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.
This could be because of medical conditions such as, recurrent miscarriages and repeated implantation failure. Surrogacy is also the option for same sex male couples who wish to have a baby through IVF. The intended parent(s) then becomes the legal parent(s) of a child born through surrogacy.
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.
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.
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 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.
Surrogacy is a fertility treatment option for couples and individuals who cannot conceive naturally. There are all kinds of reasons why you might need treatment with a surrogate. Reasons for needing surrogacy include people who are:
Surrogacy is also used by male same sex couples who are hoping to start or add to their family. Learn more about surrogacy for gay couples here.
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 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.
There are some non-profit agencies that we’ve worked with who can provide practical advice to help you find your surrogate:
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 to talk through your needs, worries, and all the possible implications with dedicated support and counselling sessions.
Our surrogacy coordinator and one of our consultants will begin looking after you as soon as you contact us.
Before you do anything else, if surrogacy is something you’re considering we advise you to seek legal advice and support to work through all the legal implications that come with entering a surrogacy agreement.
We’ll also offer you counselling with CARE so we can help you to be sure you’re happy with your decision and understand all the different aspects of your treatment.
For both gestational and traditional surrogacy, we start with making the embryos.
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.
When your embryos and surrogate are both 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.
The cost of surrogacy in the UK depends on the type of treatment required and whether this includes IVF, ICSI or IUI. View our fee schedules for more information on treatment costs.
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.
The success of Surrogacy is dependent on several factors:
To determine whether surrogacy is right for you the first step is to book a consultation at your local CARE clinic and a fertility specialist will provide advice on the various treatments and processes of Surrogacy.