Managing expenses is a part of any UK surrogacy arrangment, and we can give you guidance and practical support to help navigate this issue smoothly.
It is a popular misconception that there is a fixed amount (often said to be £15,000) which is the amount allowed for reasonable expenses for surrogacy in the UK. In fact, there is no set amount and what is reasonable depends on the specifics of the case. The amount varies depending on your circumstances, and is personal to every arrangement. As a surrogate you can at a minimum expect to be reimbursed for expenses like travel costs, treatment costs, additional expenses such as acupuncture or classes to help you with pregnancy, maternity clothes, childcare costs and any loss of earnings for you and your partner. This might be agreed as a lump sum or paid for individually.
We usually suggest an element of both, with a figure agreed at the outset to cover all the predictable expenses typical to most surrogacy journeys (many teams agree a figure of £12,000 for this) and then agreed variables which are reimbursed specifically in addition if they arise (for example additional lost wages if you need extended bed rest). It is important to make sure you are never out of pocket.
It is not illegal for you to be paid more than reasonable expenses under UK law, and in practice lump sums paid to UK surrogates are dealt with quite flexibly by the family court. If the court feels that what you have been paid is excessive then it will have to 'authorise' the payments in order to grant a parental order. Although there has never been a case where the family court has refused to do that, most UK surrogacy teams opt to stick within what the courts are used to generally to avoid the court process becoming more complicated.
We will talk to you about your expected expenses from the very start so that we ensure, as part of our match process, that your intended parents have a clear understanding of your particular circumstances and can afford to cover all your costs. We never want a Brilliant Beginnings surrogate to be out of pocket.
Once you are matched, expenses should be agreed in advance and put in writing (even if any contract is not legally binding under UK law). We will provide you with a sample template and guide you all on the expectations the court will have (and of course you and your intended parents can discuss this with your respective solicitors too when you have your legal advice). This helps to give you confidence in the arrangement and sets the right foundations of commitment and clarity. Some teams agree staged payments for the agreed lump sum, and we will give you information about the options to help you work out what works best for you all.
As part of facilitating your communication throughout the process, we are also there to help you raise any issues around expenses as they arise. We don't want money to be an awkward issue between you and your intended parents.