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The surrogacy process in the UK: What you should know

A pregnant woman - the surrogacy process in the UK
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Each country has different laws surrounding surrogacy. Here in the UK, surrogacy is a legal arrangement but any contracts or agreements made relating to the details are unenforceable.

Medical and reproductive advancements mean that surrogacy is now an option open to more people than ever before, including same-sex couples and transgender people. Intended parents might choose to use a surrogate because they can’t have a child naturally.

If you’re considering having a child through surrogacy, it can seem an overwhelming process. But, by understanding the different steps, you can make an informed decision and navigate your circumstances with confidence.

First steps

It’s important to avoid choosing an independent surrogate outside of an official organisation as this can increase the chances of something not going to plan with the arrangement. An organisation such as Surrogacy UK can provide useful information and support throughout the process and ensure that you choose a surrogate who has been through a detailed assessment and has a mentoring programme.

Choosing a surrogate

Once you’ve gone through the initial stage, you’ll choose a surrogate to have the child. The organisation you sign up with can help with this and facilitate meet-ups that allow you to get to know each other before making arrangements. It’s useful to get to know each other first to ensure you’re a good match and that you’re on the same page.

Your surrogacy agreement

Your surrogacy arrangement will be either gestational, where the surrogate is the host and the intended parents’ egg and sperm are used, or traditional, where the surrogate’s eggs are used. While there is no such thing as a legal surrogacy contract in the UK, it’s useful to set out the arrangement so both parties are fully aware of the expectations.

Choose a fertility clinic

You’ll want to choose a reputable fertility clinic such as one that’s listed on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Not all clinics can accommodate surrogacy so it’s important to check individual facility information. You might consider factors such as location, success rate, timescales and additional support.

Legal factors

Your surrogacy agreement will be based on trust rather than law and, as such, you won’t be able to pay your surrogate anything other than what’s classed as ‘reasonable expenses’. This could cover costs such as travel for example.

Once the child is born, as the intended parent or parents, you’ll need to wait six months to apply for a parental order. By law, the surrogate mother remains the child’s legal parent until parental responsibility has been transferred. It’s recommended that you choose a reputable children’s solicitor to assist with this process and help navigate the complexities.

While the process of surrogacy is by no means simple, by choosing to use an official organisation and seeking legal advice, you can ensure you’re as prepared and informed as possible, every step of the way.

Preparing For Parenthood: The Top Tests For Expectant Mothers And Fathers

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Stepping into the exciting journey of parenthood can be thrilling, but it’s also a time of immense responsibility.

This article explores the importance of prenatal testing for expectant mothers and fathers. It examines common tests for mothers, such as blood tests, ultrasounds, and genetic screening. For fathers, we’ll explore tests like genetic carrier screening and the relevance of paternity tests.

Common Tests For Expectant Mothers

Expectant mothers undergo several key tests during their pregnancy journey to monitor their health and their baby’s development. Here are three essential tests commonly performed:

  1. Blood Tests: Blood tests provide crucial information about the mother’s health and identify potential concerns. These tests measure blood cell counts, iron levels, blood type, Rh factor and screen for conditions like gestational diabetes and infections.
  • Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of the baby in the womb. They allow healthcare providers to assess foetal growth, confirm the due date, check for structural abnormalities, and monitor the placenta and amniotic fluid.
  • Genetic Screening: Genetic screening tests, such as non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. These tests analyse cell-free foetal DNA present in the mother’s blood to provide information about the baby’s genetic health.

These tests play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby, providing valuable insights into the pregnancy and guiding appropriate care and interventions.

Key Tests For Expectant Fathers

Expectant fathers also have essential tests that can contribute to their role in the pregnancy journey. Here are two potential tests for expectant fathers:

  1. Genetic Carrier Screening: Genetic carrier screening examines the father’s genes for specific genetic disorders that they may carry. It helps identify the risk of passing on certain inherited conditions to their child. Expectant fathers can make informed decisions regarding family planning and potential medical interventions by understanding their carrier status.
  • Prenatal Paternity Tests: These tests determine the biological relationship between a father and an unborn child. Prenatal paternity tests can be conducted during pregnancy through non-invasive methods like analysing cell-free foetal DNA in the mother’s blood. These tests provide early confirmation of paternity, which can foster emotional bonding, provide peace of mind, and help establish legal rights and responsibilities.

These tests empower expectant fathers with crucial genetic information and emotional peace of mind, allowing them to actively participate in their child’s healthcare decisions and establish a deeper connection with their growing family.

Preparing For Your First Prenatal Test

Preparing for a prenatal testing appointment can help ensure a smooth and productive experience. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Educate Yourself: Familiarise yourself with the specific tests you’ll undergo and their purpose. Understanding the procedures and potential outcomes will help alleviate anxiety.
  • Write Down Questions: Prepare a list of questions or concerns you want to address during the appointment. This ensures you don’t forget anything important and facilitates productive discussions with your healthcare provider.
  • Follow Instructions: If your prenatal test requires specific preparations, such as fasting or collecting a urine sample, follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure accurate results.
  • Bring Support: Consider bringing your partner, a family member, or a trusted friend for emotional support and an extra set of ears to absorb the information provided during the appointment.

By preparing in advance, you can make the most of your prenatal testing appointment and feel more confident and informed about your pregnancy journey.

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