Surrogacy, UK

UK – Commercial surrogacy: lifting legal restrictions is the moral thing to do to help people trying to have babies

Source The Conversation

When it comes to the controversial issue of surrogate motherhood – and, in particular, payment for such services – the law in the UK needs to be reviewed. So says Sir James Munby, the most senior judge in the Family Division in England and Wales until his retirement in 2017.

Many others including myself have been arguing this for years. It is a commonly held view – often repeated in the media – that commercial surrogate motherhood is illegal and that payment to a surrogate mother is a criminal offence. This is not the case.

Under the Surrogacy Arrangements Act (1985), it is not illegal for a couple to pay a surrogate to carry a baby for them and it is not illegal for the mother to accept payment. However, it is illegal for any other person to take or offer money in relation to surrogate motherhood.

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IVF costs, UK

UK – Two-thirds of fertility patients feel ripped off by IVF clinics

Source Bio News

Sixty-two percent of private IVF patients paid ‘more than they expected’ for treatment, according to the first national patient survey by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

The UK fertility regulator released annual statistics showing that 60 percent of IVF cycles are now privately funded and that 74 percent of patients over the past two years paid for one or more ‘add-on’ treatments, up from 66 percent in the previous two years.

‘Patients often feel pressure to opt for add-ons and many are understandably keen to explore every option to improve their chances of having a baby, but such treatments should only be offered where there is proof they work’ said the HFEA’s Chair, Sally Cheshire.

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UK – You shouldn’t have to move to Scotland to get the IVF you need to have a baby

Source Metro UK

Mark* has known since he was a teenager that becoming a father would not be straightforward.

At 16, he was diagnosed with leukaemia and treatment for this left him infertile. Luckily though, he was able to store sperm before he began his cancer treatment – giving him the hope of fatherhood in the future. However, despite his clinical need, Mark is being denied access to NHS fertility treatment because the body that plans and controls health care services where he lives – West Sussex – sets its own arbitrary criteria for who can and can’t access it.

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – I’m trying for sweet 16! Surrogate mother, 52, vows baby number 15 will not be her last 

Source Daily Mail

Carole Horlock had said baby number 15 would be her last.

But at 52, Britain’s most prolific surrogate mother is hoping to have her 16th.

She is currently looking for couples or single mothers and aims to become pregnant early in the new year.

If successful, Miss Horlock will give birth just before her 53rd birthday – making her the world’s oldest commercial surrogate.

She said: ‘I’m determined to get pregnant one last time with a surrogate baby and I’m actively searching for a couple or single mother to help.

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IVF, Side Effects, UK

UK – One woman a week suffers a deadly IVF side effect: Ovary stimulation syndrome hits a seven-year high as hopeful mothers battle kidney failure, blood clots and breathing problems

Source Daily Mail

Severe illness caused by powerful IVF drugs has hit a seven-year high, with almost 800 women rushed to hospital in the last five years.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS, causes women’s ovaries to expand dangerously and in severe cases can leave victims fighting to breathe with blood clots in their lungs. 

A new report from a fertility regulator reveals 52 women were diagnosed with severe or critical OHSS in 2017-18.
The statistics raise concern that fertility clinics are giving women high doses of drugs to boost their ovaries so they produce more than the normal one egg a month.

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Surrogacy, UK

Legal system may lead many UK parents abroad to find a surrogate

Source Eurek Alert

As more and more parents travel overseas to find a surrogate, a new study published in Human Fertility is the first to compare the experiences of those who carry out surrogacy in the UK with those who go abroad. The research highlights important problems faced by parents, which could influence UK surrogacy law.
A new study is the first to compare the experiences of people who have carried out surrogacy in the UK with those who go overseas, for example, to countries such as USA, India and Georgia. The research, led by Dr Vasanti Jadva at the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, in collaboration with NGA Law and Brilliant Beginnings, surveyed over 200 people who had either already had a child through a surrogate, were in the process, or were planning a surrogacy arrangement.

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sister surrogate mother, UK

UK – SISTER SURROGATE  Woman acting as a surrogate for her sister reveals her children ‘hate’ her for carrying a baby ‘because it’s not their sibling’

Source The Sun

A WOMAN acting as a surrogate for her sister has claimed her three children “hate” her for carrying a baby that’s not their sibling.

Writing in the Parenting forum on Reddit, the user Kelsey_Hyl revealed how her sister suffered a prolapsed uterus after the birth of her first child.

Describing her sister’s heartbreak, the user wrote: “She had to have prolapse surgery to remove her womb [after childbirth] which meant she couldn’t have any more children.”

The mum-of-three described how her sister was left “devastated” by the news and fell into a depression afterwards.

