More and more couples these days are looking to enter into a surrogacy arrangement.
Surrogacy law in this country is inadequate and has resulted from various legislative reforms and case law which has developed over the last ten years.
The major problem with the current law is the complexity surrounding parenthood and parental responsibility and the fact that the surrogate will always be the legal parent of, and have parental responsibility, until a Parental Order has been obtained.
If the surrogate is married, she and her husband (or wife/civil partner) will be the legal parents.
If the surrogate is not married (or her spouse does not consent) there is a choice as to who is the second parent.
The surrogate is responsible for registering the birth and will be registered as the mother (together with her spouse/ civil partner or one of the intended parents if the mother is not married).
The danger is that if you do not apply for a Parental Order then you will never have legal status for the child which will remain with the birth mother, even if the child is living with you.
A Parental Order makes the intended parents the legal parents of the child and permanently extinguishes the parenthood of the surrogate and her spouse/civil partner.
Once a Parental Order is made, the birth will be re-registered to record both intended parents as the legal parents, and a new birth certificate will be issued.
Without a Parental Order, you will not have parental responsibility for the child and will not be able to make important decisions including giving consent to medical treatment, registering at school and the child will NOT be your child for inheritance purposes.
This can leave the intended parents and the child in a very vulnerable position
How To Obtain A Parental Order
To obtain a Parental Order, the intended parents must satisfy the family court that the order is in their child’s best interests.
The intended parents must apply for an order during the period of six months beginning with the day on which the child is born.
At the time the application is made, the child’s home must be with the intended parents and they must be domiciled in the United Kingdom.
There are strict conditions and the court must be satisfied that the woman who carried the child and any other person who is a parent, agrees unconditionally to the making of the order.
If the surrogate does not consent, then a Parent Order cannot be made.
A Parental Order secures the legal status of intended parents under UK law, and is needed even if the parents are already named on their child’s foreign birth certificate.
Without a Parental Order, one or both of the intended parents will not be a legal parent in the UK.
If you wish to discuss this or any other children or relationship issues then please contact Suzanne Moore at Sinclair Law on 01625 526222 [email protected]