Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Wednesday, October 14, 1998 Published at 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK


'Let them pay for babies'

The Harveys are happy with their surrogate son

Britain's first surrogate mother has attacked a review recommending tougher controls of payments in surrogacy agreements.

Kim Cotton said she is against surrogate mothers having to produce evidence of expenses incurred during pregnancy in order to get payment from childless couples.

An independent review body recommended on Wednesday that the government clamp down on such payments, which currently are only supposed to cover "reasonable expenses".

However, Ms Cotton did not think the recommendations would make much difference since expenses already covered additional payments for services.

She said it was not an ideal world and people were motivated by money.

She added that no-one was forcing the commissioning couple to pay big sums to the surrogate mother.


"There is altruism involved, but people want to pay the surrogate mother as she has done the most incredible deed for them and how else can they say thank-you than by paying the right fee."

But doctors have welcomed the review's recommendations.

Dr Bill O'Neill welcomes the review's findings
Dr Bill O'Neill, of the British Medical Association, said: "It was never intended that surrogacy should be a commercial venture.

"If you start paying somebody and if there is a financial inducement in the arrangement, all too often the emotional and psychological issues are not taking into account sufficiently," he said.

He said surrogacy had "major implications" for the surrogate mother, the commissioning parents and "most importantly for the child who results from surrogacy".

[ image: Kim Cotton: Altruism exists, but this is not an ideal world]
Kim Cotton: Altruism exists, but this is not an ideal world
Kim Cotton was paid £6,500 in 1985 to have a baby for an infertile couple.This prompted the introduction of the 1985 Surrogacy Arrangements Act.

She also had twins in 1991 through surrogacy. She now runs a surrogacy agency COTS (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy) which she established in 1988

Since its establishment, the organisation has been involved in 206 births through surrogacy.

Women are usually paid around £10,000 in expenses for carrying a baby, in order to cover lost earnings and maternity wear.

So lucky

One mother who is delighted with her surrogate baby is Carol Harvey.

[ image: Carol Harvey: Feels very lucky]
Carol Harvey: Feels very lucky
She was unable to have a baby after her womb was removed following cancer treatment.

A surrogate mother was implanted with one of Mrs Harvey's eggs and her husband's sperm.

The couple now have a 10-month-old son.

"Being a mother is what I have always wanted to be," said Mrs Harvey.

"So to know there are people that are prepared to carry a baby for you, that there are people in the world who will do that, that is fantastic. I feel so lucky."

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes

Relevant Stories

14 Oct 98 | Health
Review proposes regulation for surrogacy

14 Oct 98 | Background Briefings
Thirteen years of controversy

03 Nov 97 | UK
Biological father to fight for custody of surrogate baby

Internet Links

Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy

Department of Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99