Surrogacy is increasingly becoming an option for starting a family for people who are unable to conceive a child themselves. But many couples still enter into a surrogacy arrangement without understanding the legal implications of surrogacy in the UK.
The laws around surrogacy are complex and the legal landscape around reproductive issues and alternative family structures are continually shifting. There are many factors to consider from ensuring that you obtain legal status for your child to dealing with immigration and British nationality issues if your child is born abroad, as well as financial considerations. Planning ahead and understanding all of the legal issues is essential in order to avoid the many pitfalls.
Our team of specialist surrogacy solicitors are experienced in advising on the different aspects of surrogacy. We help same sex and heterosexual couples both married and unmarried and from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We can help with:
- Surrogacy planning – Many people mistakenly believe that signed surrogacy agreements are legal and enforceable in the UK, but this is not the case. We can advise you on the legal position and how to obtain legal parenthood after your baby is born,
- Parental Order applications – If you are having a child using a surrogate, under English law you and your partner will not be the child’s legal parents. In Order to gain legal parenthood and have any legal rights and responsibilities for you child, you will need to obtain a Parental Order from the Court within 6 months of your child being born. We can assist you with the necessary applications and advise you of the available options if you are outside of the 6 months deadline.
- Surrogacy disputes – Disputes between the surrogate and intended parents are rare but if they do occur you may wish to seek legal advice / representation. We can assist you with this.
- International surrogacy issues – Unfortunately, there is no international law governing surrogacy and the laws vary widely from country to country. If you are considering embarking on surrogacy abroad, it is very important to seek specialist legal advice in the UK and in the country you are travelling to, as well as in any other country with which you are connected at the earliest opportunity.
- Immigration and British nationality for children born abroad – We can help you bring your child to the UK as quickly as possible and assist with any immigration, nationality and UK passport applications that need to be made.
We offer flexibility in terms of the type and amount of legal advice appropriate for your case. That may involve us advising and assisting you from the start to the end of your surrogacy journey. Alternatively, you might only need advice ‘behind the scenes’, in which case we are here to answer any occasional questions that may arise or assist you with the more complex parts of the legal process.
We are supporters of National Surrogacy Week, and support calls for reform to surrogacy laws in the UK to ensure it keeps up with the pace of social change and the demand for surrogacy agreements from couples wishing to have family in this way.