The following are a number of common questions we are asked by surrogates. They range from general queries to personal concerns to logistical and process questions.
Being a surrogate is an incredible gift to a family and the rewards can be lifelong. It might be something you have always thought about doing or a new consideration. Either way, it is emotionally and physically demanding and women who become surrogates don’t do so lightly.
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.
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.
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.
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 would want you to be honest with both your intended parents, in terms of your expectations for expenses, as well as your benefits office.
Choosing your intended parents means considering a lot about who they are and what sort of relationship you want to have. Surrogacy is an 18–24 month journey and so helping the right person or people is very important. There are lots of people who would welcome your help with completing their family. The most important element is that you are comfortable with them, and they with you, so that you can form a trust-based, honest relationship.
At Brilliant Beginnings, we will do that matching for you. We take enormous time and care over our matches to get them just right. Having got to know you and your family (and the same with our intended parents waiting for a match), we will suggest intended parents who we think are best aligned with you on the big issues (like termination and expenses) as well as softer but no less important things (like lifestyle and personality).
The surrogacy process itself varies in length of time, with screening and preparatory discussions needed before you are ready to be matched. As you near the end of this part of the process, the final stage is an in-home visit. This is the time when we will aim to begin to talk to you about the potential intended parents we would suggest for a match.
From there, assuming that there are no obvious barriers and you are happy with the parents we propose, then we will look to introduce you shortly afterward. We match one-to-one, not one-by-one, which means you aren’t matched with the next parent/s on the list, but rather the intended parent/s who are the best match for you, and them.
In the UK, the person who gives birth to the child is the legal mother. This doesn’t change for children born through surrogacy, which means that as a surrogate you will initially be the legal mother of any child you give birth to. If you are married or in a civil parntership and your partner is involved and consents, he or she will be the other legal parent.
In order for your intended parents to become the legal parents, they will need to extinguish your (and your spouse's) legal responsibility. This is a well travelled path for UK surrogacy and we have taken many parents and surrogates through this. As a Brilliant Beginnings surrogate, you will be given independent legal advice to make sure you are clear about how the law works.
As the law in the UK recognises the surrogate mother as the birth parent, it means that you are entitled to maternity leave in the same way as if you were having your own child.
Success rates for surrogacy do not exist, at least not in a reliable way. Some fertility clinics can cite data on the success rates they have with IVF, the medical process by which the embryo will be implanted in you as a surrogate, but surrogacy success rates are not currently collected separately.
There are far too many variables including the response of surrogates, as well as embryos, sperm and eggs’ quality. It is always sensible to anticipate two to three attempts to get pregnant.
If you would like to know more about what it takes to be a surrogate and how the process works, you should look at the following pages:
Alternatively, if you would like to apply to be a BB surrogate or speak to one of our team members, contact us today.