Surrogacy refers to an arrangement where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for an intended parent or parents. When the child is born the surrogate gives up her parental status, transferring it to the individual or couple who will raise the child.
Surrogacy is a common option for same sex couples or single men and women who would like to have a child. If you are considering this option, our surrogacy solicitors at IBB Law can offer support throughout the process.
Though surrogacy is a viable option in the UK, the laws that surround surrogacy can be complicated. If you are preparing to find a surrogate or are some way into the process, legal advice is strongly recommended.
Complete support for UK surrogacy law
At IBB Law, we have much experience supporting individuals and couples who are exploring surrogacy. Our expert solicitors can support clients in various ways, including:
- Legal advice on surrogacy law in the UK
- Obtaining a parental order
- Associated court processes
- Obtaining an adoption order (where a parental order is not an option)
Why choose IBB Law for help with surrogacy in the UK?
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 500 and 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 case with our surrogacy solicitors
Our surrogacy 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 surrogacy
Legal advice on surrogacy law
Having a child through a surrogacy process can be incredibly exciting. However, it’s imperative that you receive legal advice to help you move smoothly through the stages.
Our expert surrogacy law solicitors have supported many individuals and couples with surrogacy processes. We can provide a wide range of surrogacy law advice, including:
- Advice on surrogacy application stages
- Guidance on the requirements to receive a parental order
- Help drafting required statements for the application process
- Support with any issues or disputes that arise
Obtaining a parental order in surrogacy
To become the child’s legal guardian, you will first need to obtain a parental order. There are various requirements that must be met and our surrogacy experts can advise you on all of these.
We can help you to complete the relevant C51 form to obtain a parental order. After this, the Court will give you a hearing date and provide a C52 acknowledgement form which you can pass on to your surrogate.
We will help you to correctly complete the application and see that you are well prepared for each stage.
Court proceedings for surrogacy
Surrogacy cases are usually handled with informal court hearings. You will be assigned a representative from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) who will meet with yourself and the surrogate. The CAFCASS representative will complete a report and determine if a parental order should be granted.
Our solicitors can guide you swiftly through these processes. If there are any issues or disputes, we can help you to resolve these as quickly as possible.
Obtaining an adoption order
If you are having a child through a surrogate and you cannot obtain a parental order, we can support you to apply for an adoption order.
An adoption order is an appropriate alternative option to transfer parental rights from the surrogate to yourself. If you are in a position where you need to explore this option, we can answer any questions you may have about adoption and surrogacy law.
Common questions about surrogacy
What is a surrogacy agreement?
A surrogacy agreement is a document used to outline the terms of the surrogacy, ensuring that all parties know what to expect and what their obligations are.
It is up to the intended parents and the surrogate to decide what the agreement contains, which may include:
- The details of the involved parties and the roles that they will play.
- Arrangement regarding conception, for example embryos and also the details of the relevant clinic
- Obligations regarding the pregnancy, for instance who will go to antenatal appointments and scans
- What the parental order means and each party’s commitment to post-birth arrangements
- Which reasonable expenses will be paid and when these will be paid
Though a surrogacy agreement is a useful document to outline responsibilities, it is not legally binding. For this reason, it is recommended that all parties receive independent legal advice.
Is surrogacy legal in the UK?
Yes, surrogacy is a legal option in the UK. However, third party companies may not organise surrogacy to make a profit. If you are looking for a surrogate, you will not be able to advertise to find a suitable person.
Those who wish to explore the option, must find a surrogate through a non-profit organisation or another option that does not involve profit.
How easy is it to find a surrogate in the UK?
It isn’t always easy to find a surrogate in the UK, partly because third parties cannot arrange surrogacy for profit and individuals cannot advertise. These things can make the process somewhat challenging, however, there are several non-profit groups in the UK which can help people to find a suitable surrogate.
Seeking early advice from a surrogacy law firm can help you to learn more about your options and get your journey off to a great start.
Why can’t you pay a surrogate in the UK?
Once you have found a surrogate you are permitted to pay them ‘reasonable expenses’ and nothing more. It is up to the Court to determine what counts as reasonable expenses. Such expenses might include medical costs, travel expenses or other items to support the pregnancy.
You can’t pay a surrogate because if the Court rules that anything has been paid which is above ‘reasonable expenses’, then they may not grant you a parental order.
Who is the legal parent of a surrogate child?
If an individual or couple use a surrogate to have a child, the surrogate is considered the child’s legal parent when the child is born.
Where the surrogate is married or belonging to a civil partnership, their partner is considered the second parent of the child (if they gave permission).
After the intended parent has obtained a parental order, only then will they be considered the legal parent of the surrogate child.
What is a parental order in surrogacy?
It is a legal document which is used to transfer parental responsibility from the surrogate to the individual(s) who will raise the child.
Once you have obtained a parental order, you will legally be considered the child’s parent. It is possible to apply as an individual or to apply with your partner. It requires that you are in a civil partnership, married or cohabiting.
Other conditions to apply for a parental order in surrogacy include:
- You must live permanently in the UK, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands
- The child must be living with you
- After the birth of the child, you have a period of six months to apply
To ensure that the process runs smoothly, it is advisable to seek surrogacy law advice before exploring this option.
How long do parental orders take?
It takes approximately between 6-9 months to obtain a parental order. However, it may take a little longer depending on the circumstances.
Is a parental order an adoption?
A parental order isn’t the same as adoption. However, adoption is an alternative option if the individual or couple cannot obtain a parental order.
The two legal documents are similar because they can both be used to remove the surrogate’s parental responsibilities and grant parental rights to the intended parents.
Adoption orders are not specifically designed for surrogacy and so it can often be a little more complicated to use this option. Our solicitors can assist you to apply for an adoption order if necessary.
Can the surrogate attempt to keep the baby?
In the eyes of the law, the surrogate is the legal parent of the child until the intended parent(s) obtain a parental order. It Is also necessary that the surrogate provides consent before the parental order is granted.
Regardless, it is quite rare that the surrogate attempts to keep the child. Naturally, we can offer legal guidance for those who find themselves in this situation.
Call today to discuss your case with our surrogacy solicitors
Our surrogacy 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.