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What is fertility law?

At Stowe Family Law, our team of fertility law experts offers tailored guidance and assistance to individuals and couples seeking to expand their family.

Significant progress in reproductive science and technology, and the evolution of UK fertility law, mean that there are now more options for having children than ever. As you embark on your journey towards fertility treatment, it’s important to approach it with awareness of the legal considerations involved. These encompass aspects such as legal parenthood, partner and donor consent, as well as your rights and duties as a parent. While these concepts may seem daunting, seeking guidance from a family law specialist can provide invaluable support in navigating them smoothly.

As a dedicated family law firm, we’re always at the forefront of knowledge in this fast-developing area. Our wide-ranging fertility law expertise covers assisted reproduction, artificial insemination, surrogacy, co-parenting, and everything in between. We’ll explain the law surrounding fertility in plain, understandable language so you can make informed decisions about how you want to proceed.

Our goal is to foster an inclusive and inviting atmosphere for everyone, regardless of their background or personal traits. We have specific expertise in assisting LGBTQ+ couples as they embark on the journey of expanding their families.

Fertility Law in the UK

Why use a fertility lawyer?

Having a baby using less conventional methods can feel complicated, not to mention emotional.

Our expert fertility lawyers will be on hand throughout to help you understand the legal considerations and provide the information needed. They will also ensure the necessary documentation is in place and that legal formalities are dealt with so you can focus on what matters most.

Having a child via donor conception, IVF, IUI or surrogacy can introduce unexpected issues and unique legal considerations. Your legal interests differ depending on whether you are a parent, donor or co-parent.

A fertility law firm or lawyer can help you with key issues such as:

  • Consent to storage and use of your egg, sperm or embryo
  • Knowing your right to alter arrangements or withdraw consent
  • Who the legal parents will be
  • Who will have parental responsibility
  • How treatment will be funded

We’re proud to be a member of The Surrogacy Network, the leading directory and platform for surrogacy professionals.

The Surrogacy Network

Fertility law is a rapidly evolving field that demands precise legal knowledge and sensitivity to personal circumstances. Our expertise ensures that all legal aspects of fertility, including donor agreements, adoption and surrogacy, are meticulously managed, providing peace of mind to families as they grow.

Where are our family law solicitors based?

Altrincham

WorkSmart Altrincham Hub, 12-14 Shaw’s Road
Altrincham
WA14 1QU

Banbury

Jeffersons Business Centre, Room 3, 6 S Bar St
Banbury
OX16 9AA

Bath

Northgate House, Upper Borough Walls
Bath
BA1 1RG

Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted House, 121 High St
Berkhamsted
HP4 2DJ

Beverley

First Floor, 22 Trinity Ln
Beverley
HU17 0DY

Birmingham

The Colmore Building, 20 Colmore Circus, Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6AT

Bishop’s Stortford

The Residence Coworking, New Mead Barn, Wickham Hall, Hadham Rd
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 1JG

Bolton

120 Bark St
Bolton
BL1 2AX

Bournemouth

25 Basepoint Business Centre, Aviation Business Park, Enterprise Close
Christchurch
BH23 6NX

Bracknell

Venture House, Arlington Square, Downshire Way
Bracknell
RG12 1WA

Brighton

Room 525 Mocatta House, Trafalgar Pl
Brighton
BN1 4DU

Bristol

St Nicholas House, 31-34 High St
Bristol
BS1 2AW

Bromley

Kingfisher House Business Centre, 21-23 Elmfield Rd
Bromley
BR1 1LT

Camberley

Basepoint Business Centre, 377-399 London Rd
Camberley
GU15 3HL

Cambridge

Regus - Cambridge, Wellington House, East Rd, Petersfield
Cambridge
CB1 1BH

Camden

13 Hawley Crescent
London
NW1 8NP

Canary Wharf

37th Floor, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
London
E14 5AP

Canterbury

Fruitworks Coworking, 1-2 Jewry Lane
Canterbury
CT1 2NP

Cardiff

Temple Court, 13A Cathedral Rd
Cardiff
CF11 9HA

Chelmsford

Second Floor, Saxon House, 27 Duke St
Chelmsford
CM1 1HT

Chelsea

50 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea
London
SW3 3DD

Cheltenham

Harley House, 29 Cambray Pl
Cheltenham
GL50 1JN

Chester

Regus House, Business Park, Heronsway
Chester
CH4 9QR

Chesterfield

Northern Gateway Enterprise Centre, Saltergate
Chesterfield
S40 1UT

Colchester

Suite F15, Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway, Boundary Rd
Colchester
CO4 3ZQ

