Although the process of surrogacy has become much more transparent in recent years, it’s still a complex business. People wanting to become a parent by surrogacy need to understand the legal implications before going ahead to avoid encountering problems further down the line. These are some of the questions we get asked, but if you have any specific things you want to discuss, feel free to get in touch.
Is surrogacy legal in the UK?
It is legal, but commercial surrogacy isn’t. You may have pay reasonable expenses to a surrogate, such as medical fees or transportation costs, but the surrogate can't charge a fee to make a profit out of the actual surrogacy.
What if I want to have a surrogacy agreement outside the UK?
Where commercial surrogacy is available outside the UK, we recommend you seek advice from a legal adviser in the country where you’re entering into the arrangement. The decision about where the child should live, and who the legal parents are, is determined by the law of the country in which you intend you bring the child up in. If you plan to bring the child back to the UK, make sure you get advice from a surrogacy specialist based here.
If I enter into a ‘surrogacy agreement’ will that give me parental rights over the child?
A surrogacy agreement isn’t enforceable in the UK. As the intended parent(s), you must apply to the court for a ‘Parental Order’ to become legal parent(s) of the child. Until then, the surrogate is the legal mother and if she’s married or in a civil partnership, her partner is the other legal parent. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to get legal advice before considering surrogacy.
What if the surrogate changes her mind?
A surrogate can change her mind any time before a ‘Parental Order’ is made and you must be able to show that the surrogate has consented to the Order. Disagreements are usually less likely when legal advice is sought at an early stage of the process. The intended parents can also change their mind, although these situations are very rare.
What about informal surrogacy arrangements?
You should be very cautious about entering into any informal arrangements without seeking legal advice first. Aside from the emotional aspects of having a child, you may be breaking the law and the court may not make the order you want, irrespective of your intentions when you entered into the agreement.