Surrogacy is a wonderful, but also complex and emotional journey for all involved. Reading one surrogates own experience in an article on The Telegraph highlighted to us the importance of preparation, support and guidance for everyone.
The article outlines the story of a woman that decided to help work colleagues of a family member become parents by being a surrogate for them. After meeting the intended parents, independently of any third party, she went on a lengthy journey and ultimately gave birth to a baby for them.
Sadly, whilst this was a reason for great joy, there were a number of things that went wrong. She feels that some of these things could have been avoided. This woman’s story is heart-breaking for us to read. Surrogates are amazing women that are motivated to help those who can’t have a child themselves.
Natalie was quoted as part of the article, here is that section:
‘Natalie Gamble is the co-owner of NGA Law (the first firm to specialise in surrogacy law in the UK) and Brilliant Beginnings – a non-profit surrogacy agency
‘Surrogacy works incredibly well in the majority of cases. But it’s a long and emotional process,’ says Natalie. ‘Right now, UK law disincentivises setting things up in the best way. It means that surrogacy arrangements are unenforceable and unrecognised, and makes it a criminal offence for lawyers to negotiate terms for either surrogate or intended parents.
‘The Law Commissions of England and Wales, and Scotland recently published recommendations for change, and the public consultation on them closed last year. We have to wait until 2021 for the Law Commission to make its final recommendations, and send a draft bill to the Government. In the meantime, it’s vital for both surrogates and intended parents to take their time and explore all the implications.
‘Discuss financial arrangements, how you might feel about test results, or even a termination in a worst-case scenario. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of how you would all approach such a difficult decision.
‘Working with a non-profit surrogacy organisation is a good way to ensure access to support throughout the journey. ‘Be clear what your expectations are for each other throughout the process. For example, how much involvement will parents have in the pregnancy and scans? What will happen at the birth? If there is a breakdown in communication, it may be around those expectations not having been fulfilled. Take time to have these conversations, before you all get carried away with conceiving a baby.’
The reason Brilliant Beginnings came about was to ensure that the things that can be avoided are, and the focus can then turn to the positive and joyous aspects of a surrogacy journey.
We want to ensure that we empower surrogates and intended parents to embark on surrogacy well prepared, properly informed, and having considered things like, ‘what sort of relationship do I want?’ and ‘what would we do if this happened?’. We are always there to answer the difficult questions, but also to ask them too. A dedicated team member will continue to work alongside our surrogacy teams throughout, and this support does not end when the baby is born either.
At BB we pride ourselves on our matching process. We are the only UK surrogacy organisation that matches surrogates and intended parents one to one. We spend time getting to know what our surrogates and intended parents are like, and whether they are aligned on the big stuff like communication and difficult things like termination. The right match provides a brilliant foundation for a successful and positive journey for everyone involved.
Whilst the vast majority of surrogacies are positive, the support offered by professionals and people and groups with experience is invaluable. This doesn’t just mean the support of an experienced surrogacy agency or organisation, but also the involvement of counsellors and clinics that know the nuances of a surrogacy journey, and useful legal advice and help regarding legal parentage when baby is born.
At BB we bring all of this together, and work with the right third parties for our teams, including the support of current and previous intended parents and surrogates.
Women choose to become surrogates because they are motivated to create and see parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews. In spite of her journey, this woman expressed a wonderful sentiment that really sums up why we owe it all surrogates to make their surrogacy experience an amazing one.
‘I don’t regret being a surrogate. I helped bring this baby into the world and for that I will always feel proud.’
The majority of surrogacy experiences for surrogates are positive, though a rare few aren’t – You can read about a positive surrogacy journey in Laura’s blog on why she chose to become a surrogate.
For more information as intended parents please do get in touch or have a look at our website.