There are a range of UK professionals who get involved in surrogacy arrangements, including surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics, medical professionals, social workers and CAFCASS.
Only non profit-making organisations are allowed to provide surrogacy matching services in the UK, and there are some detailed rules and restrictions. Find out more about the UK legal framework for surrogacy.
Fertility clinic professionals
If conception takes place at a UK fertility clinic, the treatment is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Fertility doctors, nurses and counsellors have a range of duties, including quarantining, counselling and giving information about legal parenthood (under new guidelines which came into effect in October 2013 which we advised the HFEA on). Find out more about UK fertility treatment for surrogacy.
Legal questions sometimes arise about the duties of hospitals where surrogate children are born. See our guidance for maternity hospitals and midwives. Questions may also arise about who has the right to consent to a child’s medical treatment, both in the hospital where they are born and during the limbo period before the position on parenthood is resolved. Find out more about childcare and decision-making.
Social workers and CAFCASS officers
Social services rarely have a remit to get involved in surrogacy situations, even if parents are caring for a child without having parental responsibility (if the parents intend to apply for a parental order). Find out more about how the law works for social workers.
CAFCASS (the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, part of the family court system) is involved in the parental order application process after the birth. The family court appoints a parental order reporter from CAFCASS, who will visit the family (and the surrogate if she is based in the UK) and prepare a report advising the court as to whether the requirements of the law are met and, crucially, whether the reporter recommends a parental order as being in the child’s best interests. CAFCASS publishes guidance for parental order reporters.