Fertility treatments provide many child conception and birth options, supporting people to become parents who might otherwise not have the option. Understanding the different options and their legal implications can be challenging, so it is sensible to get expert advice.
At IBB Law, our fertility law solicitors can provide specialist guidance for both couples and individuals who are preparing to conceive using IUI, IVF or other assisted reproduction processes. We can provide all the advice you need to make a well-informed decision regarding these different treatment procedures.
We are experts in all areas of fertility law, putting us in a great position to offer clear legal advice to suit your needs. Our aim is to provide compassionate support while giving you total certainty over your legal position and any precautions you need to take.
Our law firm has an outstanding reputation in the legal sector, thanks to our dedicated team and our client-centric approach. If you are considering a fertility programme and have any questions, our fertility law solicitors are here to help.
Complete support for UK fertility law
There are various legal issues you will need to learn about before undergoing fertility treatment. Our fertility solicitors can offer advice on a wide range of areas, including:
- Assisted reproduction legal advice
- Accessing fertility treatment
- Parental responsibility guidance
- Advice on surrogacy
Why choose IBB Law for help with UK fertility law?
The Child Law team at IBB Law can offer you:
- High level expertise in some of the most complex and challenging legal issues involving children
- Independently accredited expertise with our Family Law team being ranked by leading client guides the Legal 500and Chambers & Partners
- Children Law accreditation from the Law Society
- Many of our team are members of Resolution, a network of legal professionals committed to removing conflict from family law, reflecting our skills in avoiding unnecessary friction in any disputes
- Our Family Law team is led by Jolene Hutchison, a highly experienced family lawyer who has been recognised in the Legal 500 for combining “exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills” as well as for her “straight-talking approach and honesty about the potential pitfalls of a case”
Call today to discuss your fertility treatment with our expert solicitors
Our fertility experts are available in Uxbridge, Beaconsfield, Reading and Ascot. You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.
How our solicitors can support you with fertility law
Assisted reproduction legal advice
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are two of the most common options for assisted reproduction. IVF involves taking an egg out of a woman’s ovaries and using laboratory procedures to fertilise it with sperm. Once the process is complete the fertilised egg is implanted inside the woman’s womb.
With IUI, the sperm is inserted into a woman’s womb right after ovulation, the process may use either the sperm of an anonymous donor or of their partner.
Our solicitors can provide comprehensive legal advice on both of these processes, as well as advice on alternative assisted reproduction options, including egg donation, donor insemination, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or surrogacy.
Accessing fertility treatment
Patients can get IVF via the NHS if specific criteria are met. Where individuals do not qualify, they will usually have the option to access private treatment.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence sets fertility guidelines for treatment, for example, women under 40 can receive IVF treatment if:
- They have not become pregnant after receiving 12 cycles of artificial insemination
- They have attempted to get pregnant by having unprotected sex for at least 2 years
- Testing shows that IVF treatment is the only option for pregnancy
The guidelines are slightly different for women between 40-42. Whether you are applying for treatment on the NHS or looking to access private treatment, we can support you as you move through the various stages of a fertility programme.
Parental responsibility guidance
Parental responsibility will depend on the assisted reproduction option you choose. For example, the woman who gives birth to a child is automatically their legal parent. If you choose to have a child through a surrogate, it is necessary to apply for a parental order after the child is born, allowing you to transfer parental status from the surrogate to yourself.
If you are having a child through IVF, parental responsibility varies depending on:
- If a couple has achieved assisted conception using their own sperm and/or egg
- Conception was achieved using a donor egg
- A person or couple conceived using sperm from a donor
Our fertility solicitors can offer advice in all scenarios, instructing individuals and couples to obtain parental responsibility where they do not have it automatically.
We can provide legal advice to any person involved in an assisted reproduction process, helping them to protect their rights and interests.
Advice on surrogacy
Our fertility lawyers can offer advice across all aspects of surrogacy law including:
- General legal advice on surrogacy
- Drawing up a surrogacy agreement
- Applying for a parental order
- Surrogacy disagreements or disputes
To discuss your options, contact our specialist surrogacy solicitors at IBB law.
Common questions about fertility law
What are the UK laws on IVF treatment?
The key laws concerning IVF treatment in the UK include:
- Embryo freezing in the UK has a time limit of 10 years
- Two embryos can be transmitted per treatment or three for patients over 40 years old
- Attempting to choose eggs, embryo or sperm to produce a child of a specific sex is illegal unless done so to avoid transmission of STI/STDs
- Combining embryos, sperm or eggs for more than one individual is not permitted in the UK
Who are the legal parents in IVF?
When a woman gives birth to a child, she is their legal parent. Where she is in a civil partnership or married, prior to starting fertility treatment, her partner will also be considered the child’s legal parent, unless they have refused consent.
If a couple have used their own egg and sperm to conceive, they are essentially in the same legal position as a couple who have not used IVF. Where the couple are unmarried, the woman’s partner will not automatically be the child’s parent, but can apply for parental responsibility.
Who are the legal parents in IVF with egg donation?
The person who gave birth to the child is considered the legal mother and has parental responsibility, along with her married partner or civil partner. Unmarried partners can acquire parental responsibility using legal processes. The woman who donated the egg does not have any parental responsibility.
If you are concerned about your legal rights, our IVF solicitors can provide you with all the information you need about the associated procedures and treatments.
Can a sperm donor be a legal parent?
If the sperm was donated using a licensed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) clinic, whether by a named person or anonymously, the sperm donor is not considered the legal parent of the child. In this case the donor will not have any say in how the child is raised, nor have any responsibility for them, financially or otherwise.
If someone has donated sperm through a non-licensed HFEA clinic, they will be considered a legal parent of the child, unless the birth certificate confirms otherwise.
Our donor conception solicitors can offer specialist legal advice on such matters, supporting involved parties to protect their interests.
Is a surrogate the legal mother?
Yes, if you choose to have a child through a surrogate, they are considered the child’s legal parent. If the surrogate is in a civil partnership or married, their partner is considered a second parent, so long as they gave prior permission.
Once the child has been born, it is possible to transfer parental responsibility to the intended parent(s) using a parental order or an adoption order.
Can anyone receive IVF treatment?
According to the HFEA Act 1990, fertility centres must consider the welfare of children who will be born out of fertility treatment. Fertility clinics will assess your case before accepting you and any partner for a treatment programme.
Our solicitors can offer you advice on the fertility suitability requirements. A few of the areas that are assessed include:
- Economic status and a person/couple’s capability to meet a child’s needs
- The physical and mental health of the patient, along with their partner’s health
- The family and medical history of the patient(s)
- Whether or not the individual or couple have had children taken away by social services or there is any existing history of abuse
- The home setting and how a new child might affect any existing children
If you are having issues accessing fertility treatment or facing a dispute, our solicitors are on hand to review your case.
Do you have to be married to have IUI or IVF?
No, you do not have to be married to have IUI or IVF. Single women can undergo these processes using donated sperm, either anonymously or using the sperm of a known individual.
Single men can also undergo the process using a combination of surrogacy or IVF using donor eggs. If you would like to learn more about the specifics of the procedures, please contact our donor conception solicitors.
Call today to discuss fertility law with our expert solicitors
Our fertility law solicitors are available in Uxbridge, Beaconsfield, Reading and Ascot. You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.