Surrogacy and Parental Orders
For couples unable to have children of their own, surrogacy provides a wonderful opportunity to start the family they long for. Surrogacy is lawful in the UK under strict conditions, but the process of commissioning a surrogate and then obtaining legal parenthood of your surrogate child is complex. So, it’s vitally important to get expert advice before you consider surrogacy to create a family.
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is when you as a couple arrange for a woman, (the surrogate mother) to carry and deliver a child that is genetically related to at least one of you. It is illegal for you to pay for her services (this counts as commercial surrogacy) but you can agree payments to cover her expenses. These will be scrutinised by a UK court, so it’s crucial you remain within the guidelines. Again, this is why expert legal advice is so important.
Seriously considering surrogacy? Call us for an appointment and we’ll guide you through the process and the legal implications. Book your initial 1-hour fixed fee advice session. (For qualifying clients, T&Cs apply). 01189 735521
Written surrogacy agreements are lawful in the UK, but are not legally binding or enforceable. An agreement is NOT a contract. However, many couples want the reassurance of a written record of expectations on both sides. These might include:
- Details contact between you and the surrogate during her pregnancy
- The date she will relinquish the child to you
- Future contact during the child’s life, if any
Legal parenthood for a surrogate child
In most countries in the world, any surrogate mother will be automatically be the legal parent of the child, as will their spouse or partner at the time. As the commissioning parents, you will need to apply to a UK court for a Parental Order. This grants you full legal parental responsibility and ends the legal parenthood of the surrogate.
Surrogacy Parental Orders
At LGFL, we can help with expert advice on obtaining a Parental Order within the six months from birth time limit, including:
- Preparing your application
- Obtaining written consent from your surrogate and spouse/partner
- Checking you have complied with reasonable expenses payments guidance
- Preparing documents for the court
- Advising if you are excluded from applying for a Parental Order
- Preparing for a visit by a Parental Order Reporter from Cafcass
If you choose to commission a surrogate abroad, and are resident in the UK, you need to bring your new child into the UK with the minimum of hassle. The UK Immigration Rules on bringing surrogate children born abroad into the UK are complex and require various documents and items of proof. Even if the country your surrogate’s child is born in recognises commissioning couples as legal parents, the UK Border Agency will not.
That’s why it’s so important to seek legal advice before embarking on any international surrogacy agreement, and at every stage during the process.
Expert surrogacy advice from start to finish
If you’re considering creating a family via a surrogate, and are married, in a civil partnership or in a stable long-term relationship, call us for expert advice.
Starting a family via a surrogate is exciting and the fulfilment of a dream; we can guide you through.