The best place to start is by registering to use our message boards. Registration is free. You’ll be able to access all the “non-member” parts of the online community, and you’ll immediately benefit from the enormous experience and understanding of our members. You can ask questions, pick people’s brains, and start making friends. To register, just click here and click on ‘register’ in the top right-hand corner.
The Application Pack
The application pack asks for a lot of information about you both, but we ask these questions for a number of reasons. First, we have to gather some details for our records: how to contact you, where you live, and so on. Second, we need to ensure that you have had all the necessary checks and tests which are required for membership. And finally, we need to ensure that your hopes and expectations are realistic and in keeping with the ethos within the organisation.
As well as the application form we will need some other stuff from you:
GP letter and health checks
Surrogacy UK requires both Intended Parents to provide a medical report from their doctor. We will need to see the original document from your GP. The application pack contains a letter you can fill out and give to your GP, explaining what is required of them. If they feel it is appropriate they may ask for an assessment or report from another medical specialist. Please note that doctors are entitled to charge you for these reports, though many do not.
If you are hoping to carry out straight surrogacy, Surrogacy UK requires sight of the following original documents from potential fathers (the IVF clinic will undertake these tests for host surrogacy and so documents are not required in this case):
|Semen analysis||Infertility affects men and women equally so it is essential that this test is carried out so that you know what course of action to take|
|Mixed Antiglobulin Reaction Test (MAR)||The MAR test checks for sperm antibodies. If there is a presence of antibodies, the sperm may clump together and this could have implications on the quality of the sperm sample, even if the overall count appears to be within acceptable boundaries. MAR test is carried out it can be discovered that there are sperm antibodies. Depending on the severity of the antibodies it may be that IUI may be needed, IVF or even in some cases ICSI.
The MAR test is not costly and can save couples many hundreds of pounds on wasted inseminations if this problem is discovered.
• Hepatitis B
• Hepatitis C
• Genital herpes
|To ensure that potential children or the surrogate are not affected by these STIs
Please note that tests for Genital Herpes may not be routinely available. If you have ever had an outbreak of genital herpes, please contact us to discuss your options. We reserve the right to cancel your membership if it is discovered that you have not declared this.
To carry out the STI tests required by Surrogacy UK you may either:
- Ask your GP to carry them out. GPs may charge for tests with written results.
- Go to your GUM clinic. Tests are usually free of charge when carried out at a GUM clinic, however many do charge a fee for providing the results on paper
- Use a private fertility/IVF clinic. Clinic charges will apply.
- Use TDL (the Doctor’s Laboratory)
In straight surrogacy these tests need to be carried out prior to joining the organisation. In addition, Intended Fathers are required to repeat the tests prior to inseminations starting. Individual teams may at this stage agree that the Intended Mother and/or the surrogate, and/or the surrogate’s partner also undergo tests at this point. This decision will be discussed at the Agreement Session.
We recommend that the following optional tests are also carried out:
|Cystic Fibrosis |
Screening by blood test is recommended for this common and serious genetic disorder. 1 in 24 people in the UK are carriers; if both parents are
|Screening by blood test is recommended for this common and serious genetic disorder. 1 in 24 people in the UK are carriers; if both parents are carriers there is a 1 in 4 chance that the child will be affected.|
|Ashkenazi Genetic Disease Screen||Tay Sachs is a fatal disorder in children (usually by age 5) that causes a progressive degeneration of the central nervous system. Both parents must carry one defective copy of the gene to be at risk for having a child with Tay Sachs
Carrier screening is recommended for any person of Jewish ancestry or for anyone who has a family history of the condition.
|Canavans||Canavans is a fatal disorder in children (usually by age 5) that also causes a progressive degeneration of the central nervous system like Tay Sachs. Both parents must carry one defective copy of the gene to be able to have a child with Canavans.
Carrier screening is recommended for any person of Jewish ancestry or for anyone who has a family history of the condition.
|Fanconi anaemia (FA),||An inherited anaemia’s that leads to bone marrow failure.|
|Sickle Cell||Sickle Cell Disorders are a group of inheritable genetic conditions in which there is an abnormality of the haemoglobin.|
Criminal records checks
Both Intended Parents are required to provide criminal records checks. You may have had one done for your work (usually via the Criminal Records Bureau or CRB) and a CRB certificate less than 12 months old will be accepted for your membership. If you don’t already have a CRB certificate, you can obtain a new criminal records check from Disclosure Scotland. Forms can be downloaded at www.disclosurescotland.co.uk or requested by telephone on 0870 609 6006. The type of form you need to ask for is a ‘basic disclosure’. A small fee is made for this service, and it should take no longer than 6 weeks to receive the results.
Please send us the original document: we will note that it has been seen and return it to you.
