Towards the end of last year I shared a brilliant, insightful list from a Mother who’s Sister-in-Law was her surrogate. It was so touching and really made me think. Then when I discovered Lisa online and watched as she documented her pregnancy as a surrogate I reached out and asked her to pen her experience: thus giving us a different and equally valuable take on surrogacy. So here it is:

  • Surrogacy is the process in which a woman carries a baby for another couple. 

  • There are 2 main types of surrogacy:

  • 1) Traditional Surrogacy (TS) or straight surrogacy where a surrogate uses her own eggs to conceive and carry a baby for others. This can be done with inseminations done at home or IUI at a clinic.

  •  2) Gestational surrogacy (GS) or Host surrogacy, where the embryo has no relation to the surrogate and it’s transferred via IVF. This can be the parent own genetics child or with a donor gamete such as donor egg or sperm. The embryo must be genetically related to one or both of the Intended Parents (IPs) in the U.K. You cannot do Surrogacy with a donated embryo and use a surrogate. 

  • I do Surrogacy because it can change people’s lives in the best way. I am a surrogate because I can be. I am blessed to be fertile and able to carry without issue. My husband and children support me. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. 

  • You cannot be paid to be a surrogate in the U.K. but they do cover expenses so you shouldn’t be out of pocket. So you need to want to help

  • I wanted to help other have a baby because the world is already cruel so why not do what you can to make it a better place? 

  • Surrogacy brings so much joy to me seeing others so happy. But not just parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on. 

  • I feel like I am helping to make life a little bit better. Helping them realise a part of themselves they’d otherwise not be able to.

  • Finding couples (or a surrogate) is all about clicking with someone. 

  • Talk and make friends. It’s based on trust. If there is no trust there won’t be a good outcome. 

  • Learn as much as you can. About the laws, how it works and what is expected. 

  • It’s likes dating in a way as you may not always connect with some people even if you thought you did to start with.

  • Known its ok, and even wise to walk away sometimes. It’s not something to be taken lightly. 

  • Believe in your gut! You will know when it’s right. You need to be in the right place in both mind and heart before you start anything. 

  • Go through an agreement. Make sure you think properly about every possibility. Never dismiss something thinking it won’t happen to you. 

  • Get all your tests done! Have medical checks, criminal check and psychological analysis. And run from anyone who is not willing to do them all. 

  • Have life insurance as surrogates have died. Don’t risk leaving children with no mother and no financial security. 

  • Get a will in place. Just to be safe.

  •  Know that IVF is hard and Insems are gross but it will be worth it!

  • It doesn’t always happen right away and that is ok. Don’t pressure yourself. 

  • Knowing that the moment you get to tell IPs (Intend Parents) they are to be parents is immense. There is nothing like it! 

  • When you’re growing a child for someone else, you feel almost guilty that you are not attached. At all. I never was and I did almost make me feel bad. 

  • But seeing others joy at what you are doing for them is like nothing else. Put it this way: if feelings could make you fly…. I’d have been sky rocketing!!

  • It can be hard being pregnant and you can resent you past self for thinking it was a clever idea when all you get out of it is seeing others happy.

  • Many surrogates feel  lost after giving birth and waving baby off. After being so needed for so long it can be a knock. 

  • But also, feeling unphased by baby going off with their parents is also OK too.

  • I never once felt sad. No tears were shed until the breast-pump broke!

  • You don’t have to pump after bith. Many surrogates do not.  But I did. I choose to and that’s OK too.

  •  Know that even in the peak of pain, when you tear up going for a wee post birth that it was worth it. Remember their faces. Remember their emotion at meeting their baby. You did that. And you did not have to. 

  • That no matter what goes on in this world you chose to help and you did something amazing even if you don’t feel all that amazing after. I looked (and still do) like cat vomit. Ha!

  • Once baby is born you and your husband if you are married go on the birth certificate. Surrogacy law states:

  • “If the surrogate is married when she conceives, her husband is the legal father unless it is shown that he did not consent to the conception.  The same rule makes the surrogate’s wife or civil partner the other legal parent if she is in a same-sex relationship.”

  • “If the surrogate is unmarried, in most cases the intended father will be the legal father (assuming he is the biological father).  However, if conception takes place at a fertility clinic in the UK someone else can be nominated as the second legal parent, for example an intended mother or a non-biological father.”

  • After 6 weeks the parents can apply for a Parental Order at their local family court. 

  • This must be done before the baby turns 6 months old. 

  • The court will issue a Cafcass Officer who will talk to you all and write a report. You and your husband if on the birth certificate will sign your legal right to the baby away. 

  • When all this is done a judge will look over it all and grant the Parental Order. This extinguishes the surrogates legal rights and give them to the babies parents. 

  • With the Parental Order, a new birth certificate is issued. 

  • The Parental Order is the same for both straight couples and same sex couples. 

  • It is also the same for gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy.

  • It takes anywhere from 4 months to a year to be granted. 

  • A surrogate has no rights to a baby after the Parental Order is granted. And they do not always stay in touch with the babies they carry. 

  • I have maintained close contact with 2 of the surrogate babies I carried and lost contact with another. 

  • Whatever the case I don’t struggle to hand over babies, no matter how beautiful they is that I know that they are going to have the best life.

  • I believe each of those babies is where they are meant to be.

  • They are planned and longed for.

  • Each one is imagination come true, dreams realised, hope personified.

  • I am proud to have helped wonderful people become parents.

  • I know that each child is very very very lucky and loved.

  • And THIS is why I love being a surrogate.

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