The law on surrogacy in the UK is complex. Whilst surrogacy is legal in the UK, commercial surrogacy agreements and advertising for a surrogate is not. This provides practical challenges when trying to find a surrogate.
Gestational Surrogate – this is where the surrogate carries a child that she is not biologically related to.
Traditional Surrogate- this is where the surrogate donates her eggs as well as agreeing to carry the child.
It is advisable for a Surrogacy Agreement to be entered into between the intended parents and the surrogate. This gives all parties an opportunity to consider whether they are approaching matters with similar expectations. However, Surrogacy Agreements are currently unenforceable.
Once the birth has taken place the intended parents will need to apply for a Parental Order to be recognised as the legal parents of the child. Until the order has been made the Surrogate will be considered the legal mother. Whilst it is understandable for the intended parents to worry about what might happen if the surrogate sought to keep the baby or for the surrogate to worry about what might happen if the intended parents changed their minds. It is worthwhile considering that whilst there have been thousands of successful surrogacy arrangements there have been very few (less than 5) reported cases where the surrogacy arrangements have broken down.
It is a common misconception that it is illegal to pay a surrogate more than her expenses. The issue of any payments made is simply a consideration of the Family Court when deciding whether to make a Parental Order. The court has to balance the payments made to surrogates as against the child’s needs of requiring a parental order.
There is no international synchronisation of surrogacy law. Birth certificates and parental orders obtained outside the UK will not automatically be recognised in the UK and therefore you will need to take action to have your family’s legal status secured under UK law.
You will need to carefully consider the following:
What will your initial legal status be?
Ensuring that you can get home safely with your surrogate born child. UK immigration law on surrogacy provides a number of alterative routes home, how this law is applied will vary from country to country.
Ensuring that you will be eligible to apply for a Parental Order upon your return to the UK.
The legal status of your surrogate in the UK.
The law relating to surrogacy can be very complex. Please contact us if you would like advice or assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.