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What preconception advice can fertility lawyers give me?

Before embarking on fertility treatment, your chosen clinic might suggest, or may even require, that you speak with a solicitor to explain the legal consequences of your treatment.

Our fertility law team can advise on:

  • Legal implications of the use of donated gametes, including information rights
  • Ensuring you are recognised as the legal parent, including the options and procedures for this
  • The importance of consent both immediately and for the use and storage of embryos going forward
  • Discussing and documenting a platonic parenting agreement

How can fertility lawyers help with a dispute or a change in circumstances?

Our fertility solicitors can explain the implications of any changes to your plans, giving advice and support to minimise the impact.

For example:

  • Reviewing and/or varying your agreement for embryo storage and future use, should you and your partner/co-parent separate or change your mind
  • Disputes regarding continued use and/or storage of embryos
  • Use of embryos posthumously
  • Importing and exporting embryos

Fertility law FAQs

Fertility law FAQs

  • What UK legislation exists within fertility law?

    Examples of legislation that regulates assisted reproduction in the UK include:

    There is also guidance in place regarding assisted reproduction and handling passport applications

  • How are fertility clinics regulated?

    Fertility clinics and human embryo centres are regulated by the HFEA. They need to apply for a licence with this body to operate and inspections are completed before granting or renewing a licence.

    Clinics and research centres need to be inspected every two years in line with the HFEA’s Code of Practice, although inspections can be done more frequently if there has been a complaint or another reason to do so.

    As well as this, clinics legally need written consent before carrying out any work. This covers the treatment itself, as well as the storing of eggs, sperm and embryos. Beyond this, consent is required for donation, surrogacy, parenthood and more.

  • Who are the legal parents when using IVF in the UK?

    Fertility law covers the intricacies of IVF and solicitors can help you understand it in more detail before going ahead with it.

    IVF works in the same way as natural conception when determining who the legal parents are. If a couple have used their own egg and sperm in IVF and are married or in a civil partnership, that means both parties are the legal parents (assuming the non-carrying partner hasn’t refused consent). However, if a couple aren’t married, the pregnant partner will automatically be the child’s parent, whereas their partner needs to apply for parental responsibility.

    If the egg or sperm has been donated, the person who gives birth to the child will be the legal mother and have parental responsibility with their married or civil partner. If they are unmarried, the partner will need to apply for parental responsibility. Meanwhile, the person who donated the egg or sperm will not have any parental responsibility.

  • What are the complications around unmarried couples and fertility law?

    An unmarried couple need to complete the correct HFEA forms before undergoing assisted reproduction.

    The right protocol should be followed before conception for the non-carrying partner to obtain legal parenthood. This involves having counselling and receiving clear guidance. Any paperwork needs to be completed correctly, otherwise this partner won’t be considered a legal parent. Sometimes, the paperwork might be incorrect or misplaced by the fertility clinic, which is where an experienced fertility lawyer may need to intervene.

    In addition, if the conception happens at home and the pregnant partner is unmarried, this can complicate things. The donor could be recognised as the legal father of the child, even if this wasn’t the intention. Their name would be recorded on the child’s birth certificate, making them liable for paying child maintenance. On top of this, they can have a say over arrangements for the child with an application to the Courts.

    This is why it is so important to seek comprehensive legal advice from a fertility law specialist before considering assisted reproduction. Some people choose to enter into a pre-conception agreement so that the legal aspects are clear.

Why choose Stowe Family Law for assistance with fertility law?

  • As the UK’s largest national firm fully dedicated to family matters, we have a strong team of fertility lawyers experienced in a broad set of cases.
  • Whatever the nature of your case, our team will approach it with compassion and professionalism, so that you and those close to you feel supported.
  • We explain any legal jargon in clear, understandable terms to make sure you never feel overwhelmed by the process.
  • We’re regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are listed on The Legal 500
  • We’ve been shortlisted for national awards and named Family Law Firm of the Year by the Hampshire Law Society and the Yorkshire Legal Awards.
  • Hundreds of positive reviews from clients mean we have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot.
  • Our support section covers endless family law topics, including relationships, children and alternative parenting.

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0330 056 3171

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Liza is based in our Winchester & Southampton offices and is experienced in divorce, financial matters, and legal issues issues involving children.

Date last reviewed: 05/06/2024

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