Category: IVF & Assisted Conception

What’s All The Fuss? Celebrating National Surrogacy Week

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National surrogacy week runs from 1st – 7th August this year and we want to give you an opportunity to learn more about it.

This is a topic that can be surrounded by a lot of stigma. People may not understand the need for surrogates or may be under the impression that it is strange or shameful. But surrogacy is actually a very common procedure, and more and more people are using it every year.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the meaning behind the term, why someone might need it, and how it works. We’ll also break down some of the myths surrounding surrogacy and allow you to continue the conversation around this important topic.

national breastfeeding week

What Is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is an arrangement between intended parents and someone with a uterus who agrees to carry a baby for them. This person is known as the surrogate. People can choose between traditional or gestational methods.


This involves the surrogate being artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. (This would also make the surrogate the baby’s biological mother as it is their egg being fertilised.) They will then carry the foetus to term and deliver it for the intended parents to raise.


This is slightly different because an embryo is implanted using ‘in vitro fertilisation’ or IVF as it is more commonly known. The mother’s (or egg donor’s) eggs are fertilised with sperm from the father (or sperm donor) and placed into the uterus of a surrogate. The surrogate has no biological connection to the baby but will carry and deliver it for the parents.

Why Use A Surrogate?

A large part of national surrogacy week is understanding the reasons why someone might choose to go down this route. It’s still hugely misunderstood by many people and we do not see much information surrounding it in mainstream media.


This is a huge barrier that leads many to choose a surrogate. Whether it’s low sperm count, endometriosis or ectopic pregnancy causing infertility – surrogacy removes a large part of the issue as well as some of the risks associated with miscarriage.


By the time we hit menopause, the chances of falling pregnant reduce significantly. A large proportion of people who want to conceive at this age use younger surrogates as they are unable to fall pregnant or carry to term to due their age.

Same-Sex Couples

Another important aspect of National Surrogacy Week is celebrating the ability of all couples to conceive – regardless of sexuality or situation. Without the opportunity of conceiving naturally, this method has gained real popularity amongst the LGBT community.

It also allows at least one of the intended parents to share biological relations with the child if they would like to and are able to do so.


There are certain types of medication that can have severe side effects on a developing foetus. This would obviously be a huge risk to take if you desperately wanted children but surrogacy gives you the chance to avoid this completely. Similarly, asking someone to come off of their medication for nine months could be detrimental to their own health. It’s not always an option for people with chronic or long-standing conditions.

Personal Choice

This is not an exhaustive list of reasons people may choose to use a surrogate, but one people often forget is that the individual or couple would simply prefer to conceive this way. Infertility and health are not always the main reason for doing so. Whether it is to maintain their physique or continue working hard at their career, surrogacy is an option that everyone can consider.

Myths Surrounding Surrogacy

Now that we know a bit more about surrogacy, let’s dispel some of the myths that surround it.

“It’s So Expensive”

This is one of the most common things people say when they find out about surrogacy. Yes, it can be expensive and it’s currently not available on the NHS. However, there are many ways to finance it – whether through savings, loans or even crowdfunding.

It is currently against the law to pay the surrogate for their service, however, it’s perfectly legal to pay for all reasonable expenses along the way. This may include travel costs, loss of earnings, reimbursements or physical/physiological treatments.

It can also be cheaper to conceive via traditional surrogacy as you will not need to undergo fertility treatment of gestational methods.

“The Surrogate Will Be Attached To The Baby”

Whilst it is true that carrying a baby for nine months will create a bond between them, this doesn’t mean the surrogate will want to keep the child. In fact, most surrogates are mothers themselves and understand how difficult it must be to go through life not knowing if you’ll be able to have a child of your own.

