This guidance applies to all healthcare professionals irrespective of grade, level, location or staff group.
he following key principles underpin the development of this guidance and how people involved in surrogacy would hope to be treated.
Altruistic surrogacy is a positive option for those seeking to start a family through assisted reproduction in the UK.
The safety and health of the surrogate and child will always be of paramount importance.
The vast majority of surrogacy cases are straightforward, positive and rewarding experiences; disputes between parties are very rare.
The actions and attitudes of healthcare staff can have a significant impact on the experiences of surrogates and IP(s). Surrogates can be stigmatised and IP(s) have often been through distressing experiences before turning to surrogacy, so compassion, dignity and sensitivity are important. Perceived negative attitudes can cause particular stress or distress.
Surrogates and IP(s) should be treated in the same way as any other patients accessing healthcare during pregnancy and birth while recognising that there may be particular characteristics, such as LGBT+ status, that may require a more tailored approach.
A co-ordinated, consistent but flexible approach is important, where all staff are aware:
- that the pregnancy is being carried by a surrogate
- of best practice in how to ensure their approach facilitates a safe, positive and rewarding experience for all
It is important to ensure the involvement of all parties in information-giving and decision-making wherever safe and practicable to do so, if this is something the parties have agreed to.
Surrogacy should have comprehensive, trust-based agreements between the surrogate and IP(s) (known as surrogacy agreements), which cover most eventualities and desired outcomes; these should be reflected in birth plans and engagement with healthcare staff.
It would be usual practice for the IP(s) to be treated as the parent(s) of the child, subject to the agreement of the surrogate (and her partner, if she has one), and that the surrogate does not see herself as the mother.