Section 12 of the Gender Recognition Act states: The fact that a person's gender has become the acquired gender under this Act does not affect the status of the person as the mother or father of a child.
This provision clearly protects the existing legal parenthood of trans parents who have children before they change legal gender. It means that you will remain your children's legal father if you become a woman, and you will remain your children's legal mother if you become a man.
There is no clear provision for transgender parents who conceive after having transitioned. Our view is that section 12 also applies to parents who conceive after a gender transition, enabling you to claim the parenthood status you would have had under your previous gender. In other words, if you give birth you can claim to legally be a 'mother' (even if you are a man), and if you provide your sperm you can claim to legally be a 'father' (even if you are a woman). Although this interpretation of the law is not legally tested in the family court, we know that the UK Home Office accepts it in respect of recognising British nationality.
You might also be able to claim parenthood status via the rules created to make non-biological parents legal parents in donor conception cases. If your partner carries your child, you will automatically be the other legal 'parent' if you are married or in a civil partnership with her (even if you are not a biological parent). In other circumstances it might be possible to nominate you as the other legal parent. Find out more about parenthood in donor conception cases.
If a surrogate carries your child, she is treated as the legal mother. If she is married (or in a civil partnership) her husband/spouse is your child's other parent. Most parents through surrogacy apply for a parental order after the birth to reassign parenthood fully and permanently to them. This is the legal solution designed for surrogacy cases and it triggers the issue of a birth certificate for your child which records you and your partner as the legal parents (without any gender specific titles).
You can only apply for a parental order if you are married, civil partners or living with a partner in an enduring family relationship, and if you or your partner's eggs or sperm are used. If you are not eligible for a parental order, other options, including adoption, might be available but they are more complex. Find out more about legal parenthood and parental orders after surrogacy.