Surrogacy is defined as an arrangement made, prior to pregnancy, that the intended parents will become the legal parents of a child born to a surrogate as a result of insemination or the placing in the surrogate of an embryo or an egg in the process of fertilisation or of sperm and eggs.
Surrogacy & The Law
Unlike some other countries, commercial payments or arrangements for surrogacy are illegal in the UK. Should any contract be drawn up then it is not enforceable and it can cause problems after birth when you attempt to formalise the surrogacy.
If you enter into a surrogacy arrangement then this will not automatically make you the legal parents of the child after birth. To become the legal parents, you need to make an application for a Parental Order. If you do not have a Parental Order then one or both of the intended parents will not be the legal parents of the child. This can cause all sorts of complications such as; inheritance issues, contact (formerly known as access) disputes should the intended parents separate, disputes over where the child should live (formerly known as residence or custody) should the intended parents separate and may well mean having to involve the surrogate in decisions regarding the child.
A Parental Order will transfer the legal status as a parent from the surrogate to the intended parents.
Only couples (e.g. married, in a civil partnership or an enduring family relationship) can apply for a Parental Order, you must apply within 6 months of the child’s birth and at least one of the intended parents must be domiciled in the UK. The child should also be living with the intended parents at the time of the application. Conception must be artificial with the child being related to at least one of the intended parents genetically. No money can have changed hands other than covering the surrogate’s reasonable expenses which the Court must authorise prior to making a Parental Order. You also need the surrogate’s consent, if the surrogate changes her mind part way through the pregnancy or after birth then this can cause huge problems.
Surrogacy Court Applications
When you make the application, the Court will list your case for a hearing. Provided all goes well then there should be two hearings in total. A Parental Order reporter will be appointed to report to the Court on the situation. If there are any problems then your case could be transferred to a specialist surrogacy Judge for them to consider.
If you are thinking about surrogacy whether as an intended parent or as a surrogate we recommend that you take legal advice prior to entering into the arrangement as there are many pitfalls and problems that can occur.
Contact our Surrogacy, Child & Family Lawyers Hampshire, Wiltshire & Surrey
We are a down to earth firm of family law experts, with a friendly, human approach to legal services. We provide fair and workable solutions that put families first, with a particular focus on child law, we advise on all areas of family law, including financial disputes, prenuptials, divorce, separation and dissolution of civil partnerships.
For guidance and representation on any social care or family issues you may have, speak to one of our team. Child Law Partnership have offices in Guildford, Basingstoke, Southampton and Salisbury helping families across Hampshire, Surrey, Wiltshire, Reading and the surrounding areas. We offer a fixed fee initial appointment where you can receive full advice with a follow up in writing in order that you can consider your options. Give us a call on 01256630080 or complete our enquiry form.
Child Law Partnership have offices in Basingstoke, Guilford, Southampton and Salisbury serving clients across Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire.