Increasing numbers of people are using surrogacy, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg and sperm donation to build families and many will cross borders in the process. People now have more choice than ever before about the creation of their family and this is changing the character and identity of family life and parenting in the UK.
Growing numbers of people are choosing to cross borders to access reproductive treatment, motivated by cost considerations, greater availability of donor eggs and sperm abroad and permissive legislation which in some foreign destinations endorses surrogacy on a commercial basis.
Families created through surrogacy, donor conception and fertility treatment have a unique family history and identity all of their own. Parents have often struggled hard to achieve their much wanted families and many will become parents later in life, often against a backdrop of unsuccessful treatment, unexplained infertility and miscarriage. Increasing numbers of families created in these ways will also involve known donors, co-parenting arrangements and solo mothers.
Fertility treatment and family building raises all manner of legal issues, including immigration and citizenship considerations, donor information rights, acquisition of parental status and the need for carefully crafted parenting plans and agreements for those families involving known donors and co-parents.