Whilst surrogacy isn’t a donor programme in the conventional sense, it may involve elements of our donor services.
You might make surrogacy part of your treatment journey if you have a medical condition that makes it impossible or unsafe for you to become pregnant and give birth. Same sex couples may also seek use of a surrogate host, to help them achieve their dream of having a family.
Surrogacy involves a woman becoming pregnant and giving birth to a baby for a couple who want to have a child but can’t. The surrogate is the woman who carries and gives birth to the child for the intended parents (sometimes called the commissioning couple).
Examples of medical conditions that might make surrogacy necessary include absence or malformation of the womb, recurrent pregnancy loss, or repeated IVF implantation failures.
Full surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created using either:
Partial surrogacy involves sperm from a male intended parent and an egg from your surrogate. Here fertilisation is usually done by intrauterine insemination however the surrogate can also undergo IVF.
It isn’t allowed for couples or individuals to advertise for surrogates, or for surrogates to advertise their services. However, there are introduction agencies who can help with practical advice and support:
Brilliant beginnings www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk
COTS – Surrogacy in the UK www.surrogacy.org.uk
Surrogacy UK www.surrogacyuk.org
Your surrogate must be over 18 years old, in good health with a normal body mass index (BMI) i.e. less than 35, and no previous health or pregnancy problems.
Ideally, your surrogate would already have a family of her own, and have the support of her partner if she’s in a relationship. Your surrogate, and her partner if she has one, must fully and carefully consider all aspects of the process including emotional, medical, legal and practical matters – you can only reimburse your surrogate reasonable expenses.
Surrogacy is legal in the UK, but certain aspects of the process are subject to specific legal constraints:
You should bear in mind that:
At Nurture Fertility we have a legal responsibility to consider the possibility of a breakdown in the surrogacy arrangement. We need to consider whether this would cause serious harm to any child born as a result of the surrogacy arrangement, or to any existing children of you or your surrogate. An appointment with our specialised counsellor is strongly recommended for all parties involved.
To become the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy, you may either apply to adopt, or apply for a parental order.
If you can’t apply for a parental order because the above conditions cannot be made e.g. both donor eggs and sperm, or donor embryos, were used in treatment, then adoption of the baby is the only option available to you. If adoption is the path you need, then a registered adoption agency has to be involved in the surrogacy process. This is why it’s important to get legal advice before you decide to embark on surrogacy.
This transfers the rights and obligations from the surrogate to the intended parents providing certain conditions are met. To obtain a parental order:
“Having undergone IVF treatment at other clinics we finally came to the Nurture Wessex due to its proximity to our surrogate and we couldn’t have been happier with our treatment there. All of the staff, from the receptionists to the consultants and everyone in between, were friendly, helpful, efficient and professional. We felt very comfortable whenever we were there and found the standard of care far exceeded that which we’d experienced at our other clinics. We will be forever grateful to Sue and her team for helping our dreams come true.” Surrogacy Commissioning Couple”
“It really felt as though our consultant and fertility nurse were with us every step of the way, supporting us all and sharing the highs and lows of our journey. The care we received was exemplary and we were left feeling that the team was as excited and pleased by the news of our daughter’s birth as we were! Thank you, you made a difficult time of our lives much easier to navigate than we expected.”