Guide for Male Couples: Surrogacy
If you’re a man in a same-sex relationship we can help you both have a family of your own through surrogacy.
There are two different types of surrogacy:
Gestational Surrogacy (Host surrogacy)
This involves the use of a donor egg, which we provide to you, which is then fertilised via IVF/ICSI with either your sperm or your partner’s – whichever of you is the intended biological father.
The resulting embryo is then transferred into your surrogate to grow and develop as in natural pregnancy. She carries the baby and gives birth, but she is not biologically related to the baby. At Manchester Fertility we have a strong egg donor programme and can provide donor eggs for your surrogacy treatment. These donor eggs have come from women already screened, who have donated to us altruistically or through our egg-sharing programme. You’ll be given detailed profiles of our donors, and can specify the characteristics you are looking for. We’ll then give you a choice of egg donors who are a possible match, all of our egg donors are from the UK and aged 18-35 to maximise egg quality.
You can also use donor sperm instead of your own, or your partner’s, which we can also provide to you with no waiting list.
Straight Surrogacy (Partial or Traditional Surrogacy)
This is where your surrogate uses her own eggs and also carries the baby for you. Sperm from you, or your partner, is used to fertilise her eggs and the embryo transferred back to her. The child is biologically your surrogate’s, and whomever the sperm belongs to – either you or your partner.
Again, you can use donor sperm if you wish to. Usually, fertilisation in cases of straight surrogacy is done via Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) timed for when your surrogate is ovulating, but this depends on the fertility status of your surrogate and the quality of the sperm used.
Sperm screening and safety
In surrogacy, your sperm, or that of your partner’s, is being used for a third party - the surrogate. As such, whoever is using his sperm for the treatment is treated the same way as a sperm donor. For the full protection of your surrogate, you’ll need to be fully screened and your sperm samples frozen then quarantined for a minimum period of 2 months. You then have a final re-screen, before your samples will be released from quarantine ready to use with your surrogate.
Finding a surrogate
You need to have found or be in the process of finding your own surrogate before approaching us for surrogacy treatment. In the UK it is illegal to advertise for a surrogate, but surrogacy organisation COTS (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy) has a Triangle scheme which introduces surrogates to couples. However there is no guarantee, as any decision to proceed is purely up to the surrogate herself. For more details on the scheme, visit Surrogacy.org.uk.
You can also find your own surrogate if you can – perhaps there is a family member or friend who would be willing to help you.
Payment to your surrogate is not allowed in the UK (unlike in some other countries) but reasonable receipted expenses may be reimbursed and could include travelling expenses, costs due to loss of earnings from time off work, maternity clothes, etc.
Legal parentage and advice
Under UK law the surrogate is always considered the legal mother of the baby, regardless of whether you have used her eggs, or that of a donor’s. If your surrogate is married, or in a civil partnership, her partner or husband will be considered the baby’s other legal parent.
If your surrogate is unmarried, then one of the intended parents – either you or your partner – will usually be considered the legal father at birth.
This can all be changed in court via a Parental Order. This is where all parental rights are transferred from the surrogate and her partner/husband, if she has one, to you and your partner. After the Order is granted, you’ll receive a new birth certificate with you and your partner’s names as the legal parents of your baby. You do not need to be civil partners to apply for a Parental Order, but you must be in a relationship.
We’ll give you all the relevant forms to complete when you undergo surrogacy treatment with us. But as surrogacy is a very complicated treatment with many legal issues to consider, it’s very important that you take the specialist legal advice also.
Our care and support for you
We’ve helped many same-sex male couples have a family through surrogacy, and our experienced team will guide and support you through the surrogacy treatment pathway. To ensure you feel involved in your treatment you are welcome to come to all appointments with your surrogate if this is agreed. You will be kept informed at every stage by our friendly team.
Our counsellors are highly-experienced in guiding people through surrogacy and if you undergo surrogacy treatment at Manchester Fertility you will be offered this support. It’s crucial that everyone understands the implications of surrogacy before proceeding with this form of treatment.
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