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Surrogacy – the legal and logistic challenge in IVF treatment.

April 02, 2014

IVF for with a surrogate is perhaps the easiest IVF a fertility expert will do, especially if the commissioning couple is gay. In such a case, the eggs are from young egg donor who has had kids before this and the embryo is implanted in a young surrogate who has successfully borne children before. Many centres are happy to give a guarantee for successful outcome!

 When we use the eggs from a spouse who does not have a functioning uterus, the success will depend on her age and quality of eggs.  But in general the challenge is not so much in the technical aspects but the logistic challenges!

Counselling all parties involved in the programme is important. The legal aspects and financial aspects have to be dealt properly, legally and ethically. Especially when the there is commercial surrogacy done overseas.

There have been discussion of exploitation of surrogates who are typically poor. There are also been stories about surrogates left holding a baby when things go wrong with the commissioning couple.

  • The following are few points that highlight the various issues in this matter.

    We are happy to be of any assistance to couples who are considering and undertaking this logistic challenge!

    1. The child born to a surrogate in the UK, is considered a child of the surrogate mother.

    2. Such a child will then be formally adopted by the commissioning parents from the surrogate mother who is the legal mother of the child, irrespective of whose egg is used in the treatment. If the embryo has been made using the sperm of one of the commissioning couple, he will be named as the father.

    3. In the UK commercial surrogacy is illegal. Altruistic surrogacy is however allowed. This means you cannot pay the surrogate mother anything more than a reasonable compensation for being pregnant which includes her clothes, loss of income, dietary additions supplementations and few such items. India legalized commercial surrogacy a few years ago so that the commissioning parents can pay a fee to the surrogate mum for her service in enabling their child to be born.

    4. The Indian authorities also went a step ahead and issue birth certificate which do not include any reference to the surrogate mother. The commissioning parents are named in the birth certificate. This would be a big boon to couples that needed surrogacy.

    5. In 2013, for entirely inexplicable reasons the Indian authorities banned surrogacy for gay couples. They also specified that heterosexual couples should be married for two years. This is obviously remarkably regressive step and has hurt a lot of couples who needed surrogacy.

    6. In many states in USA commercial surrogacy is legal. The total package cost however easily crosses £ 60,000. The comparable cost in India would be about £ 22,000.

    7. There have been cases in India wherein the commissioning couple didn’t/couldn’t return to collect their child. This obviously creates very complex problems involving a very young child. The Indian authorities now require considerable assurances by the couple to ensure that this doesn’t happen. But of course the assurances can only be in terms of assurance fees.

    8. If a British couple commissions a surrogate mother, they cannot bring in the child back to UK with them for obvious immigration reasons. For that purpose a parental order by the court as to be issued which clearly mentions all medical details and legal evidences and corroborating letters from various medical and other professionals involved.

    9. A few hundred such parental orders are acquired every year in UK.

 

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