Unfortunately, surrogacy is not technically available to same-sex couples in the UK. This is because the law regarding Parental Orders (the document transferring legal responsibility to the intended parents) requires that the would be parents are married, and this doesn’t currently include civil partnerships. That said, changes to allow same-sex (and unmarried heterosexual) couples are currently being debated in Parliament and might become law very soon.
To take advantage of surrogacy now, you should seek legal advice on how to treat the ‘surrogacy’ as an adoption. One important thing to remember is, with adoption, no money must change hands, not even the surrogate mother’s expenses. Alternatively, you could look into surrogacy from a commercial agency in the US. This would typically cost between £60,000 and £80,000; however the process can often be long winded and involves a number of various stages.
There are two types of surrogacy:
- Traditional Surrogacy, when the eggs of the surrogate mother are used through insemination.
- Gestational Surrogacy, where the egg, not necessarily belonging to the surrogate mother, is fertilised in the lab and then implanted into the womb.
For gay men or couples, a form of surrogacy is another potential option. First, you will need to select a suitable woman, be she either a close friend, family relative or a stranger. If you are using a stranger, don’t forget to make a careful assessment of her attitude to homosexuality – otherwise you could end up with problems later on. Once consent is agreed, she will then carry the child until birth, before giving the baby away to the welcoming arms of the gay couple.
Things however, don’t always go exactly to plan. Regardless of the source of the eggs, the surrogate will be the legal mother of the child – she could therefore choose to keep the baby. Additionally, if the surrogate is also the biological mother (her eggs were used), it is imperative you know all about, not only her own physical and emotional health, but also of any illness in her family – these are all traits that could be in some way passed on to the child.
There is no set ‘cost’ for surrogacy - every surrogate mother decides how much to charge. In the UK, the mother’s expenses would likely vary from £7,000 to £15,000. This would cover all expenses needed during the course of pregnancy eg. maternity clothing, travel etc. You would probably also have to pay for IVF treatment on top of that, usually to the tune of £3,000 per cycle.