FAQs for UK surrogates

Is surrogacy for me?

balloonsBeing a surrogate is an incredible gift to a family and the rewards can be lifelong. Nevertheless, it is emotionally and physically demanding. You will need to consider what support you will have throughout your pregnancy and after delivery, and what practical and emotional help you will have from your partner, family and friends. You will also need to think carefully about the medical, legal, emotional and practical implications of carrying a child for someone else. You will need to think about how being a surrogate affects your existing children, as well as your partner.  Our surrogacy preparation counselling will help with this. Our experience shows that this sets up your relationship with your intended parents so that it is mutually happy and fulfilling.

Will I be out of pocket?

No, is the short answer. Your intended parents should as a minimum pay for all your reasonable expenses which might include:

  • Loss of earnings for you and your partner
  • Maternity clothes
  • Travel costs for both you and your family, which you might have if you visit your intended parents
  • Travel and accommodation costs for attending clinic and hospital appointments
  • Counselling or professional support in connection with your pregnancy
  • Wills and life insurance fees
  • Legal fees
  • Additional child care costs
  • A modest recuperation break for you and your family 
  • Any other expenses during your pregnancy and after the birth.

How do payments work?

In the UK, reasonable expenses are usually between £12,000 - £18,000 depending your personal circumstances. This should be discussed and arranged prior to beginning the journey so that intended parents know how much they are going to be expected to pay as a base and what potential extras may be, this ensures that surrogates are not left out of pocket. At Brilliant Beginnings we ensure clarity on all sides and will happily be the go-between if there are any issues with regards to payment of expenses (this should be very rare given the prior discussions, however if it is needed, we are here to support at every point).

Find out more about our approach to expenses if you are a Brilliant Beginnings surrogate.

Are there any criteria for becoming a surrogate?

Yes. To be a Brilliant Beginnings surrogate, you need to be in good health, with an optimum BMI of between 19 and 28 (with a maximum of 35 and a minimum of 19). You must also be a non-smoker. You must not have any medical problems or be on any medication which could put you or the child at risk during pregnancy. If you have a medical condition for which you are being treated, you may be precluded from becoming a surrogate, although some conditions and treatments can be managed during pregnancy without risk to you or the baby.

The upper age limit is 50 although, given the greater risk of pregnancy complications as you get older, surrogates over the age of 35 will need extra medical screening. We do not accept surrogates under the age of 18 and will only in exceptional cases accept surrogates under the age of 21. 

We do not accept surrogates who have a criminal record or are known to social services.  You must have had at least one successful pregnancy resulting in a child who is living with you, and you must be well supported and in a financially and personally stable living situation.

You must be screened by us and a professional counsellor as being emotionally fit and ready to be a surrogate.

How do I choose which intended parents to help?

You will want to help intended parents that you like and feel comfortable with. More than that, you will need to think about what kind of surrogacy relationship the intended parents are looking for, and whether that is what you want too. As you will be working closely with them before, during and after pregnancy, personalities are important to consider. Other things to think about are:

  • Will it be a straight/traditional surrogacy (where you will provide your own eggs) or a host/gestational surrogacy (where the eggs will be donated)? At Brilliant Beginnings, we only support gestational surrogacy arrangements.
  • What kind of treatment are you prepared to have to conceive?
  • What kind of family would you like to help?
  • Are they within easy travelling distance?
  • Do you have similar interests?
  • Does your family like them?
  • What kind of relationship, if any, will you want with your intended parents later?
  • How do you feel about ante-natal scans and screening? If there was a problem with the pregnancy, how would you deal with it?
  • Are your intended parents able to support you through the process, financially and otherwise?

As a Brilliant Beginning surrogate, we will help you to find the right intended parents through our personalised matching process. This ensures that each match is done to make sure that everyone is aligned in their approach as much as possible. We match on big things like views on termination or treatment or pregnancy preferences as well as the no less critical nuances, like geography, personality and lifestyle. This establishes a strong bedrock from which a foundation of trust and friendship can develop. You will be given lots of information about the intended parents that we think will be a great fit for you and will have the option before meeting them, to decide if it feels right. They too will have this opportunity so that by the time you do meet, you will have a clear picture of each other.

How long will it take?

There is no perfect calendar; each arrangement is different. You may find the right intended parents straight away or you may need to meet a few before finding the ones you want to work with. It is important to establish a good relationship with open lines of communication with your intended parents. Once established, you will undergo medical treatment prior to becoming pregnant and then hopefully have a successful pregnancy. Our strong advice is to consider this a long term or even lifelong commitment.

If I am breastfeeding, can I be a surrogate?

Breastfeeding can delay a woman’s return to fertility by causing a lack of ovulation and periods and can prevent an embryo from implanting properly. Therefore to become a surrogate, you would have to stop breastfeeding and resume your regular menstrual cycle for a more successful IVF process. It is important that you give your existing family and your breastfeeding child the attention that they need at this early stage of their life. At Brilliant Beginnings, we would not want to interfere in that special time with your children and you would have to have stopped breastfeeding before becoming a BB surrogate.

I am on benefits, can I still be a surrogate?

We would always recommend you are upfront with the relevant benefit office and be clear about what your expenses are covering to avoid any confusion in relation to the payments you receive. Surrogacy in the UK is only allowed on an altruistic basis so the only thing that is paid to you as a surrogate are pregnancy related expenses. As part of the Parental Order process (to extinguish your legal responsibility) your intended parents will need to outline what expenses they have paid. You should always be honest with both your intended parents in terms of your expectations for expenses as well as your benefits office.

Can I still be a surrogate if I do not work and am a stay at home mum?

Of course! Many of our surrogates are stay at home mums, looking after younger children (and rushing around like any other stay at home mum) as well as working mums who are juggling full or part time jobs. As long as you fit the criteria that we require to become a surrogate, we would be able to support you.

I’ve read about GS and TS surrogates, what does this mean?

There are two types of surrogacy to consider:

  • Traditional (TS) – In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child she carries. Her egg is fertilised using sperm from the intended father.
  • Gestational (GS) – In gestational (or host) surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate. The embryo is instead created using an egg from the intended mother or a donor, and sperm from the intended father or a donor using in vitro fertilisation. Once the egg is fertilised in the laboratory, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate.

All our BB surrogates are gestational surrogates.

I have been sterilised can I still be a surrogate?

The short answer is yes, you can become a gestational carrier if you have had your tubes tied. But, unless you are willing to undergo surgery, you cannot become a traditional surrogate if you have had a tubal ligation.