It’s important to remember that the surrogate is carrying the baby for you and wants what’s best for you and your family. They will have no legal rights over the child once it is born. Part of national surrogacy week is remembering that surrogates are incredible people doing a very selfless thing for the intended parents – they do not always have ill intentions as we may see in films or TV shows.

national breastfeeding week

“It’s So risky”

As with anything in life, there are risks associated with surrogacy. However, most of these can be mitigated by working with a reputable agency or fertility clinic.

The risks to the surrogate are usually minimal as they will undergo the same health screenings as anyone else who is pregnant. The main concern is usually to do with their mental health and emotional well-being – something that national surrogacy week and professional healthcare providers hope to address.

“You Won’t Be Able To Bond With The Baby”

This couldn’t be further from the truth! You would have been  involved in every step of the pregnancy and will likely have a very close relationship with the surrogate.

After the baby is born, you will be able to spend as much time with them as you like and you may even be able to stay in the hospital room with the surrogate and baby if you wish.

How To Start The Process

Many people turn to friends and family. This is a great option as you already have a fantastic relationship built on trust. However, if this isn’t an option for you it will take some research to ensure you find the right surrogate for you.

Unfortunately, we do not offer the service at our clinic but there are plenty of organisations that can offer advice, resources and contacts.

You’ll be asked to decide a few things that will determine how the pregnancy moves forwards. Having an idea beforehand can make this less daunting.

It may be useful to draw up an agreement or think about the financial side of things. How much are you willing/able to reimburse? Also how much contact will you be having with the surrogate?

These are all important questions that national surrogacy week can help you answer alongside the professional advice available online and in clinics.

It’s important to remember that there are many people involved in the process and national surrogacy week is a time to celebrate them all. From the surrogate mothers carrying the baby to the clinics and agencies supporting you along the way – everyone plays an important role.

Join Us This National Surrogacy Week

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this method of conception. It’s a personal choice that should be respected much like the decision to have (or not have) children in the first place. 

In light of this, we hope you will join us this national surrogacy week in celebrating this incredible topic and raising awareness for the incredible act of kindness that comes with it.

It’s natural to have many questions when you first start looking into surrogacy as an option, after all, it isn’t something that is talked about often.

So, if you’re considering surrogacy, or know someone who is, make sure to reach out and get informed. It could be the best decision you ever make.


What are your thoughts on surrogacy? Have you ever considered it? Share your story with us in the comments below or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #nationalsurrogacyweek. We’d love to hear from you!

Can I have more than one embryo put back during embryo transfer?

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We promoted the ‘One at a Time’ in 2007 to tackle the high multiple birth rate following IVF treatment.

We aim for a single embryo transfer with our patients to reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies as this can come with increased risks to mother and baby.

We discuss the single embryo transfer policy where possible. Although exceptions may come about in terms of the quality of the embryo, age of the patient, previous treatments and number of previous cycles.

With IVF/ICSI, the risk of multiple pregnancies is related to the number of embryos transferred. At The Surrey Park Clinic, we will comply with the Policy for Kings Clinic and The Lister Hospital as per HFEA guidelines.

Consent for embryo transfer is taken at Kings or The Lister and The Surrey Park Clinic will support the clinical decision made at the relevant HFEA registered unit.

The patient is to be provided with the information so they are able to make an informed choice to treatment and provide consent for the embryo transfer.

Can new fertility device improve chances of pregnancy?

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Improving Chances of At Home Conception – Is it Possible?

We read with interest about the new Fertility device (Twoplus Fertility Sperm guide) that promises to increase the chances of conception by retaining sperm in the vagina for over an hour. The aim is to prevent sperm leakage after intercourse and create a rich pool of sperm in the vagina, thereby increasing the chances of fertilization by enabling more sperm cells to swim up into the uterine cavity.

The device is inserted into the vagina, and the male ejaculates sperm into the pouch of the device. Manufacturers of this device recommend that couples use a lubricant to minimize the male partner’s discomfort during intercourse. 


“Great interest among our patients; including same-sex couples who wish to explore self-insemination.”


Obviously, the development of any device that facilitates conception is always exciting to the Fertility community.