A year after her sister’s surgery, the woman offered to carry a baby for her and added that her sibling was “thrilled with the idea and fully on board with it”.

Now carrying her sister’s second child, the woman admitted that her husband wasn’t so keen on the idea at first but said “if it’s what [she] wanted to do then so be it”.

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – Surrogacy isn’t about money. But the law must change to benefit women

Source The Guardian

One of the UK’s most senior family judges, James Munby, has called for the UK to relax the rules against paying surrogates. His comments are spot-on: the law needs to catch up with the realities of modern surrogacy.

For decades it has been customary in the UK for surrogates to be paid between £12,000 and £20,000. Having handled hundreds of UK surrogacy cases (not just complex and international surrogacy cases, but also routine, everyday UK cases), I have seen only a small minority where there has been no element of benefit or compensation. The family court now routinely authorises payments to surrogates of more than their expenses, both explicitly in the high court and implicitly in the magistrates’ court, where sums are accepted at face value. The case law makes clear that payments will always be authorised after the event where this is in the child’s best interests. There has never been a case where an order transferring parenthood has been refused.

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – Let women be paid to be surrogate mums, says top family judge as he insists it is fine to become a mother in your 60s

Source Daily Mail

Britain should lift the ban on payments to surrogate mothers, the former head of the family court has told The Mail on Sunday.

In a wide-ranging interview, Sir James Munby also defended the right of women in their 50s and 60s to have children because ‘today’s 60 is like yesterday’s 40’. And reflecting on dramatic changes in society, he spoke of how those who have ‘gone down the surrogacy or same-sex marriage route’ are no longer treated as ‘people with horns’.

Sir James, the most senior family court judge in England and Wales before his retirement in July, said serious consideration should be given to abolishing restrictions on commercial surrogacy.

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – Surrogacy and me: Hey doctor, please don’t frighten our ‘angel’

Source The Times

An email! From the fertility doctor!
Subject: “Potential Surrogate.”

Potential? Still? There are several P words that I would like in this scenario; “progress”, “positive”. “proceed”, “pregnant”. Potential is not one of them.
Message: “Pelvic sonogram showed left ovarian cyst. In 4-5 weeks she should repeat another sonogram and the cyst needs to be gone or significantly decreased before we can give her clearance to proceed as a surrogate. Thank you.”

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – Giving birth to another child could have left her in a wheelchair – so woman’s friend had her baby

Source Metro

A mum has revealed how she let another woman give birth to her second child because another pregnancy could have left her in a wheelchair.

Kelly Bullock, 33, from Warrington, Cheshire, and her husband Paul, 34, welcomed Riley to their family six months ago.

Back in 2013, Kelly gave birth to Brody, now five, but she developed a condition called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) during pregnancy.

Despite operations to help her walk again, doctors said that another pregnancy would cause further damage to her pelvis.

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Employee Benefits, Law, UK

UK – What it is like coping with IVF at work – and how employment law is failing women trying to conceive

Source Metro

It’s a Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting in a meeting with a colleague.

He’s telling me about the complex technology used by one of our new clients. Something about data stacks.

I’m nodding along but there are tears running down my cheeks, dropping silently on to my notebook.

‘I’m fine honestly,’ I say when he looks at me startled, thinking he has bored me to tears. ‘Please keep going.’

I’d got my period that morning. And that time, I’d fallen hook, line, and sinker for the dream. At a week late, I had thought I was finally pregnant. I’d even noticed some of the early symptoms everyone talks about.

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UK – When you’re desperate to conceive, you’ll pay anything, and IVF clinics are cashing in

Source The Times

Nearly 2½ years after my husband and I began trying for a baby, our luck came in. The faintest of blue lines appeared on those deeply unscientific-looking pee-test sticks at 5.30am one summer’s morn last year. We had finally managed to get pregnant. I write “finally” with the bleak awareness that this moment takes a great deal longer for some people and never happens at all for others. But for us it had felt like an eternity.

At first I refused to believe it — not because we had been trying for years but because I never thought IVF would work. And definitely not the first time. But it did.

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Surrogate Mother, UK

UK – Surrogate mothers could be allowed to charge cash

Source The Times

Legal reformers are looking at whether to change the law so that surrogates can profit from having babies for others.

The Law Commission is consulting on the subject and is to publish proposals in the new year. Sir Nicholas Green, chairman of the independent body, said that the existing laws, which were drawn up more than 30 years ago, were not fit for purpose.

Surrogacy, he said, had increased ten fold in ten years. The main problem was that the law was “quite cumbersome” and often required people to go abroad.

