Some mothers have much to give but so much to lose
- By: Diana Jolliffe, Sarah Videlo
“I do hope you don’t mind,” my obstetric colleague told me, “but I have said that all the parents may attend the caesarean section.”
The patient was a healthy, happily married woman who was expecting twins. She enjoyed being pregnant and her own three children had been easy deliveries. Having completed her family she wanted to help childless couples and had considered becoming an egg donor; then she learnt about surrogacy. Her fourth baby was delivered at home as planned and was for another couple. This pregnancy was a surrogate one—hence the two extra people in theatre and my need for an urgent tutorial on surrogacy.
In a surrogacy arrangement a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for someone else (the intended parents) and hand over the baby at birth.1 The arrangement may have an altruistic or commercial basis. In the United Kingdom, altruistic surrogacy—where there