Surrogacy is increasingly becoming an option for UK families unable to conceive a child themselves. Surrogacy is legal in the United Kingdom, although any surrogacy arrangements made in this regard are not enforceable by law.

Should you choose to use a surrogate, that mum will be the child’s legal parent at birth. Legal parenthood can only be transferred by adoption or a parental order after childbirth.

Robertsons Family Law Solicitors know the practical realities of surrogacy. We can help our clients start a family and navigate the legal surrogacy process with them.

We can help you plan your surrogacy, secure parentage, and give you specialist legal advice on fertility treatment and the moving of embryos if necessary. International surrogacy is also a fast-growing area.

We can help you comply with the legal requirements in the UK and give you legal advice on specific immigration and nationality issues relating to particular countries.

The Surrogate Process

First, you should decide if surrogacy is right for you and which organisation you want to work with.

Choose the intended parents, a surrogate and an egg or sperm donor.

The parties should get to know each other and compile a surrogacy agreement.

Conception takes place at a fertility clinic, and the surrogate gets pregnant.

The child is born, and legal parenthood is transferred to the intended parents.

Please note that you can’t advertise privately for a surrogate or offer such services in the UK. Also, a surrogacy agreement can only be negotiated between the intended parents and the surrogate mother as the parties cannot pay a solicitor to do this. Support in the UK can be found at the not-for-profit organisation Surrogacy UK.

The Surrogacy Agreement

The surrogacy agreement sets it all in writing. The agreement is not a legally binding document but rather a statement of intention. However, it doesn’t mean it is not important. A detailed and written agreement makes sure that there is effective communication and mutual understanding between the parties.

Each surrogacy agreement is different, but critical parts to be included are:

All the parties’ relevant details and marital statuses.

Pre-conception arrangements, as well as how conception is going to take place.

Arrangements in pregnancy such as antenatal appointments, how much information the intended parents will get and how they will be involved in the process and decision-making.

Birth and post-birth arrangements and what to do if something goes wrong.

Communication with the child and future arrangements in this regard.

Parental order applications and how the surrogate’s expenses will be paid and handled.

Surrogacy and the surrogacy process is a complex and difficult area of the law. You should obtain legal advice as early as you can in the process to ensure that it is handled correctly. You can also find out more about child arrangements and parental responsibility.

FAQs on Surrogacy

Why do surrogates do it?

We won’t always know! Each person is different. Sometimes it can be watching someone close to them experience infertility and wanting to ‘pay it forward’ somehow. It can also be as simple as enjoying pregnancy but not wanting more children.

I’ve heard that there are two types of surrogacies. What are they?

Partial surrogacy is when the surrogate mother’s egg is fertilised with the sperm of the intended father. Full surrogacy is where the surrogate carries the already fertilised egg and where the baby has no genetic connection to the mother. Instead, the egg comes from the intended mother or another donor.

Am I allowed to get a surrogate from outside the UK?

Yes, it is allowed, but you must make sure that you comply with the regulations in the surrogate’s country. Some countries are stricter than the UK, but others are not.

Our experienced solicitors at Robertsons Family Law can help you get legal advice from that jurisdiction and help you return to England or Wales with the child after birth. You mustn’t operate on assumptions. We can help.

How can I become my new baby’s legal parent?

You need a parental order from the court, and your surrogate must consent to it. Once you have the parental order, the IP (intended parents) become the legal parents of the newborn.

If you are thinking about surrogacy, it is vital to get legal advice. The surrogacy process has many pitfalls and heartbreak, and our expert solicitors at Robertsons Family Law can help you navigate the waters. We can discuss surrogacy and its legal implications.

Can a surrogate decide to keep the baby?

It is extremely rare, but it has been known to happen. Should the surrogate decide to keep the baby, the intended parents can ask the court to intervene. The court will determine what is in the best interest of the child in that particular scenario.

Does a surrogate ever see the child again?

Once the IP get a parental order, the surrogate has no ties to the child. However, many surrogates and parents decide to stay in touch.

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