Surrogacy

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Miss Mid-City Miss Mid-City 2 days, 4 hours ago.

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  • #5790

    Listening to the whole potential surrogacy story, and the “Who will?” and “How?” has made me think about how it would /could work longterm.
    I had a friend who was a surrogate mother for a couple. We’ve consequently lost touch, alas, as she moved; but during her experience (or rather her family’s experience) , I was close enough to have many discussions.
    She was a happily married woman, with 3 children. All of her pregnancies had been uneventful. She and her husband decided to do this for a couple they had heard of, who were desperate for a baby.
    She offered her womb. (Not sure about the eggs ….) The conception phase was handled clinically, but with all four from the two partnerships there /involved, so that nobody felt threatened or left out. Surrogate and her husband also told their exsisting children, who were old enough to understand that the baby she was carrying belonged to the other couple.
    it was emotional, and tough at times, but through all of it, she remembered the gift she was giving to the other family, and she managed to emotionally cut herself off a little, seeing the baby she was carrying not as hers ….but theirs …the other couple’s.
    I remember her saying that it was important that the other couple lived far away, and weren’t in their usual social sphere, as she intended to relinquish all claims to the baby, and needed to keep a certain distance. (I don’t know how she heard of the other couple …I think it was through friends of friends …but it was a distant aquaintanceship)

    Throughout her pregnancy she would say “Not my baby, I’m carrying it ”
    The experience was successful, at least the last time I saw her (which was some 2 years after the surrogacy. ) No money changed hands (other than the couple paying for pregnancy care etc). She and her husband kept their marriage intact ; I think because of the distance they kept and the honest approach they had (their marriage was pretty solid, and had been for a number of years).
    If Ian and Adam choose a surrogate, it should be someone who is prepared to walk away once the baby arrives, and not get involved in day to day mothering . (I believe my friend kept barely in touch, checks in on birthdays with well wishes, but otherwise has no involvement with the child she carried) . So, Lexi would be a disaster (Her relationship with Roy is too new, her involvement too close) ….Pip’s baby? Tricky waters there! It needs to be a woman outside the village; even outside the County.

    Just my thoughts on how to make it work (Because I know the SWs are hanging on my every thought ……)

    #5791
    Miss Mid-City
    Miss Mid-City
    Participant

    What a great insightful post!

    I’m sure the scriptwriters will have taken advice and consulted lots of people with first hand experience of these issues – but in the end, they’re going to forgeo reality and give us pure, soapy drama.

    And the story will feature on “Women’s Hour”. And “PM”.

    And it will all be fairly neat and tidy (medically and emotionally) with no worries about the legal minefield they’re wading through.

    So then we’ll end up with a gurgling baby who becomes a silent child before becoming a rebellious teen. A playmate for baby Gid-e-Jack and Pip’s as-yet-unborn offspring … Lovely!

    #5798
    Andrew Horn
    Andrew Horn
    Moderator

    Thanks Fiona.

    I think the key point is “I remember her saying that it was important that the other couple lived far away, and weren’t in their usual social sphere, as she intended to relinquish all claims to the baby, and needed to keep a certain distance”. Hence Roifield’s stance on the show.

    I know one couple who have experience of surrogacy as the wife had previously lost her womb to cancer. They found the surrogate partner through an agency that will only work with couples that definitely cannot have children (not those who can use the IVF route). As with your friend the surrogate was the other end of the country and they were present for the birth and brought their little boy home. They’ve managed to keep communications open with the surrogate mother and do meet her occasionally. The little boy is now 6 and knows her role in his biological creation. Ironically surrogacy was not their first choice. They were on a list to adopt a child from China for 2 years and got nowhere, surrogacy proved much more straight forward in their case.

    #5802
    Roifield Brown
    Roifield Brown
    Keymaster

    As the others have said, great insight Fiona and it seems to chime with my stance, that this can only work if that the couple or surrogate lives far away from each other and weren’t in each other’s usual social sphere. Lexi would be a total disaster unless she moves back to Bulgaria, which is a possibility.

    #5805

    The more I think about it, the more supportive I become of the storyline. The most important issue is that Lexi is the carrier of the pregnancy and not the egg donor, which when you think about it, is really quite obvious. As Fiona quoted her friend, “It’s not my baby, I’m carrying it.” Lexi then has no parental claims, and unless she has an emotional disorder we’re unaware of that would lead her to claim some kinship with the baby, her being in the village hopefully will not lead to future awkwardness. She will always be the “lady who carried me before I was born” to the child and Lexi will always have a bond with the child, but I think in a good way.

    I did some research on line and found a website for guidelines for/recommendations to a potential surrogate in America. This is some of what it said:

    “The surrogate “is a citizen, legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States. If a surrogate is a legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, the surrogate must be able to provide documentation that is valid for at least 2 years.”

    I wonder if there is a similar rule in Britain. Would Lexi then qualify?? (Miss Mid-City-looking to you for this answer).

    Also of interest regarding Roy: “Has the support of her family. If married or partnered, the surrogate must have her partner’s support. Also, the surrogate and her partner/primary support person must agree to participate in a social work screening.”

    Here’s the website:http://www.circlesurrogacy.com/surrogates

    #5806
    Zoe Bojelian
    YorkshireLass
    Participant
    #5807

    Yorkshire Lass’s reference helped me understand why, as an American, I have been confused by the disorganization of the process for Ian and Adam.

