So you think surrogacy might be for you but where to start?
There’s so many options, so many websites, so many countries, laws and things to consider – it can be confusing and overwhelming.
Where can you go for accurate advice?
The government have recently issued official guidance on surrogacy – both for healthcare professionals and for those undertaking surrogacy themselves.
There are three not-for-profit surrogacy organisations in the UK.
Each organisation operates slightly differently- contact each one, obtain information, ask advice and see if an organisation is something you feel might help you on your journey.
You do not need to go through an organisation to undertake surrogacy in the UK.
There are various independent support groups that operate on the internet
In addition there are a number of closed facebook groups that offer advice and support.
One of the largest is The Foyer – UK, which can be found through the search facility and can be accessed by answering the Administrators questions.
A great way to find out more about surrogacy is to follow the journey of surrogates and intended parents themselves.
There are a number of legal firms in the UK who offer surrogacy services and advice.
Can advise on both international and domestic surrogacy.
It is important to consider counselling when thinking about surrogacy and there are a number of fertility specific counsellors available around the country.
The British Infertility Counselling Association can provide details of counsellors and information on fertility counselling.
Find a Clinic
If undertaking host surrogacy, or surrogacy that involves egg or sperm donation you will need a fertility clinic.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority are the UK Governments independent regulator of fertility clinics.
They can provide you with clinic information and you can view success rates and patient reviews.
It is worth noting that surrogacy treatment may not be advertised on clinic websites but the majority of clinics do offer it.
When dealing with a clinic do ask if they have a surrogacy coordinator as this will be your main contact through your treatment.
Funding and financing
Surrogacy is usually self funded.
In some cases embryo creation may be available via the NHS. This is usually for women who have had cancer or those with MRKH.
It is definately worth checking with your NHS trust in the first instance.
If undertaking host surrogacy in the UK, IPs should budget £30k and for traditional surrogacy £20k.
These costs include testing, clinic and treatment costs, visits with your surrogate, cost of parental order and surrogates reasonable expenses.
At this moment in time fertility financing is not available for surrogacy as it is for regular IVF through Access Fertility.
Low cost IVF through clinics such as ABC IVF is also not available those requiring surrogacy treatment, meaning that on the whole intended parents need to budget the amounts detailed above for their journey.
Charities such as The Fertility Foundation have recognised the need to help intended parents by including surrogacy in their fertility grant programme, we hope that other charities, finance companies and clinics follow suit to provide help to intended parents.
Talk to Others
When starting your journey it is key to connect with others who have been through the process. Not only will it provide you with first hand knowledge it will act as your support network for your future journey.
There are a number of events coming up that can help you start your journey.
Ultimately, take your time. Surrogacy isnt something that should be rushed – look at all the information out there and think about which way is best for you.