Surrogacy law for professionals

Professionals in the UK

There are a range of UK professionals who get involved in surrogacy arrangements.

Pre-conception
UK fertility clinics cannot match patients with surrogates.  However, 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). 

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 how the law governs surrogacy arrangements in the UK.

Post-birth
Legal questions sometimes arise for professionals about who has legal rights after the birth.  Questions can arise for doctors, maternity hospitals, health visitors, social services and CAFCASS officers.  Employers may also have questions about what rights their employees have if they are intended parents or surrogates.  Find out more about legal rights in the post-birth period.

Professionals outside the UK

Attorneys, agencies, fertility doctors and other professionals outside the UK may be involved with UK intended parents (and more rarely UK surrogates).  UK law will be relevant if your clients are British, live in the UK or intend to live in the UK in the future, and they may ask you:

Getting home – Will our child be British? What documentation will we need to travel home (to the UK or elsewhere) after the birth?  Find out more about UK nationality and immigration.

Securing parentage – Foreign birth certificates and court orders are not recognised in the UK in surrogacy cases. UK law applies its own rules and parents typically need to make an application to the court in the UK in addition to any international processes. Find out more about UK parenthoood and parental orders

For US attorneys, Natalie wrote a guide for Family Law Quarterly - Made in the USA: representing UK parents conceiving through surrogacy and ART in the USA