Families are complicated things. We’ve moved a long way past mixed race couples raising eyebrows in society. In the new modern family, ‘Who Do Think You Are?’ can be a much trickier question to answer. For beyond the ‘intended mother’ who will raise the child, there’s often a biological mum, and a ‘tummy mummy’ – two crucial people who your child may never meet.
For singles and couples who struggled for years with infertility, the combination of advanced IVF techniques and surrogate mums willing to ‘babysit’ a child for nine months is turning a dead-end into a new beginning. But navigating surrogacy pathways can be hugely difficult. How to find a surrogate? Can I cope with paying (or not paying) another woman to carry my baby? What countries allow paid surrogacy? What are the risks to beware of?
UK parents and surrogates who have been on such journeys tend to be passionate about educating and helping those who follow. Families Through Surrogacy was established by parents wanting to make a difference.
On a global level, the options are rapidly changing. Infertile couples frustrated at not being able to find a surrogate at home are starting to turn to Canada (apparently no shortage of altruistic surrogates), or for paid arrangements, Thailand, the USA, Eastern Europe and India. However India’s new requirement for surrogacy visas have blocked single and defacto couples, as well as those from European countries whose governments are refusing to issue these (eg Netherlands, Sweden & Denmark).
Undeterred, leading Indian clinics are nothing if not resourceful. More than a few are refusing to see their state-of-the-art surrogacy expertise go to waste and are about to announce new facilities in Kathmandu, Nepal. Why? Plenty of willing women eager for the good income. No surrogacy visas required.
Surrogacy in the Sky: Nepal soon to assist those locked out of India
The options above, the emotional journeys, the legal, financial and medical hurdles will all be discussed at Families Through Surrogacy’s unique upcoming UK conference, when 24 speakers (including surrogates and parents through surrogacy from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Canada and Spain as well as over a dozen experts) converge on Windsor to lead a talk-fest that aims to promote not only best practice but informed decision-making. If surrogacy is close to your heart, it might be an event you won’t want to miss.