The family law team at OTS Solicitors have years of experience of in-country and international surrogacy. We understand the long road many couples have travelled before arriving at the decision to have a child by surrogate. As an award-winning law firm, highly-ranked in the Legal 500, we are here to help you understand the complex laws surrounding surrogacy and ensure your family goes home together.
For more on how our Family team can help you, visit our dedicated Family Law site.
At OTS Solicitors, our family law solicitors possess a wealth of experience advising and representing on surrogacy matters. We provide caring, practical advice in a friendly, sensitive manner. Our primary aim is to ensure you undertake the surrogacy process with full knowledge of your legal position and all the requirements of the surrogacy arrangement are met, in both the UK and overseas jurisdictions (if applicable).
As well as family law, OTS Solicitors has a specialist Immigration law department. Our Immigration and family law teams collaborate extensively to ensure clients who are considering international surrogacy are supported through every stage of the process.
The members of our family law team belong to Resolution, an organisation whose members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family. The group also lobbies for changes in family law to ensure it is meeting the needs of the community.
By instructing us to advise you on surrogacy matters, you can be confident we will provide you with expert legal advice on how the law works, not only the UK, but in foreign surrogacy arrangements, in the surrogate’s home country. In international surrogacy arrangements, we can assist you with the Immigration process to ensure your baby can enter the UK and obtain British Citizenship.
Is surrogacy legal in the UK?
Under UK law, a woman who gives birth to a child is its mother and therefore has automatic parental rights. Surrogacy contracts are not enforced in the UK, therefore, if the surrogate decides to keep the baby, she can, even if it is not genetically related to her.
It is illegal to pay a surrogate in the UK; however, you can reimburse her for reasonable expenses.
Is it legal to pay a surrogate from an overseas country?
In many countries, including America (in some states), India, Russia, and Ukraine, surrogacy agreements are legally enforceable. Other countries allow surrogacy arrangements but do not permit the mother to be paid anything over and above reasonable expenses. These countries include Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium.
It is imperative you have an experienced solicitor explain the laws of the country where the surrogate mother is domiciled. Our multi-lingual solicitors can assist you in a quick, responsive manner.
What are the different types of surrogacy?
There are three different types of surrogacy:
Surrogate mother or carrying mother
A surrogate mother (or carrying mother) is a woman who carries a child in accordance with the surrogacy arrangement (made before she began to carry the child) with a view to the child being handed over to, and the parental responsibility being met by, another person or other persons.
Total surrogacy or gestational surrogacy
Total (or gestational) surrogacy involves the commissioning mother donating an egg that is fertilised by sperm from the commissioning father before being implanted in the carrying mother (the surrogate). The commissioning couple are therefore the genetic parents of the child, but the surrogate is the legal mother of the child pending the making of a parental order,
Partial surrogacy involves the artificial insemination of the surrogate using the sperm of the commissioning father. The surrogate is the genetic and legal mother of the child pending the making of a parental order.
How do the commissioning parents of a surrogacy obtain a parental order?
The applicants of a parental order must be either:
- husband and wife
- civil partners
- two people living together in a durable relationship
At present, under the section 54 (1) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, a single person cannot apply for a parental order in a surrogacy situation. This has been noted as incompatible with Human Rights law and a proposal for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Remedial Order) 2018 has been laid before both Houses of Parliament.
In most cases, the application for a parental order must be made within six months of the child’s birth. The court must also be satisfied that no monies, aside from ‘reasonable expenses’ has been paid to the surrogate.
We can assist you with obtaining a parental order. Because we can advise you throughout the entire surrogacy process, you can be confident that you will meet all the eligibility requirements before applying.
How do I bring the child back to the UK after a surrogacy birth?
If the child has been born abroad, he or she may not be a British Citizen, even if both parents are British.
If the child is not born British, an application to register them as British will need to be made. This can be a lengthy and complex process; however, we will provide expert advice and support to your whole family during the surrogacy and any subsequent Immigration matters.
Let us guide you through the surrogacy process
Our family and Immigration law solicitors have the experience you can rely on to help you navigate through the complicated process of adopting a child from overseas. We are a friendly, sensitive, compassionate team, dedicated to caring for the best interests of the child and helping parents make their dreams of adopting from overseas materialise.
Many parents have entrusted us to assist them with their surrogacy matters. We take our responsibilities to them and their baby extremely seriously. By approaching each case in a bespoke manner, we ensure every family who comes to us feels fully supported throughout the surrogacy process.
For a more detailed discussion regarding surrogacy, or to book an appointment with a member of our family law team, please call us now on 0203 959 9123.
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