For years, the image I had of surrogacy was derived almost entirely from Friends. In 1998, at the height of the show’s popularity, there was a plotline in which Phoebe, she of the questionable life choices, offered to bear the child of her brother and his wife. After giving birth (to triplets, no less) Phoebe tried to keep one of the babies before tearfully, reluctantly having to say goodbye. At a time when surrogacy wasn’t prevalent in the UK, this idea that it was unorthodox and potentially traumatic took root – and asking around it seems I wasn’t alone.
Recently, however, surrogacy has re-emerged in the national conversation, this time as a perfectly normal option for couples who can’t otherwise have children. That might seem to have come out of nowhere, but the number of British parents having babies with surrogates – through the “traditional” method (artificial insemination) or the “gestational” method (the implantation of an in vitro embryo) – has been growing thanks to incremental amendments to the law.