Surrogacy in the UK
Surrogacy is a very complicated treatment, with so many potential challenges that most arrangements are co-ordinated through a surrogate agency. However, it is important to note that 'commercial' surrogacy in the UK - in which the gestational carrier receives payment - is not allowed.
Treatment is mainly sought by couples in whom the female partner is unable or unwilling to deliver a baby safely. This may be because of illness or a problem with the uterus. There are two types of surrogacy available: the first in which the patient-couple (the intended parents) provides an embryo by IVF or ICSI which is then transferred to the surrogate mother for pregnancy and delivery (known as 'host surrogacy'); and the less common second method in which the surrogate herself provides the egg which is fertilised by a semen sample from the male patient partner (with intrauterine insemination). In the latter case, the female partner would have no genetic link to the baby, which would effectively be produced by egg donation and surrogacy.
The treatment is complex, with many potential difficulties over parenthood and citizenship (particularly when the surrogacy arrangement is performed overseas). Most successful arrangements require the involvement of a lawyer and very strict counselling. All cases undertaken at the London Women's Clinic must have the approval of the clinic's Ethics Committee.
Surrogacy in the UK is becoming more popular among same sex male couples in which a surrogate and possibly another woman provides donor eggs. These situations can be very complicated and we would urge any couples interested in this treatment to get in touch with the clinic for further details.