Having a child for someone else (surrogacy)

Last updated: 14 March 2017

How it works

As a surrogate mother you would have a baby for another couple. They could be people you know or strangers.

You can be matched with a couple through surrogacy agencies, like Surrogate UK or Brilliant Beginnings.

Before you agree to be a surrogate, think about how giving the child away will impact you. Brilliant Beginnings offers counselling for women interested in becoming surrogate mothers.

Payment

It's illegal to pay a surrogate mother for anything other than 'reasonable expenses'. This covers things like:

  • travel costs
  • treatment costs
  • maternity clothes
  • childcare costs if you have children
  • any loss of earnings

There's more information about what reasonable expenses means on the Brilliant Beginnings website.

You will be the legal parent of the child when it is born.

The other legal parent is your spouse or civil partner if you're married or in a civil partnership. If not, the other legal parent is the:

  • intended father or your unmarried partner if they are the sperm donor
  • your unmarried partner if the sperm donor is someone else and your partner agreed to be the other legal parent (gave consent)
There isn't always an other legal parent - it might just be you.

For the intended parents to become the child's legal parents they will need to ask a court to make a "parental order".

They need to apply for a parental order within 6 months of the child's birth. You and the other legal parent will need to agree to the order. You can do this 6 weeks after the birth.

You should get legal advice to help you understand what's involved in getting an order. You can also speak to Citizens Advice if you need support.

Types of surrogacy

There are two types of surrogacy:

  • straight surrogacy - also known as traditional surrogacy or artifical insemination
  • host surrogacy - also known as gestational surrogacy

Straight surrogacy

Your egg would be impregnated by the intended father's sperm. This is done by 'artificial insemination' - where the sperm is inserted inside you.

You can do this at a pregnancy clinic or at home with an insemination kit.

Host (or gestational) surrogacy

The intended mother's (or another donor's) egg would be impregnated by the intended father's sperm. It would then be inserted into your body.

You would not be the child's mother genetically but you would be the child's legal mother at birth.

This type of surrogacy would always need to be done in a pregnancy clinic.

There is more information about how this works on the Surrogacy UK website.