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Brexit, UK, Sperm Donor

UK – A Shortage of Sperm Donors: The Brexit Dilemma We Didn’t See Coming

Source Huffington Post UK

Every year, around 2,500 men and women in the UK have a baby with the help of a sperm donor. For many, using donated sperm is their one chance to fulfil the dream of having a family. But while the number of women using donated sperm is rising every year, the number of willing British donors remains low. 

This is why the UK relies heavily on foreign sperm – recent figures show 3,000 sperm samples from Denmark alone were imported to the UK in 2017. But like all imports, these could be affected by Brexit next March if these thousands of samples are held at the border, unaccounted for by trade agreements. 

Is this the hard Brexit dilemma we didn’t see coming? And if British men don’t step up and donate, will we see a drop in the number of babies born in the UK by sperm donor? 

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UK – Couple who spent £20,000 on IVF treatment before shelling out another £7,000 on ‘add-ons to boost their chances of a baby’ become first in the UK to sue over the ‘worthless and unproven’ extras

Source Daily Mail

Legal secretary Tracy Wint underwent two years of unsuccessful IVF treatment, spending more than £20,000 in her desperation to have a second child with her husband Mark.

During that time she claims Oxford Fertility convinced her and her husband to fork out an extra £7,000 for add-ons doctors said would boost their chances of having a baby. However, the pair now believe they were ‘worthless’.

Couples are often persuaded by private doctors to buy expensive top-up procedures such as ‘glue’ to stick embryos to the womb, or genetic tests to screen for abnormalities.

But a report last year by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said many such treatments have no scientific basis, are dangerous, and could even harm a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Mrs Wint, 41, said: ‘We feel like we’ve paid out thousands for add-ons that are not proven to work and carry health risks. We were desperate. If they had said they could sprinkle fairy dust and it will make you pregnant we would have bought it.’

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Surrogacy, UK

UK – Surrogacy and me: Progress! The gods must be smiling

Source The Times

We’ve spent an inappropriately annoying amount of time trying and failing to understand how insurance works in America. Annual deductibles? Anyone? It’s the amount you pay each plan year before the . . . Anyone? Anyone? Before the insurance company starts paying its share of the costs. Anyone? Nope, us neither.

We reach out to our agency to help to decipher the US code, but the responses are almost as confusing.

One thing they are keen for us to understand in detail, though, is WhatsApp.

“Oh, it’s this cool thing where you can talk to each other across the Pond, but using wifi so you don’t have to pay!”

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UK – Our Parliament needs to act and protect women undergoing IVF 

Source Telegraph

From the Women’s March to #MeToo, women all over the world are lifting their voices to demand that their bodies are respected.

So, the fact that there is still at least one fundamental area in which UK law does not properly protect women is a shocking revelation.

In the UK today 68,000 cycles of IVF are carried out every year. Since the first IVF baby was born 40 years ago, the field of reproductive medicine has exploded, and more than 300,000 babies have now been born in the UK thanks to fertility treatment.

It has transformed lives: for heterosexual couples, same-sex couples and single women who wish to have a family.

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Women in the UK are being refused IVF when they hit 34

Source Quartz

Women who need IVF in order to conceive a child are being denied it from as young as 34 in some areas of the UK because of their age, even though government guidelines stipulate that it be available free up until the age of 42.

In the UK, fertility treatments including IVF have been available since 2004 through the National Health Service (NHS), a tax-funded institution which ensures critical UK healthcare is free at the point of delivery. But the NHS is massively under-funded, meaning local authorities have had to decide which non life-saving treatments to cut.

Guidelines say that women under the age of 40 should be offered three complete cycles of IVF for free, with one cycle offered for women from 40 to 42. But some local authorities have stopped offering IVF completely and others have begun instituting an age cut-off for women. The practice, revealed by a BBC investigation, surprised many would-be mothers who didn’t realize there was any such rule until they went for treatment. Since the decisions vary geographically, they arbitrarily tie women’s fertility to where they live.

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The Stork Home Conception Device, UK

UK – The £100 fertility kit that spared a couple the misery of IVF: Woman with blocked fallopian tubes conceives naturally after three years of trying

Source Daily Mail

A couple who’d given up hope of ever conceiving naturally have spoken of their joy after a £100 fertility kit gave them the ‘miracle’ baby they’d been longing for.

Sarah Capps, 33, and her husband Rob, 36, from Bishop’s Itchington, Warwickshire, had spent almost three years trying, with no success.

The couple were told their best hope of having a child was through IVF after tests eventually revealed Mrs Capps had a blocked fallopian tube. 

While they were eligible for treatment on the NHS, Mrs Capps was concerned about the invasiveness of the treatment and the side-effects of fertility drugs, which can include hot flushes, nausea and weight gain.

But in the end, there was no need for IVF.

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