In this webinar, Sandra Bateman and Joanne Carwardine are talking about the journey of surrogacy, from the moment of decision-making until the happy outcome – taking your baby home.
There are two types of surrogacy, gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no biological link to the baby, while in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are used, making her the biological mother of the child she carries. Traditional surrogacy is very easy to do, it can be done at home, and the embryos are created using sperm from the intended father or a donor through intrauterine insemination (IUI). Gestational surrogacy, also called “host surrogacy” is done at a clinic, a host surrogate would have to be at a clinic because it may be that you’re using donor eggs or you’ve already created embryos, etc. A surrogacy agreement has to be also discussed, and signed so that when you get to know your surrogate, everybody knows where you stand throughout the journey.
The intended parents must be sure and be 100% prepared for a surrogacy journey. You need to do your research and know exactly what to expect, especially, with the finances.
Before starting your surrogacy journey, you’ve got to think about the cost of creating your embryos at the clinic and there will be I can’t give you that quote because all clinics are different costs, all clinics have different costs. If you’re using donor eggs that is going to be one thing, if you’re creating embryos with your partner’s sperm or donor sperm, that’s another thing you need to take into account. You’ve got to know exactly what it is that you’re paying for. If you’re going, for example, for cancer treatment or you’re not feeling well yourself, it’s best to prepare yourself for surrogacy and have your embryos screened for surrogacy.
I’ve met so many people that have gone down this route, and then, unfortunately, after their cancer treatment has been complete and then they’re fit and healthy, they needed a surrogate because they didn’t have the embryo screened, they could not use them. That’s an important thing to remember as you don’t want to complete all your cancer treatments, but unfortunately, not being able to carry a child because of the drugs you could be on afterwards, as could affect your pregnancy.
Pre-pregnancy expenses are all the clinic fees and the surrogate to go to and from the clinic, to have all the screening done, and all the appointments. Pregnancy expenses depend on your situation, whether the surrogate will have time off work, or perhaps you don’t want her to work, or whether she will get maternity leave or not and so on.
Post-birth depends on what kind of birth you do have, if the surrogate has an unexpected C-section that could accumulate a few more costs. The only thing after that you need to think about is life insurance for your surrogate, wills, in case something happened to you or your partner or the surrogate during this time, and then the parental order fee in the UK, it hasn’t changed for years, it is £215. When your child reaches 6 weeks old, you have to pay that and submit it to the courts.
The legal process of surrogacy
If you’re using a fertility clinic, you’ve got to do all the testing, find a surrogate, and also complete psychological testing. Then the surrogacy agreement has to be signed, this is not a law-abiding agreement, there is no such thing, all it does is helps to determine from the start where you all stand. The fee you’ll need to pay to the surrogate, how you’re paying her because the courts will not want any sums or things like that. It’s always best to discuss it with a surrogate over 10 months and divide the payments up. What happens when you give birth? In the UK, if your surrogate is married, by law, her husband has to go on the birth certificate. If your surrogate is not married, you can list your partner, as long as she’s not married, then the biological father can go on the birth certificate. From the moment your child is born, everything is handed over to you, the responsibility of your child, the surrogate will not want to be there to care for your child, she’ll give birth, and she’ll want to see you all happy, and you should also have a birthing plan, who’s in the birthing room when she gives birth who’s going to have the first hold.
When a baby is discharged, it goes home with its parents, the surrogate will go home to her family. You always put your own surname on the birth certificate. The only thing that changes is the parental order, so when the baby is 6 weeks old, you apply to the courts for this. You will show the agreement that was set out between yourselves as documentation, they will ask about expenses, and the parental order will be then changed. It will state the parental order will be in the intended mother’s and the intended father’s name, and that would be your surrogacy journey complete.