The Evening Standard has featured an article about the rise of surrogacy, looking at the options in the UK and overseas and the costs for intended parents. Our director Helen Prosser is quoted extensively throughout the article:
According to Helen Prosser, co-owner of Brilliant Beginnings and legal practice NGA Law, the intended parent is legally obliged to cover the surrogate’s expenses but much larger figures can be approved by the magistrate for money lost in earnings and further costs.
“The actual number of people looking in the UK is huge,” says Prosser. Although there were only some 350 parental orders (the legal paperwork needed to adopt a surrogate child) in 2016, Prosser argues this is the tip of the iceberg.
Around 40 per cent of Brilliant Beginnings’ client base are gay men in same-sex relationships, while around half are straight couples who “have had years of failed IVF” or cannot carry a child for medical reasons, such as having had chemotherapy.
Prosser adds: “We’ve got single dads and some single women, although very few, who just haven’t met the right person and want to have a child on their own.”
This strong bond between intended parent and surrogate, Prosser says, is typical. “They’re on this two-year journey together. It’s almost unnatural for them not to have some sort of relationship afterwards.”
Can parents insist on changes in lifestyle for the surrogate as they carry their child? This is a grey area. Although Brilliant Beginnings insists expectations are meticulously set out between parties (they also stipulate counselling for all) surrogacy contracts are not legally enforceable. The child belongs to whoever carries it until the parental order is signed at a magistrate’s court after the birth.
“There have only been three cases published in the UK where a surrogate has refused to give up the baby and all involved traditional surrogacy, conceiving with the surrogate’s own egg,” says Prosser. “It happens rarely but it can be tricky if things aren’t discussed in advance. In those cases, there would be no positive story to tell the child when it comes into the world. Ultimately, there are going to be easier ways for a surrogate to get pregnant.”
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