Surrogacy, a journey of hope and fulfillment for many, takes diverse forms in different countries. The UK and the US, two prominent destinations for surrogacy, present contrasting landscapes in terms of legislation, process, and cultural attitudes.
This comparative analysis delves further into the intricacies of surrogacy in these nations, highlighting critical aspects like parental rights, societal perspectives, and post-birth procedures.
Understanding these facets is essential for those embarking on this path, as each country’s unique approach significantly impacts the overall experience of surrogacy.
Surrogacy is a complex and life-changing process that offers hope to individuals and couples seeking to build their families. As the demand for surrogacy grows, international surrogacy centers play a vital role in facilitating surrogacy journeys across borders.
While in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) surrogacy is quite demanded, there are significant differences in how these countries approach and regulate the surrogacy process. This article aims to explore and compare the key aspects that make surrogacy journeys unique in the UK and the US:
- Surrogacy Legislation and Regulation
- Eligibility and Requirements for Intended Parents
- Matching Process and Surrogate Selection
- Compensation and Financial Considerations
The process of surrogacy can vary significantly depending on the country’s legislation and regulations. We will explore how surrogacy journeys differ between the UK and the US, two countries with distinct approaches to surrogacy.
Parental Rights and Legal Parenthood
One of the most critical differences between the UK and the US surrogacy journeys involves the legal recognition of parental rights.
Parental Rights in the UK:
In the UK, the surrogate is the legal mother of the child at birth, regardless of genetic relation. Intended parents must apply for a ‘parental order’ post-birth to transfer legal parenthood. This process can take several months, during which the surrogate holds legal responsibility for the child.
Parental Rights in the US:
Conversely, in many US states, intended parents can establish legal parenthood before the birth through pre-birth orders. This app
roach streamlines the process, granting immediate legal rights to the intended parents upon the child’s birth, often aligning more closely with the intentions of all parties involved.
Societal Perspectives and Support Systems
The social and cultural reception of surrogacy also varies between the UK and the US.
Societal Views in the UK:
In the UK, where commercial surrogacy is not permitted, there’s a strong emphasis on altruism. Surrogacy is often viewed as a generous act, and the community support for surrogates and intended parents is typically robust, with numerous non-profit organizations providing guidance and assistance.
Societal Views in the US:
In the US, where commercial surrogacy is more prevalent, it’s often viewed through a more transactional lens.
However, this does not diminish the empathy and respect for surrogates. The commercial aspect can sometimes lead to more professionalized services and support, with agencies offering comprehensive support to all parties involved.
Post-Birth Procedures and Support
After the birth of the child, the processes in the UK and the US diverge, affecting the experience of both surrogates and intended parents.
Post-Birth in the UK:
Following the birth in the UK, the focus is on legal transition of parenthood. During this time, support from agencies and legal professionals is vital. Additionally, ongoing counseling and psychological support are often recommended for both surrogates and intended parents.
Post-Birth in the US:
In the US, the legal transition is usually already settled, so the focus post-birth shifts to practical and emotional support. Agencies may provide resources for legal, medical, and emotional aspects, ensuring a smooth transition for the child into their new family.
Surrogacy Legislation and Regulation
In the UK, surrogacy is governed by the Surrogacy Act 1985 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. In contrast, the US has a more diverse and complex legal landscape for surrogacy.
Overview of Surrogacy Laws in the UK:
Under the law, commercial surrogacy in the UK is prohibited, and only altruistic surrogacy is permitted. This means that surrogates in the UK can receive reasonable expenses related to the pregnancy but cannot be financially compensated beyond that.
Overview of Surrogacy Laws in the US:
Surrogacy laws vary from state to state, with some states having clear and favorable legislation, while others have more restrictive regulations. Many states in the US allow commercial surrogacy, where surrogates can receive substantial compensation for their services, making it an attractive destination for international intended parents seeking surrogacy.
Eligibility and Requirements for Intended Parents
In the UK, intended parents must be at least 18 years old and be domiciled or habitually resident in the UK. In the US, eligibility criteria for intended parents can vary depending on the state and the surrogacy agency.
UK’s Criteria for Intended Parents:
In addition to the required age, prospective parents must also have a medical need for surrogacy, such as a medical condition that prevents them from carrying a pregnancy to term. Moreover, intended parents in the UK are required to undergo counseling and legal advice before entering into a surrogacy arrangement.
US Eligibility Criteria for Intended Parents:
Generally, intended parents in the US must be at least 18 years old, and some states may have additional age requirements. There is typically no requirement for intended parents to have a medical need for surrogacy, and international intended parents are also welcomed to pursue surrogacy in the US.
Matching Process and Surrogate Selection
In the UK, the matching process between intended parents and surrogates is often facilitated by surrogacy agencies or support organizations. In the US, surrogacy agencies play a crucial role in the selection process.
How Surrogate Matching is Facilitated in the UK:
Potential matches are typically based on mutual preferences, compatibility, and shared values. The process involves careful consideration and counseling to ensure a harmonious and successful surrogacy journey.
Surrogate Selection Process in the US:
Surrogacy agencies meticulously screen and evaluate potential surrogates based on various criteria, including physical health, mental well-being, and past pregnancy history. Intended parents can review surrogate profiles and choose a surrogate who aligns with their preferences and requirements.
Compensation and Financial Considerations
In the UK, surrogates are only allowed to receive reasonable expenses related to the surrogacy. In the US, surrogates are generally well compensated for their time, effort, and commitment to the surrogacy journey.
Compensation for Surrogates in the UK:
Such expenses as medical costs, travel expenses, and maternity clothing could be reimbursed. But commercial surrogacy, where surrogates receive financial compensation beyond reasonable expenses, is prohibited.
Compensation for Surrogates in the US:
Compensation varies depending on the state and the specific surrogacy agreement, but it often includes base compensation, additional allowances, and other benefits, making it an appealing option for many surrogates.
Surrogacy journeys in the UK and the US showcase the diverse approaches countries take to facilitate the process.
The UK prioritizes altruistic surrogacy and has strict regulations, while the US offers a more commercially driven surrogacy landscape with varying state laws. Intended parents and surrogates must carefully consider these differences to make informed decisions that align with their preferences and needs.
Regardless of the country, surrogacy continues to provide a transformative path to parenthood for countless individuals and couples worldwide.