This study aimed to explore UK intending parent’s reasons for cross-border and domestic surrogacy, their preparations for the birth and the practical and legal challenges faced after the birth. An online survey was completed by 203 participants, of which 132 had a child born through surrogacy, 33 were in the process of surrogacy and 38 were planning a surrogacy arrangement. The most common reason for pursuing surrogacy in the UK was wanting a relationship with the surrogate (43%; n = 17) and for conducting surrogacy in the USA was because of a better legal framework (97%; n = 60). Parents returning to the UK from countries other than USA experienced greater delay and difficulties in obtaining the necessary documents for their return. This study highlights the disparities in parents’ experiences of undergoing surrogacy in different countries, the frustrations some face in obtaining legal parenthood and the feelings of stress and anxiety this may cause. Whilst this is the first study comparing the experiences of people from the UK having surrogacy in different countries, the representativeness of the sample is unknown. The findings are important in identifying future directions for research, including assessing the impact of these early decisions and experiences for later parental wellbeing and children’s welfare.