Landmark international surrogacy case – child’s welfare is paramount

We are pleased to report that we have successfully won legal parenthood status for a British couple who entered into an international commercial surrogacy arrangement with a surrogate mother in Illinois.

In only the third published decision of its kind (Natalie having also acted for the parents in the first High Court decision of this kind, Re X and Y, made in 2008), the court upheld the best interests of the child and authorised payments of more than expenses to the surrogate mother.

The court’s decision in the case of Re L made the front page headline in the Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/8190131/Childless-couples-win-the-right-to-pay-surrogate-mothers.html) with a further article, following an agreed statement made anonymously by the parents (who wished to tell their side of the story), several days later (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8194099/Surrogacy-couple-paying-American-woman-was-our-last-chance-for-a-child.html).

The case is important in establishing that, following changes to the law made in 2008, the welfare of the child is now the court’s ‘paramount’ consideration. Judgment was published on 8 December 2010 by Mr Justice Hedley and it has been heralded as a landmark decision awarding legal status to the parents notwithstanding the public policy ban on commercial surrogacy in the UK.

More information about international surrogacy law is available on our website.

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