6 Common Questions About Surrogacy

Surrogacy can be an intimidating journey, and it's important to acknowledge that. 

For soon-to-be parents who are starting their surrogacy journey, there are numerous considerations, such as selecting a surrogacy agency, egg donor, gestational carrier, and fertility practice. With so many factors to navigate, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

So, we’ve rounded up 10 common questions about surrogacy to make your journey a little bit easier!

What is Surrogacy? 

In simple terms, surrogacy is a collaborative arrangement where a woman carries a pregnancy on behalf of another individual or couple. It involves a legal agreement between the woman (the surrogate) and the intended parents.

There are also two types of surrogacy:

Full surrogacy (host/gestational surrogacy) is when the eggs of the intended mother/donor are used, so there’s no genetic connection between the baby and the surrogate.

Partial surrogacy (straight/ traditional surrogacy) involves the surrogate’s egg being fertilised with the sperm of the intended father.

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What’s the difference between a surrogate and a gestational carrier? 

A gestational carrier/surrogate is someone who carries a pregnancy but doesn’t have a biological link to the child. This is the opposite of a traditional surrogate, who donates their egg and carries the child, so is biologically related. 

What is the typical timeline for a surrogacy journey?

It’s important to remember that every experience is unique, so your timeline may be different to people you know or things you read online. Remember not to get bogged down if it takes a while; we know it can be a long, frustrating process, but just keep thinking of how rewarding it will be at the end! 

For single men or gay couples, the most important first step is selecting an egg donor as well as finding a suitable surrogate. On average, finding an egg donor takes between four to six months, depending on the donor source).

Once an egg donor has been chosen, the process of picking a surrogate typically takes between six months and a year. This step could include interviewing potential surrogates, her partner, medical screening, psychological screening and agreeing on a contract. 

And then, of course, you need to wait for the baby to be born.

On average, most surrogacy journeys take between 15 to 24 months from start to finish.

How much does surrogacy cost?

You’re not allowed to pay a surrogate in the UK. 

You are responsible for reimbursing any reasonable expenses that the surrogate incurs (eg. maternity clothes, travel expenses and any loss of earnings from not being able to work).

According to a report by Surrogacy UK, surrogates typically receive between £10,000 to £15,000, although this will be dependent on your specific circumstance.

You’ll also need to bear in mind that you’ll have to pay for your clinic treatment. This cost varies depending on the treatment you’re receiving.

How successful is surrogacy?

The age of the woman who provides the egg is the most important factor that affects the chances of a successful pregnancy.

(Read more about getting pregnant past 35)

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 (i.e., IUI, IVF or ICSI)
  • The quality of the sperm
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Are there any legal issues to consider?

Surrogacy involves complex legal considerations, which is why it is crucial to seek independent legal advice, especially when undergoing treatment abroad.

In the United Kingdom, it is important to understand that, by default, the surrogate is considered the legal mother of the child unless a parental order is obtained through the court. This remains the case regardless of whether the eggs and sperm used are yours or donated. Once a parental order is granted, the surrogate will no longer hold any rights or obligations towards the child.

The determination of the second legal parent at birth depends on your specific circumstances. If the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, her partner will automatically be recognized as the second legal parent until a parental order is issued, unless it can be demonstrated that her partner did not provide consent for the treatment. 

If the surrogate is single, the man providing the sperm will automatically be considered the second legal parent at birth if he wishes to assume the role of the father. However, it’s possible for the surrogate to nominate a different second legal parent, such as the intended mother or non-biological father, if that is the preference of all parties involved. 

In such cases, both the intended second parent and the surrogate must provide their consent before the transfer of sperm, egg, or embryo takes place.

To facilitate this process, the surrogate must complete the SWP - Your consent (as a surrogate) nominating an intended parent to be the legal parent form, while the intended second parent must complete the SPP - Your consent to being the legal parent in the surrogacy form.

Click here to read our blog on the facts of surrogacy and adoption.
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