Although we are yet to see any scientific data to back the efficacy of this device, we anticipate that it would draw great interest among our patients; including same-sex couples who wish to explore self-insemination.

Obviously, the outcome of fertility treatment is influenced by various factors, which is why treatment must always be individualized. Each case is different, and it is essential to ensure that the treatment of choice is suitable for the individual patients.

“The outcome of fertility treatment is influenced by various factors.”

Devices like this would be much more effective for women who have a good understanding of their ‘body’.

It is extremely helpful for women to understand the ‘fertile window’ and to aim for insemination/intercourse at the time of optimum fertility.

The fertile window is best defined as the 6day interval ending on the day of ovulation. The viability of both eggs and sperm should be maximum during this time. Research has shown that peak fecundity was observed when intercourse occurred within 2 days before ovulation.  

Among women who have regular cycles, the likelihood of conception increases during the putative fertile window.


At home fertility device to help with conception

TwoPlus Fertility Device



Unfortunately, the timing of the fertile window within a given cycle can vary considerably, even in women who have regular cycles. Although fertility tracking methods (including calendars and apps; cervical monitoring, ovulation detection kits and basal body temperature tracking) can help assist patients to understand their own personal cycle characteristics. A major weakness of these predictor devices is that they are based on the assumption that the timing and duration of a woman’s fertile window are consistent and dependent on cycle length characteristics and trends. But we know that cycles are pretty much variable, and the timing of ovulation can vary from month to month and from woman to woman.

The calendar method is based on the length of the menstrual cycle. The length of the luteal phase (the part of the menstrual cycle after ovulation) is presumed to be about 14days. Thus, the day of ovulation would be cycle day 14 for women who have a 28-day cycle and day 16 for women with a 30days cycle.


“Unfortunately, the timing of the fertile window within a given cycle can vary considerably, even in women who have regular cycles.”


The fertile window, therefore, is set as the presumed day of ovulation and the 5 days prior (cycle day 9-14 in a 28 day cycle and cycle days 11-16 in women with a 30 day cycle etc).

Finally, it is important to note that sperm is motile and swims into the cervical canal extremely quickly and shortly after deposition in the vagina. Studies have shown that sperm deposited into the vagina at mid-cycle are found in the fallopian tube within 15 minutes. Sperm has been found in the cervical canal seconds after ejaculation, regardless of the coital position.

Although many women think that lying face upwards for some time after intercourse facilitates sperm transport and prevents leakage of sperm from the vagina, this belief is not backed by any scientific evidence. Lying still in bed or elevating the legs does not necessarily increase the chance to conceive. Motile sperm swims up the genital tract, and some seminal fluid leakage is normal.

Whilst we welcome new devices that help our patients conceive, it is important that the right patient group are identified for each treatment type, and treatment must be individualized.


For more information on the different fertility options available to you at The Surrey Park Clinic, please click here.



Mr Emmanuel Kalu MBBS, DFFP, FRCOG

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Specialist in Reproductive Medicine 

Egg Donation with The Surrey Park Clinic

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Egg Donation with The Surrey Park Clinic

Creating a family now comes in many differing ways and, since the birth of the first egg donation child in 1984, it’s an IVF option which has steadily grown to become a widely accepted and practiced treatment for female related infertility.

It’s incredibly painful and heart-breaking when couples realise that IVF isn’t going to be the answer for them and, whilst the use of donated eggs can offer hope, the choice isn’t always an easy one to make. Women are sometimes left with a sense of grief, mourning their own fertility, feeling increasingly overwhelmed and apprehensive about what the future may hold. However, as daunting as it might first appear, egg donation IVF is associated with increased rates of pregnancy success and, for some, will provide the best option of conceiving and carrying a child to birth.

Egg donation is typically suggested when IVF has repeatedly failed and although it’s understood that maternal age does impact the quality of eggs, external factors are also known play a role too. Genetics, environmental factors and medical conditions, including treatment for cancer, can all have a negative impact on a female’s fertility.

