Surrogacy law

Whether you wish to be a surrogate, or plan to conceive a child using a surrogate, you should be aware of your legal rights and obligations. Surrogacy is strictly regulated - get legal advice before you agree to anything.

Caroline Andrews, Brentwood

Please be aware that if you choose to enter into a surrogacy agreement, a solicitor will be unable to offer any advice, due to the Surrogacy Act 1985 which prohibits surrogacy being for commercial gain.

Surrogacy disputes

Often, intended parents considering surrogacy, worry about what will happen if the surrogate does not hand over the baby at birth. There are applications that can be made to the court by the surrogate or intended parents, through the Children Act and you should take specialist legal advice. 

At Tees, we have expertise in resolving complex surrogacy disputes. We can represent parties in court on these applications. We also offer mediation, if appropriate, where we will meet you to identify and discuss the issues and reach an agreed way forward together.  

What is a surrogacy agreement?

While surrogacy agreements are not legally enforceable in England and Wales, many intended parents do still choose to enter into a surrogacy agreement, because it sets out important and often sensitive information ahead of the birth of the child such as:

  • the time and place of conception i.e. using a fertility clinic or at home.
  • the expenses of the surrogate mother to be paid by the intended parents
  • when the baby will be handed over to the intended parents
  • if there will be any contact between the surrogate and the baby after the baby is handed over to the intended parents.

You may find our page on fertility law useful also.

What is a parental order?

To be recognised legally as the parents of the child, the intended parents must apply for a parental order. This must be done within six months of the child being born. You can apply for a parental order if you are married or are a civil partnership couple. For single parents the law is a little more complex. 

Should I make a special will?

Just as when you become parents in any circumstance, it’s important to update your will. You will need to consider:

  • any wishes concerning the child
  • add a guardianship clause
  • your wishes relating to your pension
  • temporary provisions whilst the parental order is ongoing. 

At Tees our specialist wills solicitors can help with drafting your will.   

We’re here to help

Come in and see a family law solicitor for a FREE 30 minute face-to-face consultation about your options. Alternatively, if you want us to take a closer look at your situation, for a fixed fee of £150 + VAT, we can talk with you for up to 90 minutes.

Call our Family and Divorce law solicitors on 0808 231 1320

Surrogacy law FAQs

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 and any loss of earnings.

What are my employment rights as a surrogate or intended parent?

Surrogate mothers will have the right to 52 weeks maternity leave and have the option to return to their job after their maternity leave. Intended parents may have the right to adoption leave or parental leave, but only one parent will be able to take adoption leave. If there are two parents, then the other may be entitled to paternity leave.

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. 

We understand your situation and our expert team are here to help

Get in touch to speak with someone who can help you move forward.

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Tees coronavirus update

We’re open and here to help you. We’re running as normal with our employees all working from home.

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You can call us as normal on 0800 013 1165 or email us: hello@teeslaw.com.

You can also find contact details for all our advisers here. 

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If you are a client, please be assured you can get in touch with Tees and we are still working on your case. To replace face-to-face meetings, we have the facilities to do video-conferencing, conference calls or just speak on the phone, as you need.

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