Why Surrogacy through HFEA Licensed Fertility Clinics might be your safest option?
Recently, a UK court granted the custody of a child born from Surrogacy arrangement to the surrogate.
The commissioning couple identified the surrogate through Facebook. Then, they used an agreement from the internet to put the framework in place. The fertility treatment and embryo transfer took place at a clinic abroad. The treatment was successful and she was pregnant with twins.
She miscarried one of the twins but did not inform the commissioning couple about the ongoing pregnancy of the remaining viable twin. She started developing her doubts about the surrogacy arrangement soon after. In the best interest of the child, the court granted the custody to the surrogate and the visitation rights to the commissioning couple.
During the process, the protective measures that are in place through an HFEA-licensed Fertility clinic were avoided. This left everyone involved at different times in the whole process. A fertility treatment for surrogacy in the UK is a cumbersome and time-consuming arrangement. It is expensive as well. All Fertility treatments can only be undertaken legally through an HFEA licensed clinic. The clinics are rigorously inspected every few years for the renewal of their licence.
When undergoing surrogacy, the commissioning couple identifies their own surrogate. They will see a family solicitor and agree to the terms of the arrangement, such as expenses. The chosen fertility clinic will then screen the surrogate and her partner if she has one. Both the commissioning couple and the surrogate and her partner will go through a counselling session. The clinical and psychological screening is to ensure the well-being of the surrogate and the welfare of the unborn child.
By doing so, the process ensures that there is clarity in the arrangement and full understanding of the risks involved from the start of the treatment to the successful parental order application. In 2013, HFEA changed surrogacy consent forms . They allowed one of the commissioning couples to be the second parent of the child in certain specific situations.
This case also highlighted the experience of having fertility treatment abroad. The surrogate described her vulnerability at the IVF clinic abroad for a variety of reasons. Having treatment at an HFEA licensed fertility clinic in the UK avoids communication barriers. It also offers rights to surrogates.
The duty of care of a fertility specialist or fertility clinic is both towards the commissioning couple and the surrogate. The surrogate takes fully part in the decisions about her treatment protocol. Fertility specialists and the commissioning couple have to respect the surrogate’s decision about embryo transfer.
The surrogacy arrangement is not enforceable in UK courts in the case of a dispute about the arrangement between the involved sides. In relation to International surrogacy, it is also important to ensure the child can be legally brought into the country. Surrogacy laws differ from country to country and may not be legal in certain countries.
So, it is crucial you seek the relevant legal opinion from family solicitors. You need to understand the feasibility of being legal parents and to be able to safely and legally bring the child home. Obviously, this meticulous process increases the cost of the treatment and is also time-consuming. It can at times be frustrating.
In my opinion, there is a much needed the review of the surrogacy laws so that they are in alignment with the needs of patients. It is necessary to introduce more protection for everyone involved including the unborn child.