Updated: Jan 23, 2021
My surrogacy journey began in 2014 at the grand old age of 27. I had recently come out to my friends and family and I was afraid that this would mean I would never be a father. I’m not exactly sure who or what brought surrogacy to my attention. However, on researching the topic, there was a smorgasbord of information available.
Should I go abroad? Should I stay in the UK? What are the pros and cons of both systems? I soon came to understand that surrogacy abroad could have its benefits in the form of legal protections or rights of "ownership" of a child. Take the USA, for example. Commercial surrogacy is legal in many states, in which legal contracts can be drawn up between IP's (Intended Parents) and Surrogates. This would mean that, at the end of the process, the child/children born through surrogacy would legally belong to the IP(s). Thus removing any concern of the surrogate wanting to keep the child. But the cons greatly outweighed the pros - well, for me at least. Commercial surrogacy abroad is not cheap! Bills can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Despite not knowing the full details of foreign surrogacy at the time, the whole contractual ethos, whilst providing reassurance, did not make me feel comfortable with the practice. The choice was clear. Save a lottery win, my surrogacy journey would take place in the UK.
I was quickly drawn to Surrogacy UK. The ethos of altruistic surrogacy really did chime with my own values. Parenthood through friendship had a more natural feel to it. So, where do I sign up? The website was easy to navigate and full of useful information. I soon identified how to become a member and proceeded to download the application form. However, it became clear quite quickly that, as a single man, this process was not available to me.
At the time, It was not possible to apply for a parental order as a single person. This did not mean that I was unable to start a family through surrogacy. What this did mean was, at birth, I would not be able to register as the child’s father - unless the surrogate was single. Soon after, I began what would become a 5-year relationship, and as such, I put the surrogacy dream to one side - well, in a manilla folder labeled "Surrogacy" on the top shelf in the study. The dream was not over, just on-hold...for now.
Until next time, keeping the Dad dream alive!
Read more from my Dad.Be blog here
Follow me on Instagram @stephens_surrogacy_adventure