Surrogacy is when a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for someone who cannot have a child on their own. It is a notoriously complex area in terms of legalities. If you are considering surrogacy it is extremely important to get legal advice throughout.
Common examples of surrogacy include:
- A family member carrying a child for their daughter, sister or cousin
- A male same-sex couple using a female friend to carry their child
- A couple who use a surrogate mother abroad
The reason surrogacy can be tricky in terms of the law is because, when a child is born, the mother has immediate parental rights and responsibilities for the child. During surrogacy, the assumption is that she will pass the child to the prospective new parents she made the agreement with; however, the mother’s consent after the child’s birth is still required, even if a contract has been signed. If the mother chooses not to give up the baby then she cannot be forced to. However, if the arrangement goes to plan and the child is passed to the new parents then they will still need to apply for the legal rights to be the child’s parents – and it must be done in the first six month of the child’s life.
As you can see even from this short summary there are many ins and outs of the law that you are better to take guidance on from an expert. If you choose to go abroad for a surrogate match then this can make things even more complex, although by no means unachievable with the right legal advice.
- Guiding you through the surrogacy process
- Applying for a parental order and making sure you meet the requirements needed
- Representing you in court
- Keeping you right on the complexities involved when using a surrogate mother abroad and bringing the child back to the UK
Throughout the entire process, you should remain aware that no money or benefits other than “reasonable expenses” should be exchanged between parties, and that, in the UK, it is illegal to use an agency that profits from surrogacy.