Many couples choose surrogacy as part of their treatment journey if it is unsafe for them to become pregnant or give birth. Same sex couples may also choose to use a surrogate host to help them start a family.
When a woman gets pregnant through IVF or IUI and carries the child for another person or couple, it is known as surrogacy.
There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. Gestational surrogacy is more commonly practised and is where a surrogate mother becomes pregnant through IVF and is not genetically related to the child she carries.
Traditional surrogacy is when a surrogate mother becomes pregnant through IUI. She will use her own eggs and will be genetically related to the child she carries.
Many people turn to surrogacy to start or build their existing families for a variety of reasons, including:
Straight couples who have experienced repeat miscarriages or multiple failed IVF or IUI attempts
Women who are unable to carry a child
Parents who have genetic defects or health conditions that they do not want to pass onto the unborn child
Same-sex couples who want to have genetic links to their child
To become a surrogate mother, a woman must meet certain requirements. These are dependent on the fertility clinic you choose, but you can expect requirements to include being over 18, being in good health with a normal BMI and having no previous health or pregnancy problems.
A surrogate mother would, ideally, already have a family of her own and the support of her partner.
While surrogacy is legal in the UK, it is illegal for surrogate mothers to advertise their services. Couples or individuals who wish to use a surrogate are also not allowed to advertise their needs. Therefore, you may need the help of an introduction agency, who can offer you advice and support for your surrogacy journey. The below websites are a great place to start:
Brilliant Beginnings: www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk
COTS- Surrogacy in the UK: www.surrogacy.org.uk
Surrogacy UK: www.surrogacyuk.org