Surrogacy is a process in which a woman, known as the surrogate, carries and gives birth to a child on behalf of another individual or couple, known as the intended parents.
Surrogacy can be an option for individuals or couples who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term on their own. It involves a legal agreement between the surrogate and the intended parents, outlining the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. For more information, see this guide to surrogacy and the law.
There are two main types of surrogacy:
Adoption is an alternative option for individuals or couples who wish to build their family. In the UK, adoption is a legal process through which a child becomes a permanent member of a new family.
There are several types of adoption, and different routes that each family’s adoption journey can take. This includes domestic adoption (adopting a child within the UK), intercountry adoption (adopting a child from another country), and step-parent adoption (when a step-parent legally adopts their partner's child).
There are two ways you can adopt a child in the UK - through a council approved agency, or through a voluntary agency. These agencies can help guide you through the whole process, the legalities, the formalities and screening process. During the screening process, you will have to undergo several assessments to test your suitability for adoption, a full criminal background check, medical exam and will need to provide 3 referees who can testify to your character.
Once these formalities have been carried out, the process of finding a suitable child can take around 6 months to a year, and if this goes well, you will then be matched with a child for adoption. There are children in the system from newborn to aged 17 all looking for a home and family. To make the adoption legally binding, you can apply for an adoption court order which grants you full parental rights and responsibilities for the child.
Navigating through the adoption process can be both an exciting and challenging time. It is a journey that often involves a range of emotions, uncertainties, and important decisions.
Having a support system in place can make a significant difference during this time. Here are some avenues where you can find support groups and resources to assist you along your adoption journey.
Below are some amazing charities and organisations which offer support and resources to adopters and those looking to adopt: