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LGBTQ+ fertility care: Legal and funding FAQs

If you’re same-sex partners or LGBTQ+ couples, singles, co-parents or a poly family, then you’re in the right place to find answers about fertility care in the UK.

As a national provider of fertility services, we help people like you on their pathway to parenthood.

We ensure people under our care know where they stand when it comes to legal parenthood and access to funding.


On this page you’ll find information for LGBTQ+ people about:

  • NHS funding for fertility treatment

  • Using an egg or sperm donor

  • UK surrogacy laws

  • Legal parent status

If you’re planning to use donor eggs or sperm, then we always recommend seeking legal advice for your individual circumstances.

For those pursuing surrogacy, it's mandatory for the intended parents to obtain specialist legal advice and for your chosen fertility clinic to receive a copy.

Your fertility clinic will be able to provide general information regarding legal parenthood, however, they cannot legally advise on a case-specific basis - only a specialist solicitor can do so.

Fertility funding for LGBTQ+ people

For same-sex female partners

In the UK, funding for fertility treatment depends on where you live.

Each area of the country is managed by a local integrated care board (ICB), which sets the budget and funding for that region.

Lesbian partners or same-sex female couples and individuals may be able to access the following funding:

  • NHS-funded IVF if they haven’t conceived after 6-12 self-funded cycles of IUI or artificial insemination

  • Six cycles of funded IUI if you live in Scotland

You may also need to meet additional criteria, such as non-smoking status, a BMI between 19-30, no previous children, and age.

You can find out more about funding in your area by contacting your GP, or you can get in touch with us to find out your options.

Access Fertility offers schemes in the UK to help with the cost of IVF, and receive a refund if you don’t have a baby.

Their schemes are available for same-sex female couples, including to have reciprocal IVF.

LGBT Mummies offers a variety of support groups that can also help provide guidance.

For same-sex male partners

The main path to parenthood for same-sex male partners is surrogacy or adoption.

Currently, surrogacy and IVF for surrogacy are not funded in the UK, so you will need to pay for the cost of treatment yourself.

It’s illegal to pay a surrogate in the UK.

Your costs will involve reimbursing the surrogate for any expenses and paying for treatments related to the surrogacy, such as a fertility assessment and IVF.

If you’re using your sperm in fertility treatment, you’ll need to have a semen analysis to assess the quality of your sperm.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to get a sperm count test through your GP.

However, many private fertility clinics will require you to undergo a complete fertility assessment before starting IVF for surrogacy using your sperm.

The Fertility Foundation is a UK charity that provides grants for fertility treatment, including surrogacy for same-sex male couples.

For trans and non-binary people

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is responsible for setting guidance around fertility treatment funding.

Currently, they don’t provide specific guidance for trans and non-binary people and those who have had or seek gender-affirming treatment.

As for everyone, access to funding for fertility care depends on where you live.

Whether you’re able to have NHS-funded fertility preservation or treatment, and there may be limits on how long you can have funding for storage.

The best thing to do to find out your funding options is to speak to your GP or get in touch with your local gender clinic.

You can find a list of clinics here.

We appreciate the lack of specific information is frustrating.

There are charities providing support for trans, non-binary and gender-questioning people, and they may be able to offer more advice:

For LGBTQ+ singles

Funding for LGBTQ+ singles is similar to couples.

  • Single females will need to self-fund 6-12 cycles of IUI or artificial insemination to become eligible for NHS-funded IVF

  • As well as meeting additional criteria for BMI, smoking status, previous children, and age

  • Surrogacy is not NHS-funded, so single males using a surrogate will need to cover costs related to treatment, such as IVF for a surrogate

The Fertility Foundation is a UK charity that provides grants for fertility treatment, including treatment and surrogacy for single people.

Using an egg or sperm donor for LGBTQ+ fertility treatment

What information can I have about my donor?

If you’re using a UK donor, their identity is confidential, but you can know the following:

  • Their age and nationality/ethnicity

  • Eye and hair colour, hair texture, weight, height, and skin complexion

  • Occupation and education

  • Basic medical history

If you have a child resulting from a donor, they have the right to access non-identifying information about the donor once they turn 16, such as height, eye colour and occupation.

They’ll be able to access identifying information about their donor once they turn 18, including the name, date of birth and last known address.

What information will my donor have about me?

Your information is strictly confidential.

Your donor will not be given any information about you, including your status as an LGBTQ+ person.

The donor can request the following:

  • Whether their donation resulted in a birth

  • The age and sex of any children born

  • How many children have been born

Does my donor have any rights or responsibilities towards my child?

If you have fertility treatment using a donor at a licensed fertility clinic in the UK, then the donor will have no rights or responsibilities over any children born.

With donor conception:

  • The birth parent is the legal mother or parent

  • If the birth parent is married or civil partnered, their spouse automatically becomes the second legal parent

  • If the birth parent is not married or civil partnered, the intended second parent will need to sign the HFEA WP and PP forms to become the second legal parent if they are not the genetic parent/gamete provider

How many families can a donor create?

In the UK, a donor can create up to 10 families.

This can include multiple children within one family.

UK surrogacy laws

How much does a surrogate cost?

It’s illegal to pay for a surrogate.

