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It is illegal to pay a UK surrogate, right?

View profile for Stephanie Bellchambers
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Wrong. UK surrogates do get paid and in many respects always have done. Whilst it is illegal for anyone to arrange surrogacy for profit, this does not apply to surrogates or intended parents. What this means is that surrogates and intended parents are free to agree anything they want about payments without breaking the law.

Historically, surrogates would have their expenses covered, which was often no small sum once loss of earning, medical care, child care and travel costs were taken account of.  “Expenses” were often paid as a lump sum with the actual costs rarely broken down in any detail. Payments of £10,000- £15,000 are common place, with some surrogates now charging up to £20,000.

Whilst paying a surrogate is not new or illegal, once the child is born the intended parents will need to apply to the court for a Parental Order to make them the legal parents. During the court proceedings the court must access and approve any payments that have been made. There have now been numerous cases where the court has approved payments that are more than “reasonable expenses”, particularly in cases that involved US surrogates. To date the court has never refused to make a parental order because of the payment made to the surrogate.  The court must consider the best interests of the child although payments that equate to more than expenses may certainly complicate the process.