use IVF treatment to create embryos using their own sperm and eggs. The embryos are then placed in the uterus of the surrogate. Where the treatment is a success, the intended parents are the genetic parents of the baby. It is also possible to use donated eggs or sperm.
Partial surrogacy involves the surrogate becoming pregnant by artificial insemination or IVF, using the sperm from the intended father together with her own eggs. In this instance, the child shares the surrogate’s genes.
If you have decided that surrogacy is the right fertility treatment for you and your partner, we’ll carry out our usual fertility assessments on you both to give you a clear idea of your chances of having a successful treatment cycle. As your gametes will be carried by a third party we will need to screen you both, just as if you were egg or sperm donors. This means that you will need to have blood tests for genetic screening as well as screening for diseases.
It’s important to note that surrogacy is not controlled by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA). It’s illegal to become a surrogate for commercial reasons. Therefore the only payments that can be exchanged between the Intended Parents and their surrogate are those that can be classed as reasonable expenses. We charge our usual fees for any necessary IVF and insemination procedures. It’s also illegal for us, as a licensed fertility centre, to find a surrogate mother on behalf of any couple and the responsibility for finding your surrogate lies with you. However, there are some great organisations that can help, such as:
The Fertility Network (UK) www.fertilitynetworkuk.com
Surrogacy UK www.surrogacyuk.org
Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS) www.surrogacy.org.uk
The British Surrogacy Centre (BSC) www.britishsurrogacycentre.com
Brilliant Beginnings www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk
Families Through Surrogacy www.familiesthrusurrogacy.com
We strongly recommend that you take legal advice before embarking on a surrogacy journey, either as the would-be parents or as a surrogate. The laws surrounding surrogacy and the rights of each party are complicated.
We also provide free, mandatory counselling for everyone involved in surrogacy, so you can be sure that you have talked through, and understand all the moral and emotional implications and are happy with your decision to continue.
Your next steps
If you’d like to talk about the implications, both legal and treatment-related, of choosing surrogacy to start your family, please do give Sarah Templeman, our Surrogacy Nurse Manager a call on 01992 78 50 67 or email Sarah.Templeman@hertsandessexfertility.com