But you’ll usually cover expenses related to the surrogacy, and these costs can be high.

There’s no legal definition of a reasonable reimbursement, but it will usually factor in the cost of treatment, travel expenses and any time required off work.

Typically, it ranges between £12,000 - £35,000.

You’ll also need to cover any treatment costs, which could include:

  • Fertility assessments for yourself, the egg donor, or the surrogate

  • IUI if the surrogate is using their own eggs

  • IVF with an egg donor if the surrogate is not using their eggs (full/gestational surrogacy)

The cost of IVF treatment varies. It’s not possible to have NHS-funded IVF for surrogacy.

Find your nearest TFP Fertility clinic to see a breakdown of typical IVF costs.

Can a surrogate use donor egg and/or sperm?

At TFP Fertility, we only support surrogacy where at least one of the two gametes (the eggs or sperm) have come from the intended parents or the surrogate.

Here are some possible examples:

  • A surrogate can use your or your partner’s eggs, with donor sperm

  • A surrogate can use donor eggs, with your or your partner’s sperm

  • A surrogate can use their own eggs, with donor sperm

  • A surrogate can use their own eggs, with yours or your partner’s sperm

Legal parenthood when using surrogacy

The rules around surrogacy and legal parenthood can be complex.

We always require that each person involved seeks independent legal advice before entering into a surrogacy agreement.

In the UK, the birth parent is always the legal parent. This means that the surrogate would be the legal mother or parent, even if she uses yours or your partner’s egg or sperm.

If the surrogate is married or civil partnered, their partner becomes the other legal parent.

However, if the surrogate is not married or civil partnered and the sperm provider is an intended parent then they would automatically become the second legal parent.

If the surrogate and intended parents wish the non-gamete provider to be the second legal parent, the surrogate and intended second legal parent can use the HFEA SWP and SPP forms to provide for this.

There are a number of conditions that must be met, so it is important to raise this with your clinic at the outset.

In instances where the gamete providers are not intended parents (i.e. when using donor sperm with donor eggs or donor embryos are used), you will need to apply for a parental order after the birth of the child to transfer legal parenthood to yourself and your partner or co-parent.

This needs to happen before the child is six months old and, in some cases, can take several months to come into effect.

There are specific conditions that must be met to be eligible for a parental order, for example, one of the intended parents much be genetically linked to the child.

If you do not meet the requirements for a parental order, then an adoption order is required.

It’s important to know that TFP Fertility only supports surrogacy where one of the intended parents provides their gametes and meet the other requirements for a parental order.

What parental leave rights do myself and my surrogate have?

Only the birthing parent (the surrogate) is entitled to maternity leave.

The intended parents are entitled to unpaid leave to go to two antenatal appointments with the surrogate, with each one lasting up to 6.5 hours.

If you meet the conditions, you are entitled to parental leave and pay once you apply for an adoption or parental order.

Learn more about parental leave rights in the UK.

Legal parenthood

Can LGBTQ+ people be legal parents?

Whether you’re automatically a legal parent or need to fill out additional forms prior to treatment or whether you are required to apply to adopt or for a parental order, depends on several things.

The type of treatment and the marital status of the birth mother are fundamental to this.

You’ll automatically be a legal parent if:

  • You’re the birthing parent

  • You’re married to or in a civil partnership with the birthing parent

  • Your sperm was used to create the child, and the birthing parent is not married or in a civil partnership with someone else

When having treatment with donor sperm or eggs through a licensed fertility clinic, the donor is not a legal parent.

But the legal status of the second parent may not be automatic.

What’s the difference between parental order and adoption order?

A parental order and an adoption order are both ways to transfer legal parenthood from the legal parents at birth to the intended parent(s) once a baby is born, for example, in the case of surrogacy.

A parental order can be used when one of the intended parents is genetically related to the child.

An adoption order is necessary if neither of the intended parents can use their gametes and are therefore not genetically linked to the child.

It takes place after the birth of the child and establishes the intended parents as the legal parents.

Only two parents can be legally recognised at any one time.

Several requirements must be met for a parental order, including:

  • Fertility treatment (IVF or IUI) was carried out, with the pregnancy carried by a surrogate

  • At least one of the intended parents must be genetically related to the child

  • The other parent must be married, in a civil partnership or living as partners with the parent related to the child

  • The child must be living with you

Where these aren’t met, an adoption order is the closest alternative and is a much longer and more complex process TFP Fertility will only assist with surrogacy where the intended parent(s) can apply for a parental order.

Learn more about parental and adoption orders.

Platonic co-parents or poly families and legal parenthood

Only two people can be legally recognised as parents.

If you’re raising your child with co-parents or a poly family, you will need to choose who is nominated as the legal parents.

Typically, the birthing parent and any parent related to the child would be the legal parents.

Gender and legal parenthood

Currently, it’s not possible to specify your preferred parental role (e.g., mother, father, or parent).

Whoever is the birthing parent is named as the mother.

The second parent may be named as a parent or father per UK law.

There are pros and cons to this. If you transition to a gender different to your birth certificate, your parental status is unchanged.

You’ll have full recourse to your parental rights.

The drawback is that it may not be possible to be legally recognised by your preferred terms.

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