We speak with women who are considering becoming surrogates every day and thought it would be useful to put together a list of some of your commonly asked questions.
How much will I get paid to be a surrogate?
It is a popular misconception that there is a fixed amount (often said to be £15,000) which is the accepted figure for surrogates to receive in the UK. In fact, most UK surrogates work within the framework of being paid ‘reasonable expenses’ and what is reasonable depends on the specifics of your situation; there are no set rules. The amount varies depending on your needs and circumstances, and is personal to every arrangement.
As a surrogate you can expect to be reimbursed for your expenses including travel costs, treatment costs, maternity clothes, childcare costs and any loss of earnings that you or your partner incurs. This might be agreed as a lump sum (and £12,000 to £15,000 is often the overall amount agreed) or paid for individually.
If your intended parents agree to pay you more than your reasonable expenses, this is not illegal, but it needs to be taken into account in the parental order application after the birth (which is the process by which the intended parents become the legal parents), because the court will have to authorise the payment.
At Brilliant Beginnings we will give you guidance and support with the issue of expenses. We also recommend that the intended parents have legal advice to understand fully how the courts are likely to approach any amount they pay you as part of their parental order application.
How old do I have to be to be a surrogate?
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 and the clinics we work with want to make sure that you are fit and healthy and stay that way!
We are always amazed at some young women who come to us under 21 wishing to help other people create a family. However we do not accept surrogates under the age of 18 and will only in exceptional cases accept surrogates under the age of 21. You must also have had at least one live birth, and have your child living with you.
Can I be a surrogate for a family member or friend?
Of course! Offering to be a surrogate for a family member or friend is a wonderful thing to do and at Brilliant Beginnings we offer a UK Surrogacy Support Service for both intended parents and surrogates who already know each other. There are still things to take into consideration with these kinds of surrogacy arrangements and we can support your relationship to make sure that the bedrock is strong and that clarity and commitment are established early on. From there, we will help you with the practicalities as well as holding your hand if you need us to through the emotional side of your journey. We give you support with your surrogacy agreement, making sure that the pieces of the puzzle are talked through in advance so that once you get onto treatment, and hopefully pregnancy, there are as few surprises as possible.
What happens if my intended parents change their mind?
This is a common concern for lots of women who are considering becoming a surrogate. Intended parents have often been through a great deal of emotional upheaval through fertility complications, or social pressures before considering surrogacy, so the decision to embark on a surrogacy journey is not taken lightly. If there was a way for them to conceive naturally they would. And our role is to make sure that our intended parents have considered all the implications of having a child (through our background checks, discussions as well as counselling). But in the very unlikely event that something went awry, we would support you and ultimately the child could be adopted by another family.
Take a look at our FAQs for surrogates page for more info: http://www.brilliantbeginnings.co.uk/surrogates/faqs-and-risks