Despite the fact that egg donation IVF is a globally accepted procedure, proven to help many women conceive, the NHS currently offers no funding for this type of treatment. With couples forced to self-fund private medical care they can, unfairly, be left alone to research the increasingly confusing and complicated world of treatment protocols, additional options and fertility clinic data. It’s therefore only right that patients are under the responsibility of a sensitive clinic, who have their whole wellbeing at its core.

Alongside the wide range of fertility treatments available, Surrey Park Clinic offers an egg donation IVF service for patients embarking upon this route. Working in close partnership with Institute Bernabeu, in Spain’s Alicante, patients are fully supported by two clinics, receiving personalised and professional care throughout the process.

In April 2005 it became a legal requirement, in the UK, for all egg, sperm and embryo donors to become identifiable. From the age of 18, donor conceived children are entitled to access all identifying information about the person who donated. This, understandably, can make finding a donor in the UK a difficult task and patients can be left waiting, without a large amount of choice.

One of the reasons Surrey Park works in tandem with a Spanish clinic is due to the extensive donor databases across Spain. Spanish law requires complete anonymity of anyone who donates and, because of this, they have more readily available donors, when compared to the UK. This means there is typically no waiting time to find a donor and, once the paperwork and pre-treatment investigations have been completed, patients can usually proceed with their treatment immediately. The cost of egg donation IVF, in Spain, is also more favourable, when once again compared to the UK.

Spanish donors are fully screened and are young, healthy women, legally required to be under 35 years of age. Donations must also be altruistic. Spain was the first country, within Europe, to create definitive laws surrounding egg donation treatment and, since then, has become the most popular European destination for those seeking IVF with donated eggs. Donors are matched with recipients on ethnicity, blood type and phenotypes; hair and eye colour and body type, and medical teams are legally required to guarantee the greatest possible match on appearance and blood group, with the recipient.

For patients undergoing IVF with donated eggs at Surrey Park Clinic, one to one support is available during every stage, with consultants and nurses always on hand to answer any of the questions which inevitably arise. A fertility nurse will also help couples to fill in the necessary paperwork and join Skype calls, with the medical team in Spain, to truly strengthen the bond between the three parties involved.

Institute Bernabeu has a wonderfully supportive International team who all speak excellent English and assist with organising transfers and accommodation in Spain. Undergoing any IVF procedure is an anxious experience and both clinics believe that the logistical side, of the treatment, should be as worry-free as possible for all patients.

Recipient preparation takes place at Surrey Park Clinic and is consultant-led. Patients are partnered with a named consultant, who they work together with, in close proximity, throughout their journey. Whilst the procedure might take place in another country, consultants are still fully accessible throughout the complete treatment. All transfers are fresh, and synchronised with the donor, unless a medical reason prevents this, and mock transfers are always conducted by the medical team in Spain.

It’s perfectly natural to have doubts surrounding egg donation, either in the UK or overseas, and couples need to feel fully comfortable with their decision. Surrey Park Clinic provides the required implications counselling alongside additional, ongoing support, from their in-house counsellor.

Every person is unique and it’s the responsibility of fertility clinics to ensure that everyone is treated as an individual. Not all patients are the same and neither are the protocols used in assisted reproduction. Surrey Park clinic provides a sensitive and compassionate environment, understanding not only the intricacies of the IVF procedure, but also the importance of a tailormade service, which caters to every patient’s specific needs.

The people who walk through the doors at Surrey Park Clinic, are real people with hopes and dreams of becoming parents. No one asks to live with infertility and, when help is required, patients deserve kindness, as well as a professional and individualised treatment options.

For more information or to book your appointment please contact us

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The Surrey Park Approach

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It’s never straightforward discovering that assisted conception is required, in order to have a family. The information available can be overwhelming and daunting and, at times, it’s difficult to even know where to begin. Infertility most certainly has a language of its own. There’s also an element of hopelessness and despair, when realising that future dreams are dependent on doctors, nurses and medical science, coupled together with a big pinch of luck.

