The last decade has seen a huge increase in gay men creating families through surrogacy.
Once restricted to fairly expensive USA options, recent years have seen parents-to-be working with surrogates here in the UK, as well as India, Thailand and Eastern Europe – sometimes running into legal complications in the process.
Last year, the Baby Gammy scandal highlighted some of the complications involved with overseas surrogacy. An Australian couple had used a Thai surrogate mother to bear children, but decided to only take one of the children; a daughter. A son, with Down’s Syndrome, was left behind in Thailand.
Thai authorities acted swiftly to clamp down on the unregulated surrogacy business taking place in the country – causing huge problems for some couples who were already involved with Thai-based surrogates.
To those caught up in the confusion, the case was one of many to emphasize the importance of thorough education, communication and connection. One outcome has been greater enthusiasm amongst intended parents to locate a surrogate closer to home.
Another has been the importance of carrying out full and thorough research when setting out on your surrogacy journey.
The Baby Gammy situation not only highlights the risks hopeful parents take, but the speed at which legislation around surrogacy can change. India and Thailand have now joined Eastern Europe in being closed to gay men as a surrogacy option.
However, new possibilities have already opened up in Nepal and Mexico. Last year the Nepalese government quietly approved legislation to give legal recognition to intended gay parents. Three operators already have on-the-ground staff and support services in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.
Families Through Surrogacy’s annual UK/EU consumer conference take place on 21 March in London at the Strand Palace Hotel. The event will focus on US and UK surrogacy options, with leading practitioners from the US East and West Coast addressing tough questions about costs, insurance and legalities.
According to US lawyer Steve Snyder, US surrogacy doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. An advocate for affordable surrogacy, he’ll speak on this topic.
Gay dads from the UK and mainland Europe will talk about their own experiences in the US, UK, as well as Nepal. For the first time, there will be sessions from parents and providers regarding Nepal and Mexico, and a talk by a representative from Her Majesty’s Passports Office.
Amongst the 17 sessions, further highlights will include a panel discussion featuring UK and US surrogates on how to successfully match yourselves with a surrogate; and what motivates them to carry.
Tickets are £45 each, including lunch and evening drinks. More information at familiesthrusurrogacy.com/uk