California Dreaming

Mandie Mayes, Social Work Assistant at British Surrogacy Centre examines why more and more British gay couples are looking towards California to help them achieve their dreams of parenthood

Because of the economic and legal issues that we face in the UK, hundreds of couples are being forced to look overseas when considering surrogate motherhood, and California has become the number one most sought- after surrogacy destination.

There is no doubt that surrogacy has become one of the biggest trends in the well-established outsourcing relationship between the UK and USA. The British Surrogacy Centre celebrates its 99th baby conceived this week, and the demand for surrogate services is rapidly growing, with the majority of interest coming from the UK.

One reason for this is that California surrogacy has been legal for well over a decade. Those working within the field of surrogacy in California are therefore well aware of the problems that can arise when things go wrong or when cases go to court. They also, thankfully, have the most expertise when it comes to arranging a problem-free surrogacy. It’s true that the cost of having a child with a Californian-based surrogate is often higher than in some other places, but you can be asssured that everything will be done to create the baby you so greatly desire.

David and Simon, a couple from Manchester, had twin baby girls born to them via a surrogate in California. Explaining their own circumstances, they say: “Around seven years ago, we decided we would try to have a child through adoption, but we found the process aggressive and hard work. It seemed that every time we gave the social workers what they wanted, it was never enough and they wanted more. So, it didn’t happen for us. We had, without doubt, given up on the hope of having a child and decided call it a day. Suddenly, the world went surrogacy mad. Every time we picked up a paper or a magazine, there were people who had gone through or were going through the surrogacy process. That’s when we realised that if we wanted to have a baby and complete our family, surrogacy was going to be the best thing for us!”

The average cost of surrogacy in California is between $80-$130,000, depending on the egg donor chosen, and where the surrogate is based.

The surrogate mother gets between $23-$45,000 of this money. Egg donors range from $6-$50,000.

There are many ethical issues involved with surrogacy. It is true that many of the surrogates who take part in this process are generally from a lower socio-economic group than the people for whom they are bearing babies.

It could be argued that surrogacy facilitates the exploitation of women who are vulnerable due to their poor economic situation and, in some cases, their difficult living circumstances.

It is important to think about all aspects of surrogacy when you start the process. There is no point waiting until the last moment to sort things out with regards to legal arrangements. Such arrangements must all be confirmed and agreed before you start. Make sure you have everything in place. One place to start is the newly-published book, The Ultimate Guide to Surrogacy & Home Insemination, by the British Surrogacy Centre’s co-founder, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow.

If you want to chat to anyone at the British Surrogacy Centre about any of the issues mentioned in this feature, you can contact them via the website at or by calling 01621 878650.