Covid has dominated our lives and impacted our decision-making over the past few years. At the start of this new year, it feels there is light at the end of the tunnel and people are shaking off those Covid shackles and making more tangible plans for the year ahead. For many, their plans include starting or growing a family. Surrogacy has certainly become a popular choice for those who need a helping hand.
Advances in assisted reproductive technology, societal changes and positive shifts in public opinion have all contributed to the growth of surrogacy but surrogacy laws remain outdated and international surrogacy arrangements are complex legal jigsaws! Despite the legal challenges surrogacy is on the rise and UK law reform, which aims to make things more straightforward, is on the horizon.
Over the years, I have advised many intended parents and surrogates in relation to their domestic and international surrogacy plans. I have three top tips:
- Research - is key when planning a
surrogacy arrangement but knowing where to start can be a
minefield. A quick browse of the internet shows that there in an
abundance of surrogacy information out there but knowing what is
fact and fiction can be a real challenge. Ideally, try and speak to
others who have been through surrogacy and trusted professionals
who can help unpick your plans and get you thinking about things
you may not have even considered. These steps, in combination with
your other research, whether reading articles or listening to
podcasts, will really help you make informed decisions and reduce
the risk of complications and difficulties.
- Planning and finances - surrogacy is a
project and, as with most projects, it requires a plan if it is to
be successful. Each arrangement is unique and requires careful and
realistic financial consideration at the outset. As a minimum,
costs will most likely include fertility treatment fees and
pregnancy expenses. Depending on what level of support you require,
legal, agency and counselling fees may also need to be factored
into your budget. If you are planning a surrogacy overseas there
will be travel and accommodation costs as well. Working thorough
your plans at an early stage and putting them in writing will
really help you set things up properly but be prepared to be
flexible as surrogacy plans often involve a few bumps in the road,
like any big project!
- Expert legal advice – as the decisions you make will ultimately have lifelong legal and emotional consequences, getting legal advice early will be an invaluable investment. Surrogacy laws are complex so knowing how they fit in with your specific plans and the steps you will need to take before, during and after the arrangement are key components to good surrogacy planning.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.