Surrogacy is used when a patient's uterus is either absent or unable to maintain a pregnancy, and a surrogate uterus is used to carry the pregnancy. Generally this procedure is used where a young patient has lost her uterus to cancer or to uncontrollable bleeding, e.g. post-partum haemorrhage or following a difficult myomectomy. The patient's own eggs are obtained as in an IVF cycle, fertilized by her partner's sperm and the resultant embryos replaced within the surrogate.
Counselling is obligatory for both the patients and the surrogate, and generally surrogates are women who have already had children themselves and are recruited either by the patients or through an organization such as COTS (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy).
Surrogacy is legal in the UK and the surrogate can be compensated for time lost away from employment during the pregnancy. However, the child's legal mother is the woman who delivers the child and therefore the patient and the husband have to undergo formal adoption procedures to become the legal parents of their genetic offspring which the surrogate has delivered.
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