    “Under UK law a surrogacy agreement is not recognised as a legally binding contract. UK law prohibits intended parents and surrogates from advertising…English law treats a surrogate mother (and her spouse or civil partner) as a surrogate born child’s legal parents (with parental responsibility) at birth.”

    In most American states there are clear laws covering surrogacy and I think that contracts are greatly encouraged, if not required, which also clarifies parentage before birth. I can understand why Adam and Ian would want to try to get a woman whom they know and trust well to be the surrogate because of the issue of the offspring’s parentage must be sorted after the birth.

    #5808

    Yes, the link from Yorkshire lass was enlightening. (thanks Yorkshire lass!!) Laws differ from State to State in America (Which still confuses this Brit, lo 30 years after arrival!!) . And laws governing children’s rights are hopelessly complicated over here; as I discovered recently when involved with a custody question that covered state lines.
    I was writing mostly on the emotional issues, as I have very little knowledge on legal matters. And with my friends, I knew their emotional journey, and little of their legal journey.
    I know that the way that my friend discovered the couple in want of help was through a church connection …(the couple went to a church where their Pastor knew the Pastor of the church where my friends attended.) ; And I also remember that formal adoption process happened after the baby was born. But, that was in Pennsylvania. So maybe no help to the storyline.
    As far as TA and the storyline, I am in agreement with Roifield; it needs to be someone we don’t know, someone who will be part of the story during the process, then mostly gone from the story.
    I had assumed that Lexi was brought into the village to be a new character /love interest for Roy and that therefore, her being the surrogate would not work …and Ian’s assumption that it would give Lexi more opportunity to be with Roy is nonsense! In fact, Lexi not being British would complicate things even more, I would’ve thought.
    I think Ian and Adams origianl plan, to connect with a group, and find a woman that is a distant aquaintance outside the village …..Does Ian not have any cousins? Second Cousins? Then the baby would be genetically linked to him and …..Must stop haing ideas, I’m not the SW ….
    On the other hand I DO hope that Ian and Adam are succesful. I want them to have a child that will challenge Brians’ horrible schemes for the farm (He has schemes; that Brian …)

    #5811
    Lady Barbarella
    Lady Barbarella
    Participant

    I think you absolutely hit the nail on the head, Miss Mid-City re: “And it will all be fairly neat and tidy (medically and emotionally) with no worries about the legal minefield they’re wading through.”

    I re-listened to Friday’s episode again and it struck me that Lexi was essentially asking Ian and Adam to top-up her salary so she didn’t have to work full time and could go to Bulgaria to see her children. This didn’t sit well with me and a small voice in the back of my head said this didn’t sound entirely legal. I rooted around Google and, sure enough, Surrogacy UK (www.surrogacyuk.org) have helpfully put together an easy-to-read 101 on surrogacy which says, inter alia: “The surrogate can only receive payment to cover the expenses that she has incurred in being pregnant for her intended parents”. So this proposed arrangement is already on shaky legal ground.

    I am surprised that neither Ian nor Adam sound like they’ve done even a modicum of the research that everyone on this forum has! I would have at least expected someone to have rung Usha for a quick chat about it by now – although maybe that’s in the pipeline (that said, it would be quite nice for Usha to have her own proper storyline again rather than just popping up to give legal advice. I don’t think we’ve seen her since R v Titchner and that was only fleeting!).

    I do heartily agree that Adam and Ian should have a child and I really hope they do but Lexi doesn’t seem like the best fit. With the Piplet, Gid-e-Jack, Henry and their older cousins, a sprog from Adam and Ian would really complete the next generation of little Archers who can grow up to panic about silege shortages.

    #5814
    Miss Mid-City
    Miss Mid-City
    Participant

    Just to go back to Witherspoon’s post and a couple of examples of where the UK legal framework is similar to the US and where it’s different …

    Regarding the issue of surrogacy and immigration, there are no specific legal requirements for British-based surrogate mothers as far as I’m aware – no requirement that she needs to be able to prove 2 years’ legal residence.

    However, like the situation in the US, there is a role for social services to become involved but as long as the intended parents propose to apply for a parental order, social services do not need to become involved unless there are significant welfare concerns.

    In “The Archers” there don’t appear to be too many problems concerning surrogacy and immigration.

    On the face of it the “commissioning couple” (Adam and Ian) are British and their surrogate (Lexi) is a Bulgarian national with the right to live and work in the UK stemming from her status as an EU citizen exercising Treaty rights. For the purposes of this post, I’m assuming Lexi is not married.

    (If she were currently married, that would make things more complicated. I can’t remember if we were told that she was never married or was divorced?!)

    So, if a child is born to Lexi with a donor egg and Adam’s sperm, Lexi will have carried and given birth without being genetically related to the child. Even so, in UK law Lexi will be the legal mother and Adam will be considered the legal father. Then it’s up to Adam and Ian to either obtain a parental order or adopt the child after its birth.

    Adam is British, so it’s likely that his genetic child can acquire British nationality – even if the child is born in Bulgaria – and therefore wouldn’t be subject to any immigration control as a British citizen.

    I agree with Witherspoon: the process seems “disorganised” to say the least!

    And like Lady Barbarella, it’s a bit troubling to me that Lexi seems to be seeking significant financial gain out all of this. There’s nothing wrong with expecting to be paid for allowable expenses – but it has to be “reasonable”.

    Secretly, I’m hoping she has a change of heart and backs out but having led Adam and Ian to believe she is the answer to their prayers, that now seems unlikely …

    • This reply was modified 2 days, 4 hours ago by Miss Mid-City Miss Mid-City.
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