Surrogacy, a practice where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another family, has become a beacon of hope for many aspiring parents around the world.
This method of family building caters to various individuals, including those facing medical challenges preventing pregnancy, same-sex couples, and single individuals wishing to become parents.
While surrogacy opens doors to parenthood that might otherwise remain closed, it navigates a legal and ethical landscape that requires careful consideration, from the types of surrogacy available to the intricacies of international surrogacy laws.
Below, we address some of the most common questions we get about this modern parenting route.
Keep reading for key surrogacy legal advice.
What Is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is where a woman becomes pregnant with a child and carries the child for another family. The woman who carries the child is the surrogate, the intended parents are those who intend to parent the child.
Traditional or genetic surrogacy is where the egg of the surrogate is used. Gestational or host surrogacy is where the surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child.
Why do people have children through surrogacy?
There are a number of reasons, but most common reasons people look to surrogacy are either for medical reasons such as difficulties carrying a pregnancy to term or because they are not in a relationship with a female.
How common is surrogacy?
It is hard to know exact figures but in 2022, 624 Children were the subject of applications made for parental orders transferring parentage following surrogacy in England and Wales.
Common Surrogacy FAQs
Not in this country; you can pay reasonable expenses but no more.
It is illegal to advertise that someone is looking for a surrogate or is willing to be a surrogate. A surrogacy agency may be useful as they can help match surrogates and intended parents. They may also provide a wealth of support and guidance. Different agencies charge different fees. In many cases, the surrogate and the intended parents are known to each other, and the parties may feel comfortable proceeding without an agency. If treatment takes place in HFEA licensed clinic then the clinic will need to ensure that certain advice is given and counselling is offered.
There are a combination of reasons, and these are very personal reasons. Some people prefer the security of pre-birth orders which may be obtained overseas, some people prefer using a commercial agency. Others consider that there is a greater availability of surrogates abroad. There are, of course, advantages to turning to surrogacy in the UK.
The surrogate and possibly her spouse or civil partner will be the child’s legal parent(s), and the intended parent(s) will need to obtain a parental order to transfer parentage. A solicitor will advise about the requirements to obtain an order as well as the steps that need to be taken.
Because parentage conferred through surrogacy abroad is not automatically recognised in England and Wales, you would still need a parental order for the parentage to be recognised here.
At least one of the intended parents must be domiciled in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. Domicile is different to nationality, and a national of another country may acquire domicile, but it is imperative that legal advice is obtained beforehand.
Possibly, but it depends upon where you are domiciled, and you should seek legal advice beforehand.
No, although there are many advantages of using a clinic, such as medical screening and counselling.
Thankfully, this is very rare.
Surrogacy cases which sour are still relatively rare but they would tend to be where the relationship between the surrogate and intended parent has deteriorated, it can be where one party feels exploited and/or where the parties barely knew each other prior to the pregnancy.
No. On 8 November 2023 the Government responded that parliamentary time does not allow for the changes to be taken forward at the moment.
Get In Touch For More Surrogacy Legal Advice And Support
If you have any questions or you’re looking for legal support during the surrogacy process, get in touch.
Disclaimer: The information on the TV Edwards website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication.