Understanding surrogacy

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Understanding surrogacy

23 Jan 2014

Things to know when considering surrogacy

Many couples are turning to surrogacy as a way to start or grow their families, but in the UK surrogacy is governed and restricted by a number of complex legal rules which can be intimidating for many potential parents.

Surrogacy is the process whereby a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby on behalf of a couple, with the intention that the child born will be the child of that couple.  A surrogate may or may not be genetically related to the baby she carries.

Some basic key facts of surrogacy may come as a surprise for those who are unaware of the process:

  • “Commercial” surrogacy, where fees are paid for arranging a surrogate/parent relationship, is illegal in England and Wales.
  • Surrogacy agreements are not enforceable under UK law, regardless of whether contracts have been signed and expenses paid for.
  • In the UK, the woman who gives birth to a child is automatically his or her legal mother – whether or not she is genetically related.
  • The intended parents can acquire parental responsibility for their child following the birth, by obtaining a Parental Order.  There are strict legal requirements which the court must be satisfied have been met before a Parental Order will be granted.
  • A Parental Order will only be granted if one or both of the intended parents is genetically related to the child.

The legal requirements of surrogacy are complex and vary greatly from country to country.  Anybody considering surrogacy should take legal advice from the very earliest stages in order to safeguard their family from the outset and ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.

The Family Law department at Kuits has taken couples through the international surrogacy process to the successful application for Parental Orders.

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