Surrogacy is where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple. There are two types of surrogacy arrangement:
Traditional surrogacy – the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended father or donor’s sperm.
The surrogate not only carries the child but also donates her egg and, as such, she is biologically related to the child.
Gestational surrogacy – the surrogate is implanted with an embryo via IVF and therefore she is not biologically related to the child.
Often the sperm and egg of the intended parents will be used, which means the child will be biologically theirs. Donor egg or sperm can be used if this is not possible but this will impact your ability to apply for a parental order.
Surrogacy may be an appropriate solution for people who struggle to get pregnant or have a medical condition which makes it dangerous or impossible for them to give birth.
There are many reasons why an individual or couple might struggle with infertility issues, such as low sperm count, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. Using a surrogate could be the best option for those individuals to have a baby.
It is also a popular choice for male same-sex couples who want to have children. As these couples are unable to conceive a child naturally, many seek the help of a surrogate mother to help them reach parenthood.
Some families opt for surrogacy over adoption as the process is typically less lengthy. For those who have always wanted a child that is blood-related to them, surrogacy is the preferred route to do so.
At Stowe Family Law, we’re proud to have a knowledgeable team of specialist surrogacy solicitors who have experience navigating the legalities of the surrogacy process.
Each case is handled with the utmost care and support. You can rely on us to ensure the entire process is as smooth and straightforward as possible. We build trusting relationships with our clients, offering support and guidance when you need it most.
If you’d like to learn more about surrogacy agreements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have offices located across England and Wales, so we’re sure to have one local to you. Give us a call on 0330 191 4676 or request a callback.
Submit your details, and we’ll arrange a free, no-obligation callback at a time to suit you. Please note that we cannot offer Legal aid.
Family Lawyer Liza Gatrell at Stowe Family Law explains what the surrogacy laws are in the UK, is surrogacy legal in the UK, who are the legal parents, what is a parental order, how do you apply for a parental order, what if you cannot obtain a parental order, what happens if you use a surrogate aboard, and how can a family lawyer help?
Yes, it has always been legal to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in the UK. However, there are various rules and regulations which need to be carefully considered.
Surrogacy contracts are unenforceable, which means trust between everyone involved must be established.
It is also against the law for a third party (such as a solicitor) to take payment for negotiating a surrogacy contract.
A surrogacy agreement involves a person (the surrogate) agreeing to carry and give birth for an individual or couple (the intended parents). The intention is that the individual or couple will become the baby’s parents following the birth.
This agreement is not enforceable in the UK and the intended parent(s) will need to apply to the court to become the legal parents of the child.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to pay a surrogate mother for her services in the UK.
However, during the parental order application, the court will need to authorise any payments made over and above the expenses they have reasonably incurred. This could include travel expenses, maternity clothes and loss of earnings.
There is no definition of reasonable expenses, which means the court must decide what is reasonable in each case.
The court often takes quite a relaxed approach and there is a history of the High Court approving payments in international cases that equate to more than expenses.
Apart from the costs of reimbursing your surrogate for various expenses, you’ll also need to pay for your clinic treatment. The price of this will vary depending on your chosen treatment.
If you plan to use the surrogate’s own eggs, you’ll require intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment. If you’re using your own eggs and sperm, or donated eggs, you’ll have in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is usually more expensive. If the sperm you use isn’t of the highest quality, you may need to pay for an intracytoplasmic sperm injection at an additional cost.
The birth certificate must reflect the legal position at birth.
This means the surrogate will always be named on the birth certificate in the UK. Whether one of the intended parents can be named depends on whether the surrogate is married/in a civil partnership and the circumstances surrounding insemination.
A parental order makes the intended parent(s) of the child the legal parents and permanently removes the legal parenthood of the surrogate and her spouse.
Once the order has been made, the birth will be reregistered and the original birth certificate will be sealed and only accessible to the child once they are over 18 years old.
The court process can take between four to 12 months and usually involves one or two court hearings.
The surrogate remains the legal parent until a parental order is made.
The surrogate’s consent is also required before a parental order can be made.
Many intended parents worry about what would happen if the surrogate wanted to keep the baby but cases of this happening are incredibly rare. The surrogate can also be concerned that they may be left holding the baby if the intended parents change their minds or their circumstances change.
The most popular destinations for surrogacy arrangements abroad are the US, Canada, Georgia, Greece and, previously, Ukraine. It is important to do extensive research before embarking upon a surrogacy arrangement abroad. It may be that your marital status and gender dictate the options available to you.
You must comply with the law in both the UK and your destination country.
No. In the UK, the surrogate will always be the legal mother.
Whether one of the intended parents can be recognised as the legal parent at birth depends on the surrogate’s marital status and the circumstances surrounding the insemination.