Despite increasing altruistic surrogacy, a ground-breaking new study shows based on an audit of surrogacy providers globally shows the UK is now the second largest user nation of cross-border surrogacy amongst European nations and the eighth largest user globally. An estimated 10,000 singles and couples engage in agency-facilitated surrogacy globally each year. The US, Israel and China appear to be the largest user markets of surrogacy services
The two largest destinations for UK citizens are now the Ukraine & the US with around a third of UK citizens who engage offshore using each of these countries.
It is clear domestic surrogacy in the UK is not able to meet demand. With the closure of South-east Asian nations to surrogacy, perhaps it is not surprised how many UK citizens are engaging newer cost-effective options such as the Ukraine. Indeed the number of surrogacy providers in Ukraine has exploded in the last two years. Some are very good, but others have been damned by the media and parents alike.
Stacy Owen is one UK parent who recently returned from Kiev with twins after a long history of failed attempts at home. . Stacy is frank about her needs. “I looked into the UK surrogacy process (but) I didn’t want to have to form a relationship …..….. I didn’t want to be forced to be involved with the surrogate, although I remain in contact to this day.”
Stacy and her husband Simo had purchased an economy surrogacy package which gave them a room in a shared villa outside Kiev. It was like a ‘Baby Club’ boarding house, Stacy recalls, full of expectant parents – Chinese, Romanian, Spanish, Belgian.
“I cried for two days when I first arrived – it seemed in the middle of nowhere and the thought of living here alone when my husband left was daunting” Stacy admits. However the experience and meeting parents from around the world was ‘a wonderful one’.
Owing to tight restrictions from the UK government new mums like Stacy who engage in Ukraine or Georgia often need to wait three months before their newborns can be given travel documents. Yet for many this is a small price to pay.
Meanwhile organisations like COTS are doing a terrific job of supporting friendship based altruistic surrogacy in the UK.
Sarah Bentley became a mum with the help of COTS twice. After seven years of tragic losses Sarah was finally diagnosed with a rare medical condition which meant that she was unable to carry children herself.. She and her husband joined COTS and today they are the proud parents to two little boys aged 4 and 20 months
Stacy, Sarah and ten other parents will share their experiences at this month’s FTS seminar series in London, Edinburgh and Dublin which will address the changing landscape of surrogacy globally; help hopeful singles and couples understand how to navigate the complexities of surrogacy, including the legal and logistical issues. Full details here
Sam Everingham will also be speaking at the Fertility Show London along with taking part in World Fertility Day and will be available to answer your queries between 12 pm and 5 pm either in person or on the phone or social media. Read more here.