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Surrogacy for Intended Parents

Becoming a parent with help from a surrogate can be the most exciting and rewarding decision you ever make. Making the dream of becoming a parent more reachable and realistic many people often consider this as an option.  We understand that the world of surrogacy can be complicated leaving you with endless unanswered questions. To help make this journey that little bit easier we have provided you with answers to those most commonly asked questions.

Considering surrogacy is a huge decision – how will I know if it’s right for me?

Almost everybody making decisions about surrogacy have feelings of uncertainty and doubt at some point. This is one of the most important, life-changing choices you will ever make and so it’s only natural to experience this. It is extremely important that you find someone to confide in, sharing your thoughts and emotions. A partner, close friend or family member can offer you reassurance, a second opinion and help keep things in perspective. Taking advantage of surrogacy support services is also recommended. These organisations can provide advice, knowledge and a listening ear. Organisations for those considering surrogacy have staff equipped with experience and expertise that you’ll find useful and beneficial. Peer-support groups are worth a try as these a great way of chatting to others who have been in your situation, offering deep insight and understanding. These groups can be accessed on-line, or there may be some within your local community.

The surrogate – what’s in it for them?

Women who become surrogates are amongst the most wonderful and caring people on earth. They feel a strong desire to make parenthood possible for others. If the surrogate has children of her own, she probably wants to enable other people to share this amazing experience. Selfless surrogates often report the experience to be satisfying and rewarding, living the rest of their life knowing they’ve provided the best possible gift of life and made the dreams of deserving parents achievable. Often the surrogate can develop a friend for life after strong bonds are formed in this process.

What if the surrogate wants to keep my baby?

As a hopeful mother or father you haven’t reached the decision of using a surrogate without careful thought and consideration. Surrogate mothers also dedicate much time and research before choosing to provide their service. They will have an understanding of the process and be fully aware that the child isn’t theirs. Most are motivated by having empathy with the intended parents and therefore take great pleasure when the baby is handed over. On a global level, it is very rare for surrogates to resist parting with the baby. Legal steps such as applying for Parental Orders are recommended to protect your rights and grant you full guardianship of the child. To reiterate and put your mind at ease, it is almost unheard of and therefore very unlikely that your surrogate will want to keep your baby. In the UK for example, there has never been a single instance where this has happened. Discover the surrogate’s reason for carrying your child, build a close and meaningful relationship with them and take the appropriate legal steps.

Who will legally be the parent?

Understandably, you want the security of being legally recognised as the parent of your child. It is important that you become aware of the law regarding this in your country. There is no international law and the differences between countries can be huge. In some countries you will be required to apply for the parental rights through the legal system. This can be a fairly lengthy process, so we suggest submitting your application about 12 weeks into the pregnancy. Gain insight into the criteria as some countries prohibit granting parental status to same-sex couples, the unmarried or single people. There may also be restrictions depending on the method of conception or if the child is not linked biologically to you. Some countries have a legal system that requires intended parents to legally adopt their baby before being officially recognised as the parent. Again, there are differences between the legal systems. For example, Sweden allows the surrogate mother to keep the child if she wants before the adoption is finalised. Understanding your situation can enable you to plan in advance and reach agreement with the surrogate.

Could the surrogate become a burden?

Sharing a special experience often brings us closer together and in terms of surrogacy this signals the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Almost all women who become surrogates are mentally and emotionally stable, with their own fulfilling lives. With families and friendships of their own it is unlikely your surrogate will become reliant on you for support. We would encourage you to familiarise yourself with the surrogate before beginning the journey together, ensuring they are in a positive place in their personal life. This will also give you an opportunity to chat about aspects such as worries, expectations and the level of contact. Having this clarified early will ensure you and your surrogate have an understanding of the relationship. You should not feel overwhelmed or burdened by your surrogate at any point, however if you do experience this then address the situation. This route to parenthood can be emotionally challenging for you and it is unfair and unacceptable to add further pressure. If the surrogate is in need of support then we suggest that you understand their difficulties and direct them to a friend or relative. There are also charities and organisations that specialise in providing support for surrogates and you could provide some useful websites or telephone numbers that may help them. Chatting calmly with them about the additional pressure you are being exposed to and setting some clear guidelines is a possibility. Remember, you are preparing for the arrival of your baby and need to focus on your own health and wellbeing, so please don’t feel guilty for pointing them to other support networks.

What if I can’t afford a surrogate?

Countries have individual laws regarding the exchange of money between surrogates and the intended parents, so the cost is varied across the globe. Few countries allow surrogate mothers to charge for their service, reducing financial gain as a motive. If you use a surrogate from Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Thailand and even some States in America then you may face excessive requests of payment due to the legal status of selling surrogacy as a service. This type of surrogacy is often referred to as commercial. Countries including Australia, Canada, Greece, New Zealand and Great Britain allow the reimbursement of expenses to the surrogate, ensuring they are not left out of pocket. This is known as altruistic surrogacy. Depending on the cost of living, the amount of compensation you could pay will vary. You should agree on the amount of expenses as much as possible before beginning the journey.

What will people say about my use of a surrogate?

Surrogacy is a subject not spoken about often enough, yet it is one of the most amazing things. The reaction you receive will vary depending on personal views, misconceptions, ignorance and similar factors. Most family members and close friends will share happiness and excitement with you. They may be interested in asking you questions and learning as much as they can. As you know, people can be unpredictable and unfortunately not everyone will receive the pleasant reaction they hope for. In cases like this you should remember your reasons for using a surrogate and dismiss any negativity from others.

How long should it take?

There is no exact answer in terms of surrogacy timescales. We all require different amounts of time to consider if it’s the right method for us. Then, time spent finding that perfect surrogate and getting to know them will vary from person to person. The process should not be rushed and remember it will be worth every second once your baby is in your arms!

Same-sex male relationship – His sperm or mine?

There is no right or wrong answer when deciding which one of you will be biologically linked to the child. It is a matter to be discussed and debated amongst you both. It is wise to analyse both of your family history in terms of medical disadvantages such as high rates of cancer, heart disease or genetic disorders, minimising the risk of your child being affected.

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