In the wake of an increase in surrogacy arrangements, new guidance has been published for healthcare professionals. The guidance covers:
- the legal background;
- before the birth;
- birth planning; and
- after the birth
Contrary to popular myth, surrogacy is not illegal in the UK (although commercial surrogacy is). Caring for patients involved in surrogacy arrangements can raise issues for healthcare professionals as, whilst surrogacy is on the rise, it is still relatively uncommon. The best way to minimise the risk of confusion and dispute is for the surrogate and intended parents to complete a surrogacy agreement at an early stage in the process. Such arrangements will also help to guide healthcare professionals in the provision of care, particularly in more complex situations such as if the child is ill after birth.
A guide for intended parents and surrogates has also been published in tandem with the guidance for carers.
The actions and attitudes of healthcare staff can have a significant impact on the experiences of surrogates and IPs. Surrogates can be stigmatised and IPs have often been through distressing experiences before turning to surrogacy, so compassion, dignity and sensitivity are important. Perceived negative attitudes can cause particular stress or distress.