Covent Garden

60 St Martin's Ln
London
WC2N 4JS

Croydon

The Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road
Croydon
CR9 2ER

Derby

Derwent Business Centre, Clarke St
Derby
DE1 2BU

Durham

Durham Workspace, Abbey Rd, Pity Me
Durham
DH1 5JZ

Esher

The Bellbourne, 103 High St
Esher
KT10 9QE

Exeter

Broadwalk House, Southernhay West
Exeter
EX1 1UA

Farnborough

The Hub, Business Park, Fowler Ave
Farnborough
GU14 7JF

Fleet

Pearson Court, 3 Kings Rd
Fleet
GU51 3DL

Guildford

2 Wey Court, Mary Road
Guildford
GU1 4QU

Hammersmith

1 Lyric Square
London
W6 0NB

Harrogate

Royal Chambers, 110 Station Parade
Harrogate
HG1 1EP

High Wycombe

1 Aston Court, Kingsmead Business Park, Frederick Pl, Loudwater
High Wycombe
HP11 1JU

Huddersfield

Empire House, Lewisham Rd, Slaithwaite
Huddersfield
HD7 5AL

Ilkley

18 Church St
Ilkley
LS29 9DS

International Enquiries



Ipswich

Suite 422, Franciscan House, 51 Princes St
Ipswich
IP1 1UR

Kingston

Second Floor, 25 Union Street
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 1RP

Knutsford

Booths Hall, Booths Park, Chelford Rd
Knutsford
WA16 8GS

Leamington Spa

7 Clarendon Pl
Leamington Spa
CV32 5QL

Leeds

Clockwise, Yorkshire House, Greek Street
Leeds
LS1 5SH

Leicester

106 New Walk
Leicester
LE1 7EA

Lichfield

Advantage House, Stowe Court, Stowe St
Lichfield
WS13 6AQ

Lincoln

Cromwell House, Crusader Rd
Lincoln
LN6 7YT

Liverpool

2nd Floor, Edward Pavilion, Royal Albert Dock
Liverpool
L3 4AF

London

Ground Floor, 128 Buckingham Palace Rd
London
SW1W 9SA

Maidenhead

Regus, Concorde Park, Concorde Rd
Maidenhead
SL6 4BY

Manchester

Suite 22c & 22d, 53 King St
Manchester
M2 4LQ

Middlesbrough

Commerce House, 1 Exchange Square
Middlesbrough
TS1 1DE

Milton Keynes

Exchange House, 314 Midsummer Blvd
Milton Keynes
MK9 2UB

Nantwich

Stapeley House, London Road
Nantwich
CW5 7JW

Newcastle

City Quadrant, 2nd Floor, 11 Waterloo St
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4DP

North Shields

5 Royal Quays Business Centre, The CAI Building
North Shields
NE29 6DE

Norwich

Regus - Norwich Stannard Place, Cavell House & Austin House, Stannard Place, St Crispins Rd
Norwich
NR3 1YE

Nottingham

CUBO, Standard Court, Park Row
Nottingham
NG1 6GN

Oxford

Suite 22, 1600 Oxford House, Pure Offices Ltd, Parkway Court, John Smith Dr
Oxford
OX4 2JY

Plymouth

4th Floor, Sutton Harbour, 6 North East Quay Salt Quay House
Plymouth
PL4 0HP

Portsmouth

Ground Floor, Building 1000 Lakeside, Western Road
Portsmouth
PO6 3EZ

Preston

Unit 5, Albert Edward House, The Pavillions, Ashton-on-Ribble
Preston
PR2 2YB

Reading

Suite 28, The Blade, Abbey Square
Reading
RG1 3BD

Reigate

Castle Court, 41 London Rd
Reigate
RH2 9RJ

Richmond

Parkshot House, 5 Kew Rd
London
TW9 2PR

Rickmansworth

Cardinal Point, 1 Park Rd
Rickmansworth
WD3 1RE

Sevenoaks

Lime Tree Work Shop, 11 Lime Tree Walk
Sevenoaks
TN13 1YH

Sheffield

Cubo 38, Carver St
Sheffield
S1 4FS

Slough

The Future Works, 2 Brunel Way
Slough
SL1 1XL

Solihull

Radcliffe House, Blenheim Court, Warwick Rd
Solihull
B91 2AA

Southampton

21 Carlton Cres
Southampton
SO15 2ET

Southgate

5th Floor, The Grange, 100 High St
London
N14 6BN

Southwark

201 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1JA

St Albans

Regus - St. Albans Victoria Square, Fountain Court, 2 Victoria Square
St Albans
AL1 3TF

Stamford

Orion House, 14 Barn Hill
Stamford
PE9 2AE

Stockport

Profolk, Bank Chambers, 15 Market Pl
Stockport
SK1 1AR

Stockton Heath

Suite 6, Hillcrest House, 143 London Rd
Stockton Heath, Warrington
WA4 6LG

Stoke-on-Trent

Trent House, 234 Victoria Rd
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2LW

