Bringing surrogacy home – the Agora Clinic leads the way

Located in the heart of Brighton, the Agora Fertility Clinic prides itself on a long and close relationship with the LGBT community

As part of that commitment, the clinic’s founder and director, Carole Gilling Smith, has made it her mission to ‘bring surrogacy home’ for gay men who want to become fathers.

Michael Johnson-Ellis, founder of Two Dads and his husband Wes, are also determined to normalise same-sex parenting for gay men and reassure others that there’s no longer any reason to go abroad to have a baby. Proud parents of a two-year old daughter, the couple are expecting their second baby in August this year.

Carole and Michael will host the clinic’s first Gay Surrogacy Open Evening on Friday, February 22 from 5pm.

At this free educational event, they will explore the opportunities for men in same-sex relationships to become fathers through surrogacy and offering support and advice on what’s involved.

Until recently, it’s been difficult for same-sex couples to find surrogates in the UK, where the legal framework for intended parents can be complex. For many, the only option has been to look abroad, including in the US where commercial surrogacy is legal. However, this has involved practical and financial challenges.

Thankfully, over the last few years, the whole process has become more straightforward and there is now no need to look abroad in order to become a parent.

Carole said: “I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to realise their dreams of having a family. At the Agora, we want to empower gay men with the same freedom of reproductive choices that, so far, have only been accessible to straight couples and single or lesbian women. Last year, we saw our first gay couples come through for treatment and were astonished to learn just how little information there is out there to guide them on their journey. Many still believe their only option is to travel to the US for treatment.

“We’re really excited to be working with Michael to help bring surrogacy home through educational evenings like this one and other events that can inform and reassure. Our mission is to help every gay man who wants to become a father embark on the most amazing journey he will ever make.”

During the evening, Carole will talk about the various different options gay men can consider to conceive their biological child, as well as the journey from there to birth.

Michael will be sharing his personal experience of the surrogacy journey and how he’s working with the Agora to support intended fathers. He said: “Surrogacy in the UK is incredibly accessible and straightforward. I hope that by sharing my story and offering support and advice to other men in the same situation, it will help them to feel positive about taking the next step.”

Michael and Carole will be joined by Bethan Carr, a solicitor who specialises in family law and in particular surrogacy. She has recently written an article in the Times on the subject as well as appearing on BBC1’s The Big Question which discussed surrogacy in the UK. She will help explain some of the legal aspects involved.

For more information, or to reserve a place at the Open Evening, contact admin@agoraclinic.co.uk or call 01273 229410.

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