Surrogacy Law Solicitors In Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset
Surrogacy law can be complex and fast changing as the UK legal system endeavours to keep pace with medical advances and changes in modern society.
It is essential to seek legal advice from solicitors with specialist expertise and extensive experience of helping parents considering surrogacy, IVF or adoption.
Contact Coles Miller family law solicitor and mediator Richard Perrins, who specialises in surrogacy and fertility cases.
Applying For a Parental Order - Why It Is So Important
People who have become parents with the help of a surrogate mother should apply for a Parental Order. This is vitally important because it determines who are the legal parents - in other words, who has parental responsibility for a child born through surrogacy.
Without a Parental Order, the child could face significant legal problems in the future. It could affect many areas of their life including their education, medical care, inheritance rights, pensions and even passport applications.
Unless a Parental Order is made by a UK court, legal parenthood rests automatically with the birth mother and her husband, civil partner or long term partner - even if they have no genetic connection with the baby.
The Human Fertility and Embryology Act 2008 states that:
- Both the parents applying for a Parental Order must be aged 18 or over.
- They must be married, in a civil partnership or in an enduring relationship. (For more information on the rules governing single parents, read this Coles Miller blog post).
- One or both parents must have a genetic link to the child.
- The child must be in their care at the time of the application.
- One or both parents must be domiciled in the UK. Not simply resident in the UK - they must have been born in the UK (domicile of origin) or must have selected the UK as their permanent home (domicile of choice).
The law also makes important stipulations with regard to:
- Consent - the surrogate mother and her partner must agree to the making of the Parental Order. Consent must be given at least six weeks after the birth of the child (a cooling off period for the surrogate mother).
- Expenses - commercial surrogacy is restricted in the UK. Under the law, generally only expenses may be paid to the surrogate mother - rather than a fee. However, in certain circumstances the court may authorise payment in excess of expenses if it is in the best interests of the child. This may occur in cases involving international surrogacy arrangements.
- Immigration - this is a vital consideration in international surrogacy cases. Parents who have gone abroad to make arrangements with a surrogate mother in another country will need to make arrangements to ensure they can travel with their new child.
- The application for a parental order should be made within six months of the baby being born. However, recent decisions in the High Court have shown that - in certain circumstances - an application outside this time frame may be considered. Read more about it here.
Domestic v International Surrogacy Law - Commercial Surrogacy Agreements
Many prospective parents considering surrogacy will go abroad to find a surrogate mother. The USA, India and Ukraine have become popular destinations for this purpose in recent years. This is due in part to the lack of structure in the UK for such arrangements.
In the UK, all international surrogacy cases go directly to the High Court. They are heard by judges with specialist knowledge of surrogacy law.
Commercial surrogacy agreements and contracts made in other countries are not legally recognised in the UK. They may provide the UK court with some guidance but are not binding in this country.
What If The Surrogate Mother Changes Her Mind?
This is a question that our family law solicitors are asked regularly by couples thinking of becoming parents through surrogacy.
It is incredibly rare for this to happen but we can assist with these disputes if they arise.
The usual course of action is to pursue an application through the family court for a Child Arrangements Order as the Parental Order would no longer be available.
Get Expert Legal Advice From Coles Miller
For more information about surrogacy law, Make An Enquiry using the email contact form on the right hand side of this page or contact Coles Miller.
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