Your Guide to Surrogacy Agreements in the UK
22nd Aug 2023
Surrogacy in the UK isn’t just a trend; it’s a growing choice for those looking to expand their families. Each year, more and more people are opting for this unique path to parenthood. If you’re considering it too, this guide will help you understand a key element of a good surrogacy journey – your surrogacy agreement. So, grab a cuppa and settle in!
Types of Surrogacy in the UK:
In the UK, you’ll find two primary paths to explore:
Host Surrogacy (Gestational Surrogacy): This involves the intended parents’ embryos, giving at least one parent a genetic link. From IVF to utilising donor gametes, there are options to suit different situations.
Traditional Surrogacy: Here, the surrogate is also the known egg donor. There’s flexibility in conception methods, from clinical approaches to home-based solutions.
Whilst legally there is no difference is the type of surrogacy you undertake, your surrogacy agreement should be specifically tailored to incorporate the unique issues that arise from the different types of surrogacy.
The UK is all about altruistic surrogacy. It means there’s no room for commercial gain, but an emphasis on the well-being of everyone involved. A surrogacy agreement in the UK isn’t a binding legal document, but it’s like a road map for your journey. It’s crucial to know that the surrogate is initially the legal mother and that intended parents must obtain a parental order to transfer legal parenthood.
Questions about this? The UK government’s guidance is a solid place to start.
Understanding Surrogacy Agreements: Your Blueprint
Think of surrogacy agreements as the blueprint of your surrogacy adventure. These documents cover all the bases, from trying to conceive to pregnancy to the birth and even post-birth scenarios. Should disagreements arise (we hope not!), referring back to these agreements usually helps everyone get back on the same page. Trust, understanding, and clear communication form the cornerstone here.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities:
Once your little one arrives, securing legal parenthood is key. It’s a process open to all types of parents: heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, or solo parents. The steps are consistent and lead to what’s called a parental order. Your surrogacy agreement should cover post birth aspects such as who can make medical decisions for baby, who will register the birth and expectations for the parental order.
Financial Considerations: Let’s Break It Down
The UK says no to commercial surrogacy, meaning no profit for anyone. Surrogates can, however, claim pregnancy-related expenses. This stage requires open dialogue and a clear understanding between all parties. Budgeting, discussing potential costs, and planning ahead can make this part of the journey smooth sailing. Expenses should form a part of your surrogacy agreement and should detail how much expenses are and when they are to be paid. Consideration should also be given to contingency planning, and what to do with expenses if something unplanned for happens, such as medical bed rest or a c-section. Unfortunately planning for a loss should also be included within your agreement. Whilst all parties are grieving a loss, it can be impossible to talk about reimbursing expenses, so it is key to have this mapped out from the beginning.
Tips and Recommendations for Intended Parents:
If you are intending to undertake a surrogacy journey in the UK, you must have a written surrogacy agreement. Care should be taken in copying template agreements from the internet as these usually originate in the US and are not relevant to a UK journey.
Agreements at SurrogacyUK have been developed over the last 20 years, taking all of our experience of what can happen in a surrogacy journey and turning it into an up to date and relevant document. Our comprehensive guidance on discussion topics, ensure that all teams are able to go into their agreement fully informed of what they need to agree. Rather than being a box ticking exercise, our expert led agreement sessions ensure that every party has an a equal voice and their preferences are respected. All aspects of a surrogacy agreement is included in our membership fee and available to all members.
Seeking a seamless surrogacy experience? SurrogacyUK has been guiding intended parents for two decades. Consider reaching out to us. Our team ensures respect, empathy, and a smooth journey for everyone involved.
Frequently Asked Questions: Answers to Your Burning Questions
Got questions? You’re not alone! Here’s where we address some common queries about Surrogacy Agreements:
Q: What is a surrogacy agreement, and why is it essential?
A: A surrogacy agreement is a document that outlines the expectations, responsibilities, and roles of all parties involved in a surrogacy arrangement. While not legally binding in the UK, it acts as a statement of intent, providing a reference point that guides the process and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Q: What should be included in a surrogacy agreement?
A: Surrogacy agreements should cover various aspects, including the type of surrogacy, medical procedures, financial arrangements, parental rights, the relationship between parties, confidentiality, and any agreed-upon terms regarding pregnancy care, communication, and birth. Consulting with surrogacy experts ensures a comprehensive agreement.
Q: Are surrogacy agreements legally binding in the UK?
A: In the UK, surrogacy agreements are not enforceable by law. However, they serve as a critical roadmap, setting out the understanding and intentions of the intended parents and surrogate. They are an essential tool to prevent misunderstandings and guide the relationship.
Q: How do we handle disagreements regarding the surrogacy agreement?
A: If disagreements arise, referring back to the surrogacy agreement can be helpful. Open communication and mediation often resolve conflicts. Focusing on the best interests of the child and all parties involved usually leads to resolution.
Q: Can surrogacy agreements be altered once they are made?
A: Surrogacy agreements can be altered if all parties involved agree to the changes. Open dialogue and transparency are key in making any adjustments. Documenting changes ensures clarity and continues to guide the surrogacy journey.
Q: What happens if a surrogate or intended parent(s) breaches the agreement?
A: While surrogacy agreements are not legally binding in the UK, a breach could cause strain on the relationship. Communicating openly, seeking mediation, or professional guidance can help resolve issues. The focus should always be on maintaining trust and acting in the best interest of the child.
Q: How do we create a surrogacy agreement?
A: Creating a surrogacy agreement is a collaborative process involving the intended parents, the surrogate, and often surrogacy professionals. Starting with open conversations about expectations and working with experts ensures an agreement that respects and protects all parties.
Surrogacy is an intensely personal decision and a profound journey. Knowledge is your friend here. Reach out to organisations like SurrogacyUK, connect with those who’ve walked this path, and gather all the insights you need. We’re here to make this beautiful process as joyful and informed as possible.