All you Need to Know about Surrogacy


Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child.

The HFEA does not regulate surrogacy. We recommend that you should seek legal advice before proceeding with this option.


Types of Surrogacy


Traditional surrogate

It's a woman who gets artificially inseminated with the father's sperm. She then carries the baby and delivers it for you and your partner to raise.

A traditional surrogate is the baby's biological mother. That's because it was her egg that was fertilized by the father's sperm. Donor sperm can also be used.

Gestational surrogates

A technique called "in vitro fertilization" (IVF) now makes it possible to gather eggs from the mother, fertilize them with sperm from the father, and place the embryo into the uterus of a gestational surrogate.

The surrogate then carries the baby until birth. She doesn't have any genetic ties to the child because it wasn't her egg that was used.

A gestational surrogate is called the "birth mother." The biological mother, though, is still the woman whose egg was fertilized.



If you're a woman, you may consider a surrogate for several reasons:

  • Medical problems with your uterus
  • You had a hysterectomy that removed your uterus
  • Conditions that make pregnancy impossible or risky for you, such as severe heart disease



Full surrogacy (also known as Host or Gestational) - Full surrogacy involves the implantation of an embryo created using either:

  • the eggs and sperm of the intended parents
  • a donated egg fertilised with sperm from the intended father
  • an embryo created using donor eggs and sperm.

Partial surrogacy (also known Straight or Traditional) - Partial surrogacy involves sperm from the intended father and an egg from the surrogate. Here fertilisation is (usually) done by artificial insemination or intrauterine insemination (IUI).


How to Choose a Surrogate

Right now there aren't any regulations about who can be a surrogate mother. But experts agree on a few points about how to select one.

You should choose a surrogate who:

  • Is at least 21 years old
  • Has already given birth to at least one healthy baby so she understands firsthand the medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth and the emotional issues of bonding with a newborn
  • Has passed a psychological screening by a mental health professional to uncover any issues with giving up the baby after birth
  • Signs a contract about her role and responsibilities in the pregnancy, such as prenatal care and agreeing to give you the baby after birth


Surrogacy Factors to Consider

Even though traditional and gestational surrogacy are very different, both are typically just as safe as going through a traditional biological pregnancy. Prior to starting the surrogacy process, the surrogate is first screened in order to determine her overall health. If she is not deemed healthy enough to carry the embryo, another surrogate must be chosen. Once ready to proceed, if using gestational surrogacy, the surrogate will be required to take certain medications that will assist her in developing numerous eggs for use in the fertilization process. When the baby is ready for birth, the surrogate will go through the typical process for delivery of the baby. After the baby's birth, he or she will then go home with the new parents.



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