Earlier this year ITV reported that there has been an increase in egg freezing with one fertility clinic in Cheshire seeing enquiries rise by a quarter, writes Victoria Maxwell, a Solicitor in our Forming Families team.
More women are freezing their eggs than ever before, with age being an important factor – with those under the age of 35 having a higher chance of a successful pregnancy.
The pandemic has had many unintended consequences. It has certainly given people plenty of time to re-evaluate their lives, something the Forming Families Foundation has also noticed, leading to an increase in enquiries.
Even with lockdowns and cross border travel restrictions limiting the opportunities for international surrogacy, fertility clinics report an increase in enquiries which is leading to many clinics and agencies being more flexible and being prepared to ship embryos abroad, rather than for the intended parents having to travel abroad for treatment.
Professor Geeta Nargund, Medical Director of Create Fertility, told ITV that COVID-19 has made people re-evaluate what they want from their future, “During this pandemic, women are reflecting on their lives and future and re-evaluating what really matters to them and their families.
“Women don’t want to lose out on biological motherhood. It has been difficult to date due to lockdown rules… and women want to protect their future fertility.”
Victoria Maxwell’s comment is that it is not just women who are finding themselves in this situation. Many single men or same sex couples have also found that the pandemic has expedited their desire to expand their family as many new clients have reported to her that it had them questioning their sense of purpose in life.
International clinics and agencies are working hard to be flexible and ensure that intended parents can still start their surrogacy journey despite travel restrictions, for instance, by facilitating the shipment of frozen embryos.
If you’re considering surrogacy it’s sensible to ensure you know where you stand legally, and seek professional advice if you have any questions. With international surrogacy, legal parentage is an important factor to understand. When the surrogate gives birth, she will be considered to be the legal mother under the eyes of the English court, regardless of the domestic law in the jurisdiction where the agreement took place.
The Forming Families team at Bishop & Sewell LLP can help with the legal parentage issues associated with international surrogacy and the immigration department can assist with how to bring your baby home. It is important that intended parents obtain the necessary advice from the outset, so they understand the legal implications and required steps they will have to take, before they embark on their journey.
The above is accurate as at 22 April 2021. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.