It takes someone with a generous spirit, compassion and dedication, someone prepared to help other people become parents and change their lives forever. It can make all the difference in the world to intended parents just to know that there are wonderful women willing to try to help them.
We know, like you, that being a surrogate is a big commitment. There is a lot to think about and lots of emotion. You will need the support of your partner and family (particularly being sensitive to the understanding of any young children), and you will need clear information about the process and implications before you decide to go ahead. And before you embark on any treatment (if you are going through a clinic) you and your intended parents will have counselling which will help settle thoughts and iron out any practical complications.
There are different types of surrogacy and you could be:
You might be trying to choose between surrogacy and egg donation, and weighing the two possibilities.
We can help you to understand the implications of being a surrogate, and the options available, so that you can reach a decision about whether surrogacy is for you.
Friends, work colleagues or family members
It may be that you want to help someone you already know and this can work really well. You will already know their personality and how well you would get on which is a great head start. It is still important that you talk carefully about your relationship and how the surrogacy will work logistically and on a day-to-day basis.
Finding someone you don't already know
There a number of non profit-making organisations in the UK which can legally help UK surrogates and intended parents to find each other. Brilliant Beginnings is the newest, launched in September 2013 to add to the work already done by volunteer organisations COTS and Surrogacy UK. Through our work at leading surrogacy law firm Natalie Gamble Associates, we have many years of surrogacy experience and have been involved in over 400 surrogacy arrangements in the UK and abroad. We are a professionally run surrogacy agency which manages the matching process and arrangements both in the UK and the USA.
It is worth exploring all your options before making a decision about what suits you best as a potential surrogate. This is an important, and very personal, decision.
Working out what family dynamics you want to help
There are so many different family dynamics that you might like to help such as couples who have had years of unsuccessful fertility treatment, couples whose family building plans have been thwarted by cancer treatment, couples where the woman has MRKH (which means she is born without a womb), gay couples who will always have known they will need help or single people. Some will have children already. Some will have spoken to families and friends widely and others kept to themselves prefering to be further down their arrangement. Thinking about how these dynamics may influence your relationship with your intended parents and also thinking through what impact this will have on your own family is important.
We start by having a detailed discussion with you about your background and your wishes. We will take you through what the process involves, answer your questions and make sure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether to proceed, and if so whether to proceed with us or one of the other organisations.
If you choose to work with us, you will be prepared medically and psychologically, and have professional counselling (together with your partner if you have one and with your intended parents) as part of the course of your treatment. We will work with you to talk about all your concerns and questions, and will share the profile information of intended parents with you if we think (having got to know them) that they may be a good match for you. We will also prepare a profile for you which we will share with potential intended parents who we think you may get on with.
We always match in a very personalised way to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. We will therefore make specific suggestions to each of you and, if you want to meet, we will facilitate a match meeting and give you support in getting to know each other and establishing a relationship based on mutual trust, respect and friendship for as long as is needed.
You will need to think through carefully what kind of relationship you want to have with your intended parents, and have an open and honest dialogue about what you expect for the conception and pregnancy, and beyond. There are lots of issues for you to discuss and it is critical that you have the time to get to know your intended parents so that key issues are explored and any discrepancies are identified and considered. Our job is to steady and support you throughout the process.
The law does not allow us, even as a non profit-making agency, to negotiate the specific terms of your surrogacy agreement. We always operate within the law, and will give you support and guidance to help you work out the terms of your agreement as far as the law allows.
Once you are matched, and have agreed to proceed, our service does not stop there. We will support you all throughout the journey. This means help with the practicalities including the fertility treatment, giving practical advice on how to deal with doctors and hospitals and what to do at the birth registration. It also means encouragement, reassurance and support whenever needed, and providing continuing support and communication between you to help you deal with any issues that arise.