The Surrogacy UK information session
We require all prospective members to attend a Surrogacy UK information session. The purpose of the session is to explain all aspects of surrogacy and prepare those involved for the journey ahead. The information session is carried out by a Surrogacy UK representative. Intended Parents must both be present at this session. Information Sessions are arranged on receipt of the application form, membership fee, and all supporting documents by the membership secretary.
The membership fee for Intended Parents is £800 for the first year, and £50 per year thereafter.
Once you have had a child through a Surrogacy UK surrogacy agreement, you can maintain full membership for a reduced fee of £25 per year. If you then wish to start a second surrogacy arrangement (what we call a sibling project), you will be required to pay an update fee of £200.
Karla, our IP membership secretary, will able to help answer any questions you may have about the membership process. Karla can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Common membership Questions
I’m gay – can I have a child through surrogacy in the UK?
Yes. We now have several same-sex couples who are members of the organisation, and you are very welcome to apply for membership if you are in a gay relationship. You can contact Colin and Sam for more information by emailing email@example.com
I am single, can I look for a Surrogate Mother to help me?
Unfortunately not; legally in the UK you can only carry out a Surrogacy Arrangement if you can apply for a Parental Order, and a Parental Order is only open to couples in a long-term relationship.
What is Surrogacy UK’s age limit for intended parents?
Surrogacy UK does not have an upper age limit for Intended Parents to join the organisation. However, please note that the age profile of Intended Parents is taken into consideration by a court granting a Parental Order.
Likewise, please bear in mind that one of Surrogacy UK’s key concern is the welfare of a child born through surrogacy. Therefore whilst we have no upper age limit, we do take the age profile of the Intended Parents (IPs) into consideration as part of our overall assessment for joining Surrogacy UK. We treat every application to join Surrogacy UK on its own merits.
Note: Being selected by a surrogate mother can sometimes take time, and it is Surrogacy UK’s experience that this is sometimes further compounded with significantly older IPs.
Can I be a member of Surrogacy UK and another surrogacy organisation?
Surrogacy UK does not restrict you from joining another organisation – after all, the point of Surrogacy UK is to allow families to be created.
At the same time we do firmly believe that the Surrogacy UK way of doing things is the best way, and that there are avoidable risks in other ways-of-doing things. It is for this reason that once a Member enters a surrogacy arrangement with a non-member, it is not possible for them to maintain Member status. We would, though, welcome the non-member to join us if they so wished.
In the event of working with a non-member, no membership fees shall be refunded, however upon completion of your arrangement you are welcome to become a member again, by renewing your membership and paying your renewal fee.
We are a foreign couple and would like to work with a UK Surrogate – is this possible?
UK law requires that at least one of the couple applying for a parental order must be domiciled in the UK.
However, Surrogacy UK are more strict in our membership requirements. We also require that both members of the couple are living together in the UK. This is to minimise the risk to obtaining a parental order, but also due to the social nature of our organisation and in providing the best support to your surrogate. We feel that only being a resident of the UK can fulfil these needs.
Surrogacy UK cannot help in an overseas surrogacy arrangement. The law regarding surrogacy/adoption varies from country to country. We strongly advise anyone contemplating such an arrangement to ensure that the intended parents contact a lawyer before treatment commences.
We don’t live together, can we still join Surrogacy UK?
The family courts when considering the award of a Parental Oder require Intended Parents to be living as partners in an enduring family relationship. This is interpreted by the courts as the couple needing to live together. As such, Surrogacy UK cannot accept applications from Intended Parents that do not share the same home. We understand that in some cases Intended Parents may be making plans and best endeavours to move in together, but until this is complete, membership cannot be awarded.
One or both of us are HIV+, how does that impact membership?
If one or both Intended Parents is HIV+, Surrogacy UK requires that any attempts to get pregnant are conducted at IVF clinics. This policy is to ensure the safety of the Surrogate Mother, and it applies even if the sperm provider is not HIV+.
Surrogacy UK asks that Intended Parents in this situation declare their status to the Membership Secretary when they apply to join Surrogacy UK. This information will be treated in confidence and used only to ensure that both Intended Parents and their Surrogate get the support they need throughout their relationship.
Surrogacy UK will not require the couple to declare their HIV status on their profile should they not wish to do so, as we understand that this may prejudice their chances of meeting Surrogates. However, Surrogacy UK strongly encourages openness and honesty between Surrogates and Intended Parents, as this forms the cornerstone of friendship and thus successful surrogacies. Surrogacy UK will ensure that the Surrogate is aware of an Intended Parent’s HIV+ status at the point of the Agreement Session.
What if I change my mind about being a member?
Surrogacy UK operates a 14 day cooling off period. Once Surrogacy UK has received IP membership fees, we will, upon receiving a written request within 14 days, reimburse these fees. Please make your written request for reimbursment to The Membership Secretary at Surrogacy UK. The reimbursemnet will be subject to an administration fee of £100 plus any expenses incurred in order to cover the organisation’s costs.
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