Sunderland

Regus - Sunderland, Doxford International Business Park, 4 Admiral Way
Sunderland
SR3 3XW

Swansea

Princess House, 14-16 Princess Way
Swansea
SA1 3LW

Swindon

FigFlex Offices, 3 Newbridge Sq
Swindon
SN1 1HN

The City

1 Poultry
London
EC2R 8EJ

Tunbridge Wells

Lonsdale Gate, Lonsdale Gardens
Tunbridge Wells
TN1 1NU

Wetherby

Oakgate House, Market Pl
Wetherby
LS22 6LQ

Wigan

Unity House, Westwood Park
Wigan
WN3 4HE

Wimbledon

The Old Town Hall, 4 Queen's Rd
London
SW19 8YB

Winchester

Southgate Chambers, 37-39 Southgate St
Winchester
SO23 9EH

Windsor

Castle Hill House, Castle Hill
Windsor
SL4 1PD

Woking

Albion House, Spaces One, Unit 6 High St
Woking
GU21 6BG

Worcester

Kingsway House, 40 Foregate St
Worcester
WR1 1EE

York

Tower House Business Centre, Fishergate
York
YO10 4UA

Why choose Stowe Family Law?

  • We’re the only national law firm 100% dedicated to family matters, which means our family lawyers have a huge depth and variety of experience in this sector.
  • We take pride in offering an empathic, understanding approach to support you and your family during your case.
  • You’ll be kept in the loop throughout the process and our family lawyers won’t use technical jargon to complicate things further.
  • We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are listed amongst The Legal 500
  • We’re proud to have been shortlisted for national awards and been named Family Law Firm of the Year by the Hampshire Law Society and at the Yorkshire Legal Awards.
  • We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, based on hundreds of reviews from past clients.
  • You can access our wealth of helpful guides to support you with your family law queries.

Fertility law FAQs

Fertility law FAQs

  • Is surrogacy legal in the UK?

    Surrogacy is indeed legal in the UK. However, surrogacy agreements are not enforcable by law.

    If a child is born through a surrogate, the surrogate will be the child’s legal parent at birth. After the child is born, legal parenthood can be transferred to the intended parents via a parental order or adoption.

    It is important to know that you cannot pay a surrogate in the UK.

  • What is assisted reproduction?

    Assisted reproduction allows someone to get pregnant through treatment, without the need for sexual intercourse.

    There is a range of fertility treatment options outlined by the NHS; however, many people choose to have these treatments done privately.

    Some examples of assisted reproduction treatments include:

    • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
    • In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
    • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
    • Donor insemination
    • Egg donation

    Fertility clinics that offer these treatments are regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA)

    Beyond these methods, some individuals may choose Surrogacy or co-parenting, which have their own legal considerations. Regardless of the route you go down, our fertility lawyers can give you tailored legal assistance.

  • Who can use assisted reproduction?

    Assisted reproduction can be accessed by:

    • Opposite-sex couples
    • Same-sex couples
    • Individuals
    • People entering a surrogacy arrangement
    • Couples seeking platonic co-parenting arrangements
    • Transgender people
  • Where can I find out more information about assisted reproduction for same-sex couples?

    Our legal experts regularly help same-sex couples navigate the intricacies of fertility law. Certain assisted reproduction options will be better suited to your circumstances and you may need to take extra caution around the legalities of parental responsibility if you aren’t in a civil partnership.

    Find out more about fertility treatment for LGBT+ people on the HFEA website.

  • What are the legal rights of egg or sperm donors in the UK?

    Our fertility lawyers are experienced in matters relating to egg and sperm donor rights.

    If you give birth to a child, you will be the legal mother, even if using a donated egg.

    However, if you donate sperm through an HFEA clinic, your name will not be on the birth certificate and you will not be the legal parent of any child born. This means there will be no legal obligation to the child and you will not be asked to support them financially.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What does platonic coparenting mean?

    Coparenting means two people sharing the responsibilities of raising a child. This term is often used to refer to ex-partners, but it can involve two people who have never been in a romantic relationship. This is referred to as platonic coparenting.

    This is a fairly new approach to starting a family that is more common in the LGBTQ+ community, but is gaining popularity in wider society.

  • How does adoption work in the UK?

    Adoption is a lengthy and challenging process (quite rightly) and one that requires commitment, dedication and emotional and legal support.

    Our team of adoption law specialists understand this process and are on hand throughout to guide you with care, compassion and integrity. They will ensure you understand the legal complexities, provide the information needed, ensure that the necessary documentation is in place, and legal formalities are complied with.

    Becoming a parent through adoption is a wonderful opportunity for those who may previously have not had the opportunity to have a family and to give children a loving and supportive home.

    Having the right legal support will ensure that you and your child are protected throughout the journey.

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

Date last reviewed: 21/06/2024

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