With the NHS cutting the number of funded cycles and tightening the criteria for those eligible, infertile couples are often left stranded, required to find a clinic themselves and self-fund their treatment. With no real guidance, it’s incredibly easy to be misled by statistics, misguided by the false hope of add-ons and mistaken over what treatment options are available. The range of differing advice, plethora of myths and complex data, can mean patients are left utterly bewildered during what is already a confusing and complicated time.

Every person is unique, and each fertility situation is individual. Whether it’s male or female factor, both or unexplained, no two cases are, or should be considered, the same; one size does not fit all when it comes to fertility treatments. Whether it be an initial consultation, IUI, IVF or ICSI, it’s incredibly important to find a clinic which offers honesty, compassion and a tailormade service, for all its clients.

IVF is often billed as a magical cure. However, the sad truth is; in vitro fertilisation won’t work for everyone. It’s therefore only fair and ethical that clinics are transparent, truthfully presenting the reality of each situation. Clients are real people who deserve kindness and fairness as well as a professional service.

The Surrey Park clinic prides itself on offering a unique fertility experience. Its consultant led approach ensures that every patient is matched with a named consultant, who is accessible to them throughout the whole of their medical care. Treatment should not have to be delayed because a doctor is too busy to make a quick decision. Consultants scan and fully immerse themselves in every case, analysing results and being on hand to make any changes to protocols, no matter how small, believing that patients and their well-being must be at the core of all they do.

Whilst fertility data is regulated, by the HFEA, understanding what clinics report can be mind-boggling. Advertised success rates aren’t always as they first appear, for instance, becoming pregnant can be a very different situation to having a live birth. It’s also important to understand that patients are not just a statistic and simply because a woman is of a certain age, or a man has been diagnosed with a specific condition, doesn’t mean that the odds for a successful outcome are the same as another couple with similar circumstances. Surrey Park compassionately manages expectations, never being scared to give patients the whole picture, but providing them with an individual and personalised success rate. When it comes to infertility treatment, nothing should be a surprise and a clinic must be accountable; it needs to have done everything it possibly can, to try to achieve a positive result and tend to the well-being of each patient.

The Surrey Park Clinic team

IVF is tough. It’s invasive, uncomfortable and immensely time consuming, it can feel like a full-time job just trying to keep on top of the scans, tests and appointments required for each cycle. Patients should not have to be shoehorned into a clinic’s opening hours, or rushed along a treatment conveyor belt, just to suit the employees. At Surrey Park, staff do their utmost to fit in around an individual’s needs, treatment should be patient-led, and everyone has the right to flexibility in order to ensure as little stress as possible is experienced.

Infertility is often described as a battle and, at times, it’s not only a battle to conceive it’s also a fight for treatment and access to medical teams. Patients should never have to solely become their own advocates, pushing for consultations or changes to procedures and the right to try another option. Consultants and clients absolutely need to work together, and Surrey Park acknowledges that anyone, who walks through their door, is entitled to transparency, and all the information required to make informed decisions about any next steps.

Mothers speak of how they will do anything for their child, yet so will those desperately hoping to become a mother too, those of us living with infertility. We inject, we undergo surgery, heartbreak and grief. We change our lifestyles, wait and hope, all whilst maintaining the façade of a normal life, getting up each morning and going to work, fitting anguish and clinic appointments into our daily routines. And all for no guarantees, simply for hope, for chance and a dream come true.

Determination can only get an infertile so far but, combine willpower with science and a fully supportive clinic, offering thoughtful and individualised treatment, and that really does go a long way in helping to achieve a positive outcome. Patients have a right to the high level of support and honesty a professional, compassionate clinic, like Surrey Park, provides, under a team holding their best interests at heart.

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