Surrogacy in the UK
One of the initial misconceptions with UK Surrogacy is that people often think it’s highly complex, illegal, or anti-family. This isn’t the case at all, Altruistic Surrogacy is perfectly legal in the UK, furthermore the law is currently in the process of a consultation review by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission. There is a need to update the current law and this is already underway, and we have assisted the Law Commission in the 2019 consultations throughout the UK.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) have also been keen for a Surrogacy Law reform which has already been debated in Parliament in January 2020, a full transcript can be read here. The APPG also met with a vast group of Surrogacy advocates in 2018/2019 including Michael and Wes Johnson-Ellis, Founders of TwoDadsUK, The Modern Family Show and My Surrogacy Journey. In January 2021 the APPG released an update to the original evidence sessions. This can be read via a blog article here.
When exploring Surrogacy in the UK there are a number of not-for-profit organisations that specialise in Surrogacy in the UK, such as My Surrogacy Journey. There is also a vast independent sector of UK Surrogacy which majorly exists online. Meeting Surrogates can either be arranged through social events such as ‘meet ups’ typically coordinated via Facebook groups, or through professional matching. With more millennials no longer turning to Facebook as their primary social media account, or have demanding professional careers which may limit their social media screen time, professional matching and screening provides a perfect solution.
Family building, with the help of a surrogate is rapidly growing in popularity the UK. Reasons for needing a surrogate could be as a result of a number of issues, such as oncology preservation or other infertility related conditions. There is also a growing number of same sex couples, trans or single intended parents choosing to build their family via surrogacy too. It’s estimated that over 500 babies are born each year, to single and coupled intended parents via UK Surrogacy. These births could have either been carried as a result of Traditional/Straight Surrogacy or Host/Gestational Surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacy is when the Surrogate will get pregnant using her own eggs, and therefore has a genetic link to the child. Usually, fertilisation is carried out by home insemination. Overall costs for Traditional surrogacy are much lower than the alternative. Host or Gestational surrogacy is when the Surrogate will receive a donor embryo created by using the intended mothers’ eggs or donor eggs via IVF in a fertility clinic. The eggs may either belong to the Intended Mother, or they may also belong to a donor, similar to a same sex intended parent/s. Host or Gestational Surrogacy is more expensive but can give greater flexibility especially if Intended Parents wish to genetically screen them, or wish for a sibling, as embryos can be frozen from the original IVF cycle.
Creating a child with donor eggs and donor sperm is not allowed in the UK. This is referred to as ‘double donation’. At least one of the intended parents needs to be genetically linked to the child, in order to apply for and be granted the parental order (PO) – which gives legal parental responsibility and replaces the Surrogate (and their partner if married). You can then apply for a new Birth certificate once the PO is granted.
There are a number of excellent communities online for families created via children surrogacy, and not for profits such as The Donor Conception Network who offer a great resource for families, donors and children.
Surrogacy in US/Canada
The legal framework of surrogacy in many States of the US means a more structured process than you might expect in the UK, shorter timeframes to be matched with a surrogate and legally enforceable surrogacy agreements. Combined with the robust legal certainty surrounding parentage at birth, the US is a good option for some people. However, surrogacy in the US is prohibitively expensive for many people and means that you cannot be as involved in a pregnancy as you would at home.
In Canada, the legal framework is also more robust compared to the UK however, like in the UK, surrogacy arrangements can only be altruistic, meaning you cannot pay a surrogate over and above reasonable expenses incurred throughout the entire surrogacy process.
If you would like to consider surrogacy abroad, we will work with you so that you can fully understand the legal, financial and logistical complexities of international surrogacy to make an informed decision.
You may also want to consider a hybrid option, available in both the US and Canada, whereby you can create embryos in the UK and ship them to US or Canada to use with a surrogate.
At My Surrogacy Journey, we will guide you through every step of the process and ensure that you are supported by the most experienced clinics, agencies and lawyers in both countries.
Costs of Surrogacy & Financing
Surrogacy is costly both in the UK and internationally. At My Surrogacy Journey, we believe that it is vitally important to be aware of all the potential costs, to have contingencies in place and to budget appropriately. We will work with you so that you understand all the costs and develop a budget that meets your means.
Estimate of surrogacy costs:
UK Surrogacy varies in cost, mainly due to the method of which the intended parent/s conceive their baby.
Traditional/Straight Surrogacy avoids using a clinic in the majority of cases, and costs are mainly attributed to the surrogates expenses. These can be anything from £6,000 to £25,000. However, the average expenses are around £12,000 for a typical pregnancy.
Gestational/Host Surrogacy has a varying number of factors which will ultimately influence the cost such as; Surrogacy IVF treatment cycle costs, donor eggs, blood, egg/semen and genetic analysis and cryopreservation. Note: if same sex couples are fertilising donor eggs with both their gametes (sperm) then there will be extra costs for this. Experienced fertility clinics charge between £10k-£15k for a Surrogacy IVF programme with donor eggs. In addition to this, there will be costs attributed to the care of the surrogate, her blood tests, scans and medication. Budget for around £18k - £25k for the treatment and a further £10k - £18k for surrogates’ expense.
Traditional Surrogacy - Approx £12 - £15k Gestational Surrogacy with Donor Eggs - £28k - £43k
There may also be legal fees to consider, ranging from £350 to £1750, the higher end is for Parental Order process and submission management.
Membership fees for Surrogacy organisations vary, as does their support. if you choose a not-for-profit supported journey, rather than independently. These range from £1,200 to £12,750.
From $160,000++ for a single baby (including IVF costs, agency costs, egg donor costs, travel expenses, legal expenses and insurance). Please note that the cost of twins is much higher and due to medical insurance is hard to quantify. It is not uncommon for US Surrogacy to cost $200,000
Costs in US Dollars
$100K (including IVF costs, egg donor costs, travel expenses, legal expenses and insurance). Providing all elements are carried out in Canada.
Costs in CAD $
Family Building Financing available
We proudly offer the only UK Family Building Financing programme to help finance the cost of your treatment or journey in the UK and internationally for those people who would like to spread the cost of family building over a longer period of time, to help manage your budget
One of the reasons My Surrogacy Journey was created was to save other intended parents the hours, days and months of research that understanding and embarking on responsible surrogacy can entail. As experienced intended parents, we know all too well how overwhelming and lonely that initial foray into Google can be. We have done the hard work for you. At My Surrogacy Journey, we have created the most extensive Education Library available so that you can educate yourselves on every step of the journey and we have partnered with only the most experienced service providers so that you can be sure you are surrounded by experts.
Law Commission Review
We like many others, are keen advocates for a change in the current law to offer greater piece of mind to Intended Parents, Surrogates and therefore offer greater protection to the welfare of the child. The law is currently in the process of a full consultation review by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission. There has been overwhelming support for a need to update the current law.
In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) have also been keen for a Surrogacy Law reform which has already been debated in Parliament in January 2020, a full transcript can be read here.
You can also read a summary of the consultation paper here or download the full consultation paper here.