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High Court grants parental order to foreign surrogacy couple

High Court judge Mrs Justice Theis has issued a legal order declaring a British married couple the legal parents of a child born to surrogacy in California.

The couple, who were unable to conceive naturally, brought the infant back to the UK, where they applied for a ‘parental order’ under section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

This states that “…the court may make an order providing for a child to be treated in law as the child of the applicants” provided they meet a number of conditions and the baby’s parents met these. They were married and had applied for the order within six months of the child’s birth. At least one of the couple was legally ‘domiciled’ in (a permanent resident of) England and Wales when the boy was born and he had remained in their care since.

Under the act, the judge was also required consider the sums of the money involved in the surrogacy arrangement. The couple had paid $51,200 to the surrogate mother, while $15,000 was paid to the surrogacy agency and $28,195 to a fertility centre.

Mrs Justice Theis concluded that these sums were not disproportionate, nor were they sufficient to ‘overbear the will’ of the surrogate mother or be an affront to public policy in the UK. The sums were legal within California and similar to sums had been paid in other cases. They should therefore be authorised, the judge declared.

The parents’ were reported to love and cherish the child and it was in his best interests to stay with them, in a stable and secure home, the judge ruled.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Stephanie Bamberger says:

    I’m surprised it took this much effort – under California law, these parents should have been listed as the parents on the child’s birth certificate.

  2. Lisa says:

    $51,200?!! I got less than a 5th of that… I’m moving to America to be a surrogate next time! Lol
    Kidding. I think it’s a shame people feel the need to use surrogacy outside the UK and pay so much money when there are a fair few of us who are in the UK. Though it can be such a wait. Sad really.
    I hope they enjoy their child and have a wonderful life.

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