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International Surrogacy - FAQ

View profile for Liza Gatrell
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Is international surrogacy legal?

Surrogacy is lawful in some Countries, but it is restricted or prohibited in others. If you are considering arranging a surrogacy agreement abroad it is important that you research your destination Country carefully and obtain legal advice from a local lawyer.

Why do people choose to travel abroad for surrogacy arrangements?

Surrogacy in the UK is legally restricted and this means that surrogacy arrangements are not legally binding. For some intended parents they want to security of a legally enforceable commercial surrogacy arrangement and at present this cannot be obtained in the UK.

If my child is born abroad how do I get him/ her home to the UK?

It is very important that you obtain specialist immigration advice concerning your chosen country and route home at the earliest opportunity. Returning home with a child that has been born outside the UK can be a lengthy and complex process. You will need to carefully consider the immigration laws to ensure that you obtain the correct documentation.

How do I get a British birth certificate?

The making of a parental order will trigger the issue of a British birth certificate.

Who will be the legal parents in the UK to our child born through surrogacy abroad?

The UK laws relating to surrogacy state that the legal parents will be the surrogate and, if she has one, her spouse. To be legally recognised as the child’s parents in the UK intended parents need to apply for a parental order. Not everyone can apply for a parental order as there are a number of restrictions that need to be considered. Specialist legal advice before you embark on surrogacy abroad is important to ensure that you are aware of the options available to you.

What happens if I do not apply for a parental order?

Firstly, one or both of the intended parents will lack legal parenthood and parental responsibility for the child. This will instead be retained by the surrogate mother who will likely live abroad and have little or no contact with the child. In addition the surrogate mother will remain financially responsible for the child.

One or both intended parents will be prevented from having an automatic right to bring legal proceedings and may not be financially responsible for their child.

From the child’s point of view they will not be entitled to a British birth certificate that names their intended parents and this may affect their sense of identity.

Failing to obtain a parental order becomes particularly problematic should one or both of the intended parents die, separate or should a dispute arise between the intended parents and the surrogate.