8.41 Surrogacy

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This policy is currently under review - May 2020


Policy Regarding Management of Surrogacy (East Sussex Healthcare NHS).



Surrogacy is legal in the UK, with reasonable expenses only being paid to the surrogate mother. Surrogacy arrangements are not legally enforceable.


It is illegal to advertise for a surrogate in the UK. Most people have a family member or friend willing to carry the child, others join a surrogacy organisation.


Partial surrogacy uses the egg of the surrogate mother and the sperm of the intended father, thus the baby is biologically related to the intended father and the surrogate mother. This can make it difficult for the surrogate mother to give up her own biological child, but also for the intended mother to accept a child which her husband has fathered with another woman.


Total surrogacy uses the egg of the intended mother combined with the sperm of her husband or donor sperm. A baby conceived by this method has no biological connection to the surrogate mother, making it easier for her to give up the child she is carrying.


A professional in any agency may become aware of the surrogacy arrangement and have concerns about:

  • The suitability of the intended parents to care for the child;
  • Conflict between the adults in a surrogacy arrangement e.g. that the surrogate mother is under pressure to relinquish the child against her will; and/or
  • Concerns around the amount of expenses being paid.

For example, hospital staff and midwives may become aware that a baby about to be born, or just born, is the product of a surrogacy arrangement and have grounds to doubt the commissioners’ identity / suitability to care for the baby, or the degree of voluntarism involved.


An unborn or new-born child in these circumstances could be at risk of physical and emotional abuse and/or neglect.


In these circumstances, any agency holding such concerns has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of the unborn or new-born child, and professionals should follow the Making a Referral Procedure to Children’s Social Care.


Children's Social Care responses should be proportionate to what are likely to be very individual circumstances and legal advice will probably be required.

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