Surrogacy is an agreement in which a woman chooses to become pregnant and carry a baby for somebody else.  There are different types of surrogacy: gestational surrogacy, and traditional surrogacy are examples of the different types.

A person who is waiting to become a parent via surrogacy is called an “intended parent.” Couples and individuals of any type may choose this path to parenthood, but most intended parents are:

  • People who have struggled with infertility
  • Single parents
  • Same-sex couples
  • Anyone who is unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term

The difference is in whose egg is used. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s egg is used, so she is the biological mother of the baby. In gestational surrogacy, the egg comes from the intended mother or a donor, so the surrogate is not biologically related to the baby. Intended parents can also have help from egg or sperm donors if they need it.

Gestational surrogacy is more common. 

An embryo is created in fertility clinic using IVF is then transferred to the surrogate.

There are a number of different ways that intended parents and surrogates can find each other.  Some intended parents find their surrogate independently.  Alternatively there are four main surrogacy organisations in the UK who can help intended parents find a surrogate.  Joining an organisation may reduce the risk associated with surrogacy. It is illegal for intended parents and surrogates to advertise that they are looking for a surrogate or willing to act as a surrogate.

Under English law surrogates can only be paid their reasonable expenses.  A surrogacy agreement will often set out in detail what payments will be made and when. The amount that a surrogate is paid for her expenses depends on many factors.

Generally the journey can take 18 – 24 months but there a number of variables that will affect this: time spent waiting for a match with a surrogacy partner, however long it takes for the surrogate to become pregnant, and more. 

It is possible for a family member to act as a surrogate.  Choosing this option can come with unique emotional challenges, so everyone involved should receive counselling, no matter how much they trust one another. This helps keep the relationship healthy and happy.

In theory this can happen because the intended parents are not the legal parents of the baby until a parental order is made by the court. This can sometimes be many months after the baby is born.  In practice these situations are extremely rare.

You should consider the following:

  • Fertility treatment costs
  • The surrogate and the intended parents should make wills
  • Immigration (if working with a surrogate abroad)
  • Life insurance for the surrogate
  • Agency fees
  • Legal costs
  • Parental leave

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Would you like to know more?

For help and advice, talk to a member of our team. They can advise on the best options in your matter.

Call: 01708 229 444 Email us


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