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National Adoption Week: Surrogacy and the Law

Posted on October 7, 2020
Surrogacy and the Law

Although it is National Adoption Week between 12 and 18 October, we thought it may be helpful to also provide some information about surrogacy, as this is another option for those wanting to start a family who are unable to conceive a child themselves.

The Government has produced guidance which is intended to give key information about surrogacy and the relevant legal process in the UK. Jefferies has considerable experience in this field also.

The UK Government supports surrogacy as part of the range of assisted conception options. The law in relation to this has evolved and will no doubt do so in future.

Surrogacy can be a challenging process on many levels and starts with deciding which surrogacy organisation to work with, deciding which surrogate or intended parent(s) (IP(s)) to work with, reaching an agreement about how things will work, trying to get pregnant, supporting each other through pregnancy and then birth, applying for a parental order to transfer legal parenthood and then helping your child understand the circumstances of their birth.

At Jefferies, we do have significant experience in dealing with applications for parental orders. Some are relatively straightforward and may not need legal advice or assistance with, but other cases have resulted in transfer to the High Court and complex hearings. This can happen where the legal requirements for the making of a parental order do not appear to be properly met which are laid out in s.54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (“HFEA 2008”).

Applications can become problematic where the Court becomes concerned about the amount of expenses paid, the consent of the donor or anyone else with parental responsibility and whether they have had access to appropriate advice to name just 2 commonly occurring problems. The applicants must be:
(a) husband and wife,

(b) civil partners of each other, or

(c) two persons who are living as partners in an enduring family relationship and are not within prohibited degrees of relationship in relation to each other.

Other conditions such as residence and time period for the application must also be adhered to.

The significance of a parental order for the parties to a surrogacy arrangement is immense as parental order is one which has a transformative effect on the legal relationship between the child and the applicants. The effect of the order is that the child is treated as though born to the applicants.

Please do contact us if you would like further guidance and advice in relation to the legal and Court aspects of surrogacy.  Contact our Family Solicitors on 01702 443 480 or email

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