Other options for becoming a parent

Some people cannot have fertility treatment. And some decide they do not want treatment. They may prefer to have a child another way.

If you are thinking about adoption, fostering or surrogacy, it may help to:

  • talk about it with family or friends
  • talk to someone who has become a parent in this way
  • find out more from a support organisation.

Make sure you get all the support and information you need to make the right decision for you.

Adoption and fostering

If you cannot or do not want to use medical treatment to help you have a child, you could think about adoption or fostering.

Adoption means becoming the legal parent of a child. Fostering means looking after a child who is not able to stay with their own family. This might be short-term or long-term.

People from all backgrounds can apply to become a parent in these ways. Sexuality, gender and disability should not matter. And you do not have to be in a relationship or married.

Adoption and fostering can be rewarding ways to have a child. An organisation or local authority can arrange this. If you want to find out more, ask:

  • your social worker, if you have one
  • your local social services department – you can look online for details or ask your GP
  • an organisation such as CoramBAAF or Adoption UK.


Surrogacy is where a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby for you. She is called the surrogate (or host). The pregnancy may be started using IUI or IVF.

There are different reasons people may choose surrogacy. For example, women who cannot carry a pregnancy can use surrogacy to have a baby using their own eggs or embryos. Men may think about using surrogacy if they are single, in a same-sex relationship, or if their female partner cannot carry a pregnancy.

Surrogacy laws in the UK are complicated. Organisations such as Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy (COTS)Surrogacy UK and Brilliant Beginnings can give you more
information and support with surrogacy.

Based on original content by Macmillan Cancer Support.