What is a surrogate, which celebrities have used one and what are UK surrogacy laws?
SURROGACY is an option for couples who struggle to fall pregnant naturally – and even celebrities like Christiano Ronald have used surrogates.
But how does it work and what restrictions are placed on the process by UK law?
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is the name given for a type of pregnancy where a woman carries and gives birth to another person's baby.
The surrogate mother is then expected to give up the baby at birth, so it can be raised by the couple who originally wanted the baby.
Surrogacy is often an option for those unable to have children themselves, or for same sex couples.
According to surrogacy charity Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS), there are two different types of surrogacy.
- Traditional surrogacy: When the surrogate uses her own egg fertilised with the intended father's sperm.
- Gestational surrogacy: The surrogate carries the intended parent's genetic child conceived through IVF, for which specialist doctors are needed.
How are surrogate babies conceived?
In traditional surrogacy procedures, the egg is artificially inseminated using a syringe.
Gestational surrogacy is carried out through IVF.
During this in vitro fertilisation process, the egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory.
The embryo is then planted in the surrogate’s womb to grow and develop.
This procedure must be carried out by specialist doctors and the biological mother is required to still have working ovaries.
Why did Christiano Ronaldo choose a surrogate?
His first child, Cristiano Jr was born in June 2010 to a surrogate in USA, before he became a father once again to twins, Eva and Matteo via the same method seven years later.
But that was just five months before Georgina Rodriguez gave birth to Alana Martina.
The family all now live in Turin, while he plays for Juventus and regularly attend matches to see the superstar in action.
What other celebrities have used surrogacy?
Saffron Drewitt-Barlow, daughter of millionaire dads Tony and Barrie, has expressed wishes to have a baby via surrogate with her boyfriend Scott, saying she is "too posh to push".
Kim Kardashian's third and fourth children with Kanye West were born with the help of surrogates.
Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson and his husband Carl Hyland announced that they had become parents to twins via surrogate on May 22, 2017.
The couple previously had four failed attempts at IVF with a surrogate, before getting pregnant.
Supermodel Tyra Banks, Robbie Williams and Ayda Field, TV host Jimmy Fallon and actress Sarah Jessica Parker are among the other celebs who have had surrogate children.
What are the surrogacy laws in the UK?
After the surrogate gives birth to the baby, she is regarded as the mother in the eyes of the law.
If she has a partner or husband, they are also legally seen as the father.
In some cases, the surrogate is single, which allows the genetic father to be named on the birth certificate.
After welcoming their surrogate baby to the world, parents are required to apply for a Parental Order.
Surrogacy UK outlines the steps parents need to take if they are to be granted as parents of the surrogate child.
For a Parental Order to be granted the following are all required:
- Both Intended Parents must be over eighteen
- At least one IP must be biologically related to the child
- At least one IP must be domiciled in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
- The IPs must be in a stable, long term relationship.
- Since April 2010, unmarried and same sex couples have been able to apply for a parental order.
- The conception must have taken place artificially (which can include home insemination)
- The child must have his/her home with the Intended Parents at the time of the application
- The surrogate and her husband must fully and freely consent to making the order. The surrogate cannot validly give her consent until the child is 6 weeks old.
What is COTS?
As it’s illegal to pay someone to act as a surrogate, many couples who hope to start a family will approach an agency that vets potential parents and surrogates.
One of these organisations is Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS).
After being formed in 1988, non-profit group COTS has built up over 750 members and celebrated around 1,000 surrogate births.
To join the organisation, members are required to pay a fee to cover the running cost of COTS.
Their official website states: “A wide range of support and advice is available to COTS members.
“We strive to ensure that surrogates and intended parents are made aware of all the implications of surrogacy BEFORE entering into an arrangement.”
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