Single parents win the same surrogacy rights as couples

Author: Amanda Connor

Changes in the law governing surrogacy means that applying for legal parentage after a surrogacy arrangement is no longer only available to couples.

Reforms to The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial) Order 2018 have come into force, allowing single people who arranged to have a child through a surrogacyto have the same legal rights as couples.

Sole parents will now be able to apply for parental orders, which transfers legal parenthood after a surrogacy arrangement and obtain a UK birth certificate for their child. 

Whilst the law has never made it illegal to conceive a child through surrogacy, there hasn’t been any legislation in place to clarify the legal position of sole parents. This has left them unable to be formally recognised as the parent, which has also prevented them from claiming their child’s British nationality. The former situation also left sole parents unable to claim employment rights as a parent.

“Single mothers and fathers will no longer be discriminated against”, said Amanda Connor, head of family law at Russell & Russell. “Instead, they’ll get the same rights as couples, which is great news. It’s long been thought that the rules were in breach of sole parents’ human rights and the change to legislation has reflected this view. The parenting platform is no longer tilted in favour of couples; rather it gives everyone the right to be a parent.”

A deadline of the 2nd July has been set for parents of children who have been born through a surrogacy arrangement to apply for a retrospective parental order. Applications after this date will still be allowed, although they could be more complicated to grant.

If you’d like further information on the law surrounding surrogacy, call our family department for a chat on 01204 399 299.

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