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  • Advice

    What is surrogacy?

    Surrogacy refers to an arrangement in which a person agrees to become pregnant, carry and give birth to a child for another person or couple who will become the parent(s). In the UK, surrogacy is relatively uncommon due to the strict laws surrounding it. However, the practice has been used more in recent years due to advances in IVF and the trend for having children later in life.


    The two types of surrogacy are:-

    Full surrogacy.

    This is also referred to as IVF, carrier or gestational surrogacy. This describes when the surrogate is completely genetically unrelated to the child they are carrying. The surrogate will be impregnated using embryos from the intended parents or donors through IVF (in-vitro fertilisation).


    Partial surrogacy

    This is known as straight, traditional or genetic surrogacy, effectively it is when the surrogate's egg is fertilised by sperm from the prospective Father or a donor. This may be done naturally through intercourse or through articial means.

    Surrogacy arrangements may be between strangers, potentially facilitated by an agency, or between family members. For example, it is not uncommon for a female relative such as a sister to act as a surrogate. As a result, determining the legal parents of the child is of crucial importance. When born, the surrogate mother is automatically the child's legal parent. A court order is required to transfer parenthood to the intended parent.


    Overview of UK Surrogacy Laws

    Surrogacy in the UK is subject to strict and complex laws which require all arrangements to be not-for-profit. As a result of this surrogacy is far less common in the UK than elsewhere in the world. However, international or cross-border surrogacy arrangements may be employed to avoid UK laws on the matter, such as payment issues. However, one must be cautious as this is subject to the country's laws where it takes place and may lead to difficulties surrounding the citizenship and immigration status of the child. A court-issued adoption or parental order is still required to transfer parenthood legally in the UK.


    Resources and Support

    There are several charities and organisations to support and guide couples who intend to or are currently in the process of using a surrogacy arrangement and those considering becoming surrogates.

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