Get Expert Advice On Surrogacy Law When Applying For A Parental Order
Surrogacy is an area with a number of legal pitfalls but a series of High Court decisions have helped to make the process slightly easier.
Specialist advice is always essential when starting a family with the help of a surrogate mother because the legal position is complex. Get expert legal help here.
It is vital to apply for a parental order because this confirms the legal parents of the child.
Without a parental order, the child faces a difficult legal future with uncertainties over its inheritance rights. It could also make it harder to apply for a passport for the child.
Unless the intended parents obtain a parental order through the court, legal parenthood will remain with the surrogate mother and – if she is married or in a civil partnership – with her husband/partner also.
This is because the law dictates that whoever gives birth to a child will automatically be their legal parent and have parental responsibility.
That is regardless of the fact the surrogate parents may have no genetic connection to the baby – and that the genetic parents are the intended parents who supplied the eggs and sperm.
Previously, under section 54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, people had a maximum of six months to apply for a parental order.
That limit was relaxed last year following a High Court judgment in the case of Re X and now another High Court case has echoed that.
There are also other facts about of the latest case which should send an important message.
To quote Mrs Justice Theis: “A striking feature of this case is the lack of knowledge the applicants had about the need for a parental order to secure their legal position in this jurisdiction in relation to children born as a result of the surrogacy arrangement.
“This observation is not meant as any criticism of the applicants. They had diligently researched the position on the internet prior to entering into the surrogacy agreement with the clinic in India.”
But despite all their research, despite seeing a number of professionals – including a GP and a health visitor – no-one told them about the need for a parental order.
Only when a family support worker raised the issue did they realise that a parental order would be required.
Moral of the story: it is important to get legal advice from a family law solicitor who specialises in surrogacy law.
For further information, please contact Coles Miller family law solicitor Richard Perrins, a specialist in surrogacy and fertility law, 01202 694891.