At Stone King, we understand that starting a family through surrogacy is an exciting time, however there are a number of legal questions that you will need clear and concise advice on.
Our family lawyers will deal with your queries and advise you in a sensitive, clear manner, enabling you to enjoy the time as you prepare for the birth of your child and the first special moments.
What is surrogacy
Surrogacy is becoming far more common for those wishing to start a family but who are unable to conceive themselves. It is the act of a woman carrying a pregnancy and giving birth for the intended parents, as they are unable to carry a child themselves.
There are different types of surrogacy:
- A gestational or host surrogacy is when a surrogate becomes pregnant using embryos that are not genetically related to her.
- Straight or traditional surrogacy uses the surrogate’s own eggs to conceive, along with the intended father’s or donor sperm.
- Is surrogacy legal?
In the UK surrogacy is legal but not enforceable, which is why it is vital to make sure everyone clearly understands what the arrangements are and all procedures are followed.
- Reasonable expenses
The mother is not allowed to be paid anything more than reasonable expenses. This is one of the reasons why individuals considering surrogacy should ensure that they take legal advice and follow the correct procedures.
- If a surrogate is used who are the parents?
The birth mother is the legal parent and if she is married or in a civil partnership her spouse/partner will also be the legal parent.
In order to become legal parents the intended parents need to apply for a parental order. (See more below.)
If the mother is not married there may be other circumstances where you or your partner might be the other legal parent, however it’s important to seek legal advice on this.
- Is it different if I use a surrogate abroad?
UK law is the same even if a foreign court has made an order or a foreign birth certificate specifies otherwise. In order to become the child’s legal parent a parental order will need to be applied for.
- What is a parental order after surrogacy?
A parental order is a court order that resolves parenthood in surrogacy cases. The court order will make the intended parents of the child and not the surrogate and her spouse. Following the issue of the parental order, the baby’s birth is re-registered, recording both intended parents as legal parents. A new birth certificate is issued.
- When should a parental order after surrogacy be applied for?
Parents should apply to the UK courts within six months of the birth of the child. In order for the court to make this order, they have to be satisfied of a number of criteria, including the consent of the mother and her spouse/civil partner, and the child is living with you.
There are other criteria on which the intended parents must satisfy the family court, therefore it is important to get legal advice.
- What happens to the original birth certificate?
This is sealed in the Parental Order Register and becomes accessible to the child only, once they are over 18.