Host or Straight Surrogacy – Choosing your path

If you’re reading this then you will have most likely either made the choice that
surrogacy is the path to parenthood that you wish to take, or you are close to taking
that first big step.

Once you have chosen the surrogacy route, the next big decision you will need to
make is your preferred method of surrogacy. A little surrogacy 101 here (feel free to
skip this bit if you’re up to scratch with surrogacy lingo already!) – you can either
choose straight surrogacy (sometimes referred to as traditional surrogacy), or host
surrogacy (also known as gestational surrogacy).

A straight surrogate will use her own egg and insemination will take place using the intended father’s semen. This will ordinarily take place somewhere where your
surrogate can feel comfortable, such as her home or yours. With host surrogacy,
embryos or blastocysts (5-day old embryos) can be created at an IVF clinic using your own, or donor eggs (either from a known or anonymous donor). The embryos are then
transferred to the womb of the surrogate. The entire host surrogacy process will
be clinic-based so you will need to make multiple trips to your chosen clinic.

There are so many things to take into account when making this decision:

  • Finances – with host you will have substantial clinic fees to cover on top of the surrogate’s expenses
  • Time – both types of surrogacy can take a long time but with host you will
    need to expect to spend around 6 months on an egg donor waiting list and then go
    through additional tests and counselling before trying to conceive
  • Biological link – with straight surrogacy your surrogate will have a biological
    link to the baby. For some it’s great to know more about that biological link but others may prefer the anonymity of an egg donor with host surrogacy
  • Home Vs Clinic – as outlined above, the processes for straight and host are
    carried out in very different environments. Some people may prefer the more natural process offered by home insemination, whilst others may prefer the expertise a clinic can provide.

These are just a few of the many factors to think about. This is no easy choice and
you will no doubt have your own preferences as a couple, but I hope that the journey
my husband and I have been on so far will prove useful.

When my husband Kenneth and I first started our surrogacy journey in early 2016 we
very quickly decided that straight surrogacy would be our preferred route. In making
this initial decision, we took everything we knew so far into account and ultimately, it
just felt like straight surrogacy was the right fit for us.

As we started to go to more and more Surrogacy UK socials and made more friends,
we started to think again. We still loved the idea of going through straight surrogacy
but at the time it felt like we’d be waiting longer for a surrogate to want to work with
us. We had another look at our finances and started to investigate host surrogacy
again. We chose a clinic and went on their waiting list for an egg donor (there’s
probably a whole other blog post worth of material in that process alone!).

In the mean time we became full members of Surrogacy UK. When you become
members, your profile is visible to surrogates to view. When it came to it we actually
put ourselves down as being open to both straight and host surrogacy. We felt this
gave us the best chance possible of finding that special person who would want to
work with us.

By July 2017 we had been matched with an anonymous egg donor by the clinic and
had created blastocysts. We updated our profile and felt certain that our path to
parenthood would follow the host surrogacy route.

Fast forward to February 2018 and we finally got the call we had been waiting for.
“The Call” came that a surrogate would like to get to know us. Not only were we in
shock at getting the call, we were also pleasantly surprised to be told that it was for
straight surrogacy. It truly felt like we had come full circle and that straight surrogacy
was the route we were always meant to take.

We pinch ourselves every day that we have met someone as special as Charlie and
we really feel that this was meant to be and are so hopeful for the future. We are
also so thankful that we decided to keep our options open.

Throughout this journey, you will have to make many decisions but the important
thing to remember is that there are no set right or wrong answers. You will hear
statistics from all aspects of the surrogacy world and it can become overwhelming.
You have to listen to your heart and listen to each other to decide the right path for
you as a couple. Then when it comes to it, you and your surrogate as a team will
carve out your own special journey that works for all of you.

Mike Johnston-Cowley

Mike has been a member of Surrogacy UK with his husband Kenneth since 2016. He lives in East London with their cat, Harry and works as a Business Change Officer. 




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