Understanding surrogacy

If you are unable to carry a baby or are in a gay couple, CARE Fertility can help you to explore surrogacy and start your family through IVF.

Our teams at CARE have been helping people in the UK to have a child through surrogate mothers for many years. We use all of our experience to make your journey to having a baby as supported and informed as possible.

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when a woman, the surrogate mother, carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves for medical or physical reasons. 

Who is surrogacy for?

Surrogacy is a fertility treatment option for couples and individuals who cannot conceive on their own. There are all kinds of reasons why you might need treatment with a surrogate. Reasons for needing surrogacy include people who are:

  • Suffering from a medical condition that leaves you without a functioning womb.
  • Suffering from a medical condition that makes pregnancy difficult or unsafe.
  • Surrogacy for gay men is for male same sex couples who are hoping to start or add to their family.
  • Surrogacy for couples unable to conceive together.
  • Have tried other fertility treatments numerous times with no success.
Surrogacy Success Story

Read about one of our success stories for a  gay couple, Jacob and Luke, starting their family through surrogacy.

Types of surrogacy procedure?

There are two types of surrogacy, Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional surrogacy. Both types of surrogacy require that the surrogate mother carries a baby to term on behalf of the intended parents.


Gestational Surrogacy (Full or Host Surrogacy)

In Gestational Surrogacy, the baby is not related to the surrogate mother, and the intended parent/mother-to-be can donate her own eggs for conception and the surrogate carries and gives birth to the baby. For Gestational Surrogacy, eggs from the intended mother or donated eggs from a different party are fertilized through IVF in the laboratory with sperm from the intended father or donated sperm to make an embryo. 

The embryo is then transferred and implanted in the uterus of the gestational surrogate, who carries the baby until birth.

Traditional Surrogacy

In Traditional Surrogacy, also known as partial surrogacy, an egg from the surrogate mother is used, and is artificially inseminated, through either ICSI or IUI treatment using sperm from the intended father or a sperm donor. In Traditional Surrogacy then, the surrogate is therefore the biological mother of the baby she is carrying. 

How to find a surrogate?


Finding the right surrogate can take time, if at the time of treatment you haven’t found the right surrogate, we can take you through the IVF cycle and freeze your embryos to use later.  

If you decide you’d like to go ahead, you’ll need to find a surrogate – this can be someone you know, or someone you’ve found through a surrogacy agency.

We partner with a number of non-profit agencies who we can put you in touch with, to help you to find a surrogate and begin your surrogacy treatment journey.



There are also plenty of incredible charities and agencies outside our partnerships to help you through your surrogacy process.


When considering a surrogate there’s a lot to think about, and it might not be an easy decision to make. That’s why we’ll be with you every step of the way, from finding a surrogate, to the IVF or ICSI treatments, to the birth of your baby. Our teams at CARE are here to talk through your needs, worries, and all the possible implications with dedicated support and counselling sessions.

What does the surrogacy process look like?

Once you’ve found your surrogate and are happy to go ahead, the process will begin. You’ll be looked after by a dedicated consultant to support you and talk you through the process, answering any questions you may have.

Before you do anything else, if surrogacy is something you’re considering, we advise you to seek specialist surrogacy legal advice and support to work through all the legal implications that come with entering a surrogacy agreement. Once this is secured, the process can begin, helping you feel more peace of mind throughout.


Embryo Transfer

For both gestational and traditional surrogacy, the process starts with making the embryos. One you have found your surrogate and your embryos are ready, the embryo can be transferred into the gestational surrogate. If treatment is successful, your gestational surrogate will then carry the pregnancy as your embryo grows.

To make your embryos you can use the sperm and eggs of you and your partner, or donated sperm and/or donated eggs, as part of IVF or ICSI treatment. If you’re looking to use donor eggs or donor sperm, our donation IVF specialists will be there to guide you through the donation IVF process.

How much is Surrogacy in the UK?

When exploring surrogacy in the UK, costs are dependent on the type of treatment required and whether this includes IVF or ICSI

Surrogacy UK suggests a cost range for expenses from around £7,000 up to £15,000. However, you must remember that every situation is different, and you may wish to formalise an outline of reasonable expenses with your surrogate before entering into a surrogacy agreement.

View our fee schedules for more information on treatment costs.



“The favourite part of my job is the people I meet and the families I help. The world is full of so many selfless people and I work with these through donation and surrogacy every day. Being there to support families from the start during such an emotive time in their lives really is a privilege.”

Stacy Hearn, CARE Group Surrogacy Coordinator

Not sure if surrogacy is right for you? Talk through your options with a CARE Fertility expert to decide if the process is something that would be a good fit for you and your family.