In the world of making babies there are so many options available that in a lot of ways it can be overwhelming. It's almost strange that we can say our way - via IVF- was fairly straight forward. Here's the post on our process and our Vlog on why IVF.
|Image from edX|
Recently surrogacy has become a discussion, not for us, but for someone close to us who is unable to carry a baby due to health issues affecting their back. The discussions we have had around the surrogacy process has been eye-opening. So I thought I would share.
For a start in the UK the waiting list to even get on the list for a surrogate is huge - and with some agencies their waiting list is closed. Even when you get on a list it can be up to 5 years before you get matched with a surrogate and then start the process. Can you imagine waiting 5 years to even start a fertility journey? And every aspect of it is a waiting game where you can't change anything no matter what you do.
In the UK as surrogates can't do it to make money so costs are lower but when you include agency fees you are still looking at £50-£60k for one try with the surrogate.
Part of the challenge is the number, of lack thereof, of surrogates. As women are waiting to have children and complete their family later on in life the opportunity for them to then become a surrogate is reduced. Reading through articles it is not recommend that women over 37 become surrogates as it can add health complications and make the process harder.
Another challenge is when it comes to 'the parents', even though the egg and sperm don't belong to the surrogate, the surrogate is still deemed the 'mother'. It means the 'parents' have no rights until they are legally assigned, it also means the surrogate could decide to keep the child and the 'parents' would have no rights - regardless of the fact an agreement would have been drawn up.
It is mind-boggling and eye-opening and devastating when you know someone who only has this option in order to have a child.
Some of the resources we have come across that make for interesting reading include:
https://www.surrogacyuk.org/intended_parents/your-questions-answered this shares the story of someone being a surrogate.
https://www.surrogacy.org.uk/ (COTS) tells the story of how surrogates are matched with couples
https://www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk/ are campaigning for law reform on surrogacy in the UK and improving the process for both parties.
Both COTS and Brilliant Beginnings help set up arrangements with UK and American surrogates but costs for USA support start at £12k with Brilliant Beginnings who are heavily involved with the process or £850 at COTS who require you to complete the lengthy paperwork.
The reason for writing this post is simple, awareness. When reading the extended profile of our donor one answer stood out, when asked why he was donating he said 'I heard on Radio 2 that in the UK there was a lack of sperm donations making it even harder for those couples wanting to get pregnant but unable to'. So he donated to make a family possible for a couple like us and we couldn't be more grateful. If one person reading this thinks the same way it could change a families life in the best way.
Don't get me wrong I know surrogacy is a different offer, a very different offer. Being pregnant for 9 months and then passing a child to their 'parents' would not be easy but one of the key things all the surrogacy agents offer is counselling and the opportunity to talk to those who have done it before.
If you want to help please contact one of the agencies above or simply share this post. As I say just one person seeing this could change a families life forever.
Thank you for reading.