why selecting the right fertility clinic for your surrogacy journey is so important

Tracey Sainsbury

Tracey is a Fertility Counsellor at the Lister Fertility Clinic.

Through her years of experience supporting patients at the Clinic in Chelsea, Tracey has supported individuals and couples during their fertility journey and is an advocate of helping people prepare and understand how to navigate different aspects of their lives when considering fertility treatment.

Here Tracey shares her knowledge of surrogacy as a treatment plan.

Your surrogacy journey

Embracing surrogacy as a treatment plan can be both exhilarating and challenging. For couples and individuals embarking on this journey, choosing the right fertility clinic is a crucial first step, particularly as surrogate matching often takes place after embryos are created.

At the Lister Fertility Clinic, we have extensive experience in supporting intended parents, surrogates, and their partners, including known egg donors. Our dedicated staff work as a cohesive team, ensuring everyone involved is kept informed and engaged in treatment discussions. On top of medical and legal issues around surrogacy, there are often complex emotional journeys that all parties undertake. We are here to support you, no matter what you need.

A positive experience

Noah and Susan, parents through surrogacy, shared their experience with the Lister Fertility Clinic. They came to us to create embryos with the help of Susan's sister, their known egg donor. Throughout the process, we emphasised the availability of counselling to support all parties involved, which played a pivotal role in keeping them emotionally connected during the highs and lows of the journey.

"We came to Lister Fertility Clinic to create embryos with my sister, who was our known egg donor, and to get help with finding a surrogate. The clinic told us how useful a surrogacy organisation would be: they'd help with the legal aspects, make sure our parental order went through, and make sure we were all supported when 'we' were pregnant.
We were reminded counselling support was always available for any of us. It was the best suggestion ever as I feel it was the glue that held us all together."

An experienced surrogacy team

Having a clinic experienced in surrogacy is crucial, not only for UK-based journeys but also for cases where treatment is planned to take place overseas. One of the problems a clinic can help with, for example, is embryo transportation; it’s not possible to transport embryos to all destinations due to varying regulatory frameworks. Our highly experienced embryologists can provide expert guidance on shipping embryos to all destinations.

Caroline Spencer leads our counselling team at the Lister Fertility Clinic, and they work diligently with all parties to ensure everyone is aware of the ethical and social implications of surrogacy. While our team has a thorough understanding of the surrogacy legal framework, we emphasise the importance of seeking independent legal advice for all parties involved.

At the heart of our practice is the welfare of any child conceived through assisted conception. Therefore, we take a transparent and ethical approach to surrogacy, encouraging legally focused discussions to raise awareness of the significance of the surrogacy agreement. While the agreement is not legally binding, it can serve as evidence of the intentions at the time of conception in case any issues arise within the surrogacy team.

Counselling to support you throughout your fertility journey

Implications counselling, provided individually to intended parents, to surrogates, and their partners (if applicable) and in group appointments, provides a safe space for everyone to reflect on their journey thus far and ensure they are comfortable with their decisions moving forward.

Support counselling remains available to all individuals and couples within the team, including after the pregnancy is achieved. This support can be crucial, as sometimes unexpected emotions and challenges may arise during the surrogacy process. Similarly to her sister, Louise, known donor to Noah and Susan, found the counselling support beneficial.

"I was a known donor to my sister. My husband and I were so keen to donate my eggs as our family was complete and we want to help... they'll be amazing parents. When they got a surrogate though I felt external to the team.. I didn’t want to be a surrogate because I wasn’t sure I would manage, but then I really struggled when my sisters surrogate was pregnant... I felt very isolated. The open-door counselling service was so helpful in providing a space to feel supported, just for me."

Louise, known egg donor.

For many people like Louise, our open-door counselling service has proven invaluable in providing much-needed support and a space to express their feelings and concerns throughout the journey.

Intended parents and Surrogates

In addition to joy and excitement, intended parents may also experience a sense of loss as their pregnancy progresses, a sadness they are not able to carry themselves and/or a realisation of the lack of control over the pregnancy. The bond formed between intended parents and surrogates can be heart-warming yet emotionally challenging.

As a surrogate carries the pregnancy, they may experience a profound emotional attachment to the baby growing within them. However, they must also maintain their wider perspective and emotional attachment with their intended parents to ensure a smooth transition after birth.

Ada, a surrogate, shared her experience of returning to the clinic for a fertility check after her first surrogacy. "It was a while after I’d been a surrogate for the first time that I went back to the clinic for a fertility check, I had loved being pregnant, but carrying again made me question if my own family was complete. The tests showed potential, and it was suggested I meet with the counsellor. She was great in unpacking my decisions and questioned my end goals, it really helped understand the emotional impact of my journey. After meeting again this time with my partner, we decided I might be a surrogate again as our own family really is complete."

At the Lister Fertility Clinic, we welcome intended parents from all major surrogacy organisations in the UK, as well as those on independent journeys exploring surrogacy in the UK and/or overseas. We take pride in being the first step for anyone about to embark on their pathway to parenthood through surrogacy.

Lear more about our counselling services at the Lister Fertility Clinic