Surrogacy for gay men
Growing up gay in the late 90s in Sheffield, I have to say that having kids never really figured in my thinking. But in just a few short years, gay people have won the right to get married and starting a family is no longer as unusual as it once was.
Using a surrogate for IVF
My husband and I decided that we would like to try having a child through surrogacy and it wasn’t long before we were learning the difference between straight surrogacy (where the surrogate is also the egg donor, i.e. a turkey baster situation) and host (where the surrogate is not the egg donor), as well as a whole raft of other terms.
One of the most important decisions is also basically one of the first; should we try surrogacy in the UK or abroad?
The most popular overseas surrogacy destination is the USA, where the law in states like California allows for a thoroughly regulated system, although the overall cost can be prohibitive, as well as the distance you find yourself from the amazing woman who is carrying your child. After a bit of research, we realised we were attracted to the idea of being more involved with the whole pregnancy and decided to look into what it might look like to pursue surrogacy in the UK.
Using a UK surrogate
Surrogacy arrangements here exist with two main legal points that is important to understand.
1. It is illegal in the UK to advertise for a surrogate and to pay for a woman’s service as a surrogate. What is legal, however, is to cover reasonable expenses, and it is on this basis that many happy families have been created. Surrogacy UK is one organisation that creates an environment for intended parents (IPs), both gay and straight to meet amazing women who, for a myriad of reasons, have decided that they would like to help couples who otherwise can't have a child naturally. Through both an online community and regular social events, relationships develop which are then the basis for a surrogacy journey with friendship, support and trust at the heart. Which leads on to the second legal issue.
2. The surrogate is the legal mother of the child at birth and remains so until a court procedure called a Parental Order has been granted, usually six weeks after the birth. This means that, in the absence of any law requiring the surrogate to hand over the baby at birth, the relationship that is built between the IPs and surrogate is extremely important. The instances of the surrogate not giving the baby to the parents (or indeed the parents changing their mind) are vanishingly small - unless of course you subscribe to The Daily Mail’s worldview!
So where did all this lead me and my husband? Well, we’ve met a dynamic, smart and funny woman who would like to help us with our plan to start a family of our own and, together with the support of Surrogacy UK and of course her husband and kids, we have been spending the last few months establishing the kind of relationship that we feel confident will weather the ups and downs of what lies ahead. And if we are lucky enough to end up with a little nipper, we will have achieved a very special thing together and it is our plan, and indeed one of the main principles of Surrogacy UK, that our friendship with the surrogate shouldn’t just end there, but continue to develop and grow long into the future.
With thanks to Surrogacy UK and their member for sharing their experience.
CARE Fertility: www.carefertility.com London: 0207 616 6767
Surrogacy UK: www.surrogacyuk.org/