The wonderful relationships of surrogacy (and how UK law should treat them better)

We wanted to share this letter, which was sent by a US surrogate for her UK intended parents as a surprise for their final parental order hearing. The judge read it aloud in court, prompting happy tears all round.  Although the message was sent as a private one, we asked the parents and the surrogate for their permission to share it, to help us show what a genuinely positive and beautiful experience surrogacy is for everyone involved:

“We understand today is a very important day in your lives! We wanted to be sure we had the chance to say how happy we are to be a part of it. When we started looking into surrogacy and being a part of such an amazing story, I don’t think either of us thought we would gain what we did. The friendship of such wonderful people and the blessing of watching this beautiful gift grow!

We cannot think of two more deserving people for your son to call Mum and Dad. Your kindness to us and the love we see with each picture you send is overwhelming. He is so lucky to have so many people around him that will love him and nurture him and watch him grow each and every day.

I struggle to put into words what this experience has meant to me. It’s a chapter in my life that makes me proud to have shared with my children and with anyone who listened to me share my story. I thank you for entrusting the life of your unborn son to me, it was one I did not take lightly.  Congratulations on this memorable day! He is here, he is healthy, he is happy and he is YOURS!

I feel like in a way, we have expanded our family by three. We love you all and wish we could be there today to hug you and throw a party!

Hugs to all of you!!

Unlike in the UK, the law in the USA recognised this surrogacy arrangement.  The surrogate and the parents signed a written agreement at the start (which set out who the parents would be and the compensation the surrogate would receive for her expenses and inconvenience), and this was ratified by a pre-birth court order made during the pregnancy.  With everyone’s agreement, the intended parents were then recorded on their son’s US birth certificate immediately he was born. 

At Brilliant Beginnings, we are campaigning for that to be possible in the UK too.  Where everyone agrees, there is no reason why a surrogate and her husband should be recorded on the UK birth certificate, and no reason to deal with the legal issues in hindsight.  We too should have a transparent upfront process of written agreements and pre-birth parental orders which resolve the legalities easily where there is no dispute. 

As this letter so clearly shows, surrogates are special individuals who are among the most altruistic and selfless people in the world.  They do not consider themselves to be giving away a child; they are carrying a baby for someone else, who they give back on birth.  The real experience of surrogacy arrangements in the UK and the USA is that surrogacy almost never ends in dispute, and far more commonly ends in a lifelong friendship. Legal recognition of surrogacy in the UK will honour that friendship, honour the altruism of surrogates, and support the much-wanted families created and the children born.  Surrogates deserve recognition for the part they play in helping to bring so much joy to people’s lives. And we think that recognition should include the support of UK law.