Surrogacy: what is a parental order and why do I need one?

You need to apply for a Parental Order when you and your partner use a surrogate to have a child as a Parental Order transfers legal rights from the birth mother to you and your partner.

That is why it is very important to get expert legal advice before entering into a surrogacy arrangement so that you know what is required to confirm your status as the child’s legal parents under English law.

Making an application

When making an application for a Parental Order you must satisfy a number of conditions including that the surrogate mother (and her spouse or civil partner if applicable) consents to the making of a Parental Order no earlier than 6 weeks after the birth of the child.

You must be genetically related to a child to apply for a Parental Order, i.e. the sperm or egg donor, and in a relationship where you and your partner are either married, civil partners or living as partners.

You must also have the child living with you and reside permanently in either the UK, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

You cannot apply for a Parental Order if you’re single.

Complications can arise where
  1. the surrogate mother refuses to provide her consent
  2. the surrogate mother’s husband refuses to provide his consent
  3. there are no contact details for the surrogate mother and she cannot be located; or
  4. the surrogate mother did not fully understand the consent that she had provided for example if it had not been translated in a language that she could understand.

Stone King’s Family and Mediation Team can advise on families created through donor conception and surrogacy, as well as on co-parenting, adoption and fertility treatment.

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