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23/06/2024 - 4 min read

Is Surrogacy Legal in the UK?

For many individuals and couples, surrogacy has become a viable and popular way to become parents. This blog provides a comprehensive overview of what surrogacy is and the legal landscape in the UK, as well as how Care Fertility supports you through this journey.

What is surrogacy? 
Surrogacy is a process where a woman (the surrogate) agrees to carry and give birth to a child for another person or couple (the intended parents). This arrangement allows those who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to have a biological child. There are two main types of surrogacy: 

Traditional surrogacy: The surrogate uses her own egg, which is fertilised with the intended father's sperm or donor sperm through artificial insemination. The surrogate is the biological mother to the child.  

Gestational surrogacy: The surrogate carries a baby created using the egg and sperm from the intended parents or donors through IVF. The surrogate has no genetic link to the child. 

Is surrogacy legal in the UK? 
Surrogacy has become an increasingly popular option for many individuals and couples wishing to have children. However, the legal landscape surrounding surrogacy can be complex and varies from one country to another. If you are considering surrogacy in the United Kingdom, it's essential to understand the legal framework, processes, and implications involved. 

Legal framework of surrogacy in the UK 
In the UK, surrogacy is legal, but it is governed by specific laws that ensure the process is carried out ethically and legally. The primary legislation regulating surrogacy includes: 

The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and 2008 

The Children Act 1989 

Key Legal Aspects of Surrogacy in the UK 

Altruistic surrogacy vs. commercial surrogacy 

Altruistic surrogacy: In the UK, surrogacy arrangements must be altruistic. This means that the surrogate cannot receive payment for carrying a child, other than reasonable expenses incurred as a result of the surrogacy (e.g., medical costs, travel, and maternity clothing). 

Commercial surrogacy: Commercial surrogacy, where the surrogate is paid a fee beyond reasonable expenses, is illegal in the UK. This is to prevent the exploitation of surrogates and ensure that surrogacy is not treated as a commercial transaction. 

Surrogacy agreements 
Surrogacy agreements are not legally binding in the UK. While intended parents and surrogates can agree to terms and conditions, these agreements cannot be enforced by law. The surrogate retains the right to keep the baby until a legal transfer of parenthood is completed, however, practically this is exceedingly rare.  

Parental Orders 
After the child is born, the intended parents must apply for a Parental Order to become the legal parents of the child. This legal process involves the following steps: 

Application: The intended parents must apply for a Parental Order within six months of the child's birth. 

Conditions: The surrogate must consent to the Parental Order freely and unconditionally when the child is at least six weeks old. The intended parents must be genetically related to the child (either one or both must have contributed the egg or sperm). 

Court approval: The court will review the application to ensure all legal requirements are met before granting the Parental Order, transferring legal parenthood to the intended parents. 

Surrogacy at Care Fertility 
At Care Fertility, we provide comprehensive support for intended parents considering surrogacy. Our experienced team is dedicated to guiding you through every step of the process with compassion and expertise. 

Initial consultation 
Your journey begins with an initial consultation where we discuss your medical history, explain the surrogacy process, and answer any questions you may have. This is an opportunity to explore your options and develop a tailored plan for your surrogacy journey. 

Finding a surrogate 
We understand that finding the right surrogate is crucial. While we do not directly match surrogates with intended parents, we can provide guidance on how to find a suitable surrogate through reputable agencies and support networks. 

SurrogacyUK and COTS have some great resources on getting started on your surrogacy journey.  

Medical and psychological support 
Our team offers comprehensive medical support, including IVF treatment and embryo transfer. We also provide psychological support for both intended parents and surrogates to ensure emotional well-being throughout the journey. 

Success stories 
Many individuals and couples have successfully achieved their dream of starting a family through surrogacy at Care Fertility. Here are a few inspiring stories: 

Luke and Jacob’s Surrogacy Journey: Luke and Jacob navigated the surrogacy process with our support and are now proud parents to a beautiful little girl. They found detailed guidance and emotional support invaluable in their journey. 

Contact us 
We are here to support you on your journey to parenthood. If you’re considering surrogacy or want to learn more about your options, please get in touch. Our friendly and knowledgeable team is ready to answer your questions and help you take the next step towards building your family. 

At Care Fertility, we believe in making family possible for everybody. We are committed to supporting you with compassion, expertise, and respect. Your journey to parenthood is unique, and we are here to walk it with you, every step of the way.