Surrogacy and Other ART Methods in Great Britain

  • Infertility problem in Great Britain

Infertility problem is rather acute in Great Britain. According to statistics, the number of couples in the country who cannot conceive a child on their own is at around 15-17%.  Fortunately, the use of high-tech infertility treatment methods in Great Britain can assist many of them in that task.   Great Britain provides financial coverage for artificial insemination for its citizens (several cycles).   

  • Infertility treatment course with the use of the IVF method in clinics in Great Britain

If we try to determine the place where the first IVF medical centre originated, Great Britain will be an indisputable contender, for this is the birthplace of scientist Robert Edwards, the "father of IVF", who was rightfully awarded last year's Nobel Prize in medicine.  

Great Britain offers individuals, who will need to undergo procedures such as IVF and ICSI, to conduct preimplantation genetic diagnosis at a number of its clinics.  It also offers a number of other procedures that are conducive to the programme's success.  Artificial insemination has long been a recognized procedure in Great Britain: this procedure has been performed in Britain's medical centres for the past several decades and its effectiveness is fairly high.   

For British citizens, who require a procedure such as artificial insemination, Great Britain, via the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), offers financial coverage for three IVF cycles.  Nevertheless, whether or not a patient has the necessary medical indications to have the procedure performed at the government's expense, as well as the actual amount of financial coverage is determined by representatives from the local health authorities.  Age limit (40 years) is included in the guidelines.  Indications for infertility treatment using ART methods in Great Britain include inability to get pregnant for a period of three years of sexual activity without the use of contraceptives, when the causes of such inability have been discovered in the course of a medical examination, as well as idiopathic infertility.       

Egg donorship is permitted in Great Britain, but until recently the amount of compensation given to an oocyte donor came to a maximum of 250 pounds sterling.  And it was only in October of 2011 during a meeting of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that a decision was reached to triple the amount of compensation payable through the egg donorship programme.   

  • Surrogacy in Great Britain

As far as the question of the possibility of using the surrogacy method, it all depends on a specific country, because the conditions are significantly different in different parts of the world.   
Generally speaking, all countries can be subdivided into those where:

  • surrogacy is permitted and regulated on the basis of a legislation;

  • surrogacy is not regulated legislatively, but is not prohibited either;

  • surrogacy is prohibited.

Surrogacy can be used as an option for infertility treatment only on a nonprofit basis, as it is done in Holland, Spain and Canada, for example.

Under the law, in Great Britain, surrogacy can also be performed only free of charge.  A contract with a surrogate mother in Great Britain does not involve any compensation apart from reimbursement for running expenses. 

This is one of the surrogacy problems in Great Britain, for it is obvious that only someone who is very close to the woman (her friend or relative) would agree to carry to term and give birth to someone else's genetic child without compensation.   Because of that, many couples have to turn to surrogacy agencies abroad, where services of a surrogate mother on a commercial basis are permitted and are regulated on a legislative basis.  This allows the citizens of Great Britain to enter into a contract with a surrogate mother, whose terms will be observed in full accordance with the provisions of the law.   This is the only way to guarantee that the rights of a surrogate mother as well as of genetic parents will be upheld.