What does a co-parenting agreement cover?

A co-parenting agreement covers:

  • Who the child will live with
  • Who will have parental responsibility
  • Who will be named on the birth certificate
  • How much contact the child will have with the other parent 
  • Decision making once the child is born e.g. where they will go to school
  • Consent to treatment and storage and what happens if there is a dispute?

What is a preconception agreement?

A document which sets out how the arrangement will work between your known donor, or co-parent, before you conceive. Please note, a preconception agreement cannot be used in cases of surrogacy, where different rules apply. Preconception agreements are not legally binding, however they are still worthwhile as they can help you plan out some of the more difficult details of the arrangement such as:

  • Who will the child live with and spend time with
  • Who will have financial responsibility
  • Where will the conception take place, at home or at a clinic
  • Set out any issues such as responsibility for schooling or medical decisions
  • Who will be the legal parents of the child after fertility treatment?
Is surrogacy legal in the UK?

It is legal to have a child through a surrogate in England and Wales. However you cannot profit from advertising or arranging a surrogate.  You should not pay someone to be your surrogate, but you may be expected to cover reasonable expenses of the surrogate such as: treatment costs, legal costs and any loss of earnings.

Who are the legal parents of a child born through a surrogate?

When the child is born, under English and Welsh law the surrogate will automatically be the legal mother of the child. If the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, then their partner will be the other parent of the child initially. 

The intended parents will need to apply for a parental order within six months of the child being born, in order to become the legal parents of the child. Married or civil partnership couples are able to apply for a parental order. For single parents the law is a little more complex. 

It can take several months for a parental order to be granted and the intended parents must meet the various criteria which include:

  • Being biologically related to the child (and if a couple, a least one must be child’s biological parent)
  • Have the child living with you
  • Reside permanently in England or Wales.

When the parental order has been granted by the court, the child’s birth certificate will be re-issued with the intended parents recorded as the legal parents. 

What is a civil partnership?

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