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Surrogacy for mum-dad parents

There are different types of surrogacy for mum-dad intended parents: Gestational surrogacy - If you have embryos in storage or are able to create embryos through IVF treatment (either using your own gametes or donated eggs or sperm), they can be transferred to a surrogate, who then carries a child she is not biologically related to. Traditional surrogacy – Your surrogate donates her egg to you as well as carrying your child. She might conceive through IVF treatment or artificial insemina...

Surrogacy for gay dads

UK law supports gay dads conceiving through surrogacy in the same way as it does straight couples.  It is against the law for anyone to discriminate against you on the basis of your sexual orientation. There are different types of surrogacy: Gestational surrogacy – You create embryos with eggs from a donor and sperm from one of you, which are then transferred to your surrogate (who is therefore not the biological mother). Many UK fertility clinics offer egg donation treatment and ca...

Surrogacy for single dads

English law does not prohibit single dads having children through surrogacy (and we work with many who do it), but there is no legal framework. This can make things difficult because: There is no straightforward way of sorting out the UK legalities to extinguish the surrogate’s responsibilities and secure sole parenthood. It is harder to find a surrogate in the UK. If you are conceiving with a surrogate in the UK or abroad, it is critical to ensure that you will be your child&rs...

Surrogacy for single mums

UK law does not prohibit single mums from having children through surrogacy, but in practice legal complications make it difficult. The surrogate, rather than you, will be the legal mother of your child (even if you are the biological mother and even if you are named as the mother on a foreign birth certificate). Find out more about UK legal parenthood. If your child is born outside the UK, securing British nationality and the documentation you will need to travel home could be...

Surrogacy for UK professionals

There are a range of UK professionals who get involved in surrogacy arrangements, including surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics, medical professionals, social workers and CAFCASS. Surrogacy agencies 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,...

Surrogacy for professionals outside the UK

We work with attorneys, agencies, fertility doctors and other professionals from around the world.  As a professional based outside the UK, you will need to consider UK law if: Your clients are British Your clients live in the UK Your clients intend to live in the UK in the future The key issues, from a UK perspective, are likely to be: Nationality and immigration – Will the child be British? What documentation will the parents need to travel home (to the...

Surrogacy for surrogates and their families

It is legal to be a surrogate in the UK.  The only aspects of surrogacy which are illegal are advertising (you cannot advertise that you are willing to be a surrogate) and commercial brokering (only non-profit organisations can match surrogates with intended parents in the UK).   Find out more about the UK framework for surrogacy. It is not illegal to receive payments for surrogacy in the UK (this is a common misconception) although if you are paid more than reasonable expenses t...

International surrogacy law

Many parents cross borders for surrogacy, sometimes due to personal connections but more often to access surrogacy services not available at home.  The most established international surrogacy destinations are the USA (particularly California), India, the Ukraine and Georgia.  New destinations are also emerging, including Thailand, Russia and Canada. The law does not join up internationally which makes it important to understand the legal issues in every country involved.  If you...

Bringing a child back to the UK after international surrogacy

Getting home is often the first priority for UK parents with children born through surrogacy abroad. Bringing a surrogate child back from the USA Children born in the USA are always American citizens and UK parents can typically obtain a US passport within 1-2 weeks.  Parents can in practice travel back to the UK using their child's US passport, but this carries some risk as there is no right to admission on arrival in the UK.  The safer route is to apply for a British passport or an...

British nationality and passports for children born through surrogacy

British nationality gives a child the right to a British passport, and to enter and live permanently in the UK.  There are four ways by which a child born through surrogacy may become British (and so get a British passport): By birth - If your child is born in the UK and has a British citizen legal parent (including a UK surrogate) he or she will be British by birth. By descent - If your child is born outside the UK, he or she will be British by descent if born with a British legal parent...

The framework for surrogacy in the UK

Surrogacy is legal in the UK, but there are some restrictions. Surrogacy brokering services The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 makes it illegal for third parties (except non profit-making organisations) to match parents and surrogates in the UK. Non-profit agencies can match (subject to some complicated restrictions). There is no licensing or regulation of UK agencies. Surrogacy matching services have historically been offered in the UK through COTS and Surrogacy UK, organisations run by...

Surrogacy agreements under UK law

Although it is legal to enter into a surrogacy agreement in the UK, any surrogacy contract is unenforceable.  This means that everyone relies on each other to honour the agreement, both in respect of handing over the child and in respect of expenses and any other issues. Many intended parents worry about what would happen if their surrogate wanted to keep the baby; equally, many surrogates worry about what would happen if the intended parents did not assume responsibility after the birth.&...

Payments for surrogacy

It is a common misconception that it is illegal for UK parents to pay a surrogate more than expenses. This is wrong; there is no such offence in UK law. The issue of payments is simply a consideration for the family court if a parental order application is made after the birth. The law says that the court can only make a parental order (making the intended parents the legal parents) if it is satisfied that no more than reasonable expenses been paid, or if the court agrees to authorise any payme...

UK parenthood law after surrogacy

Under UK law, the legal mother of a child born through surrogacy is always the surrogate. Married surrogates If the surrogate is married at the time of conception, her husband is the legal father unless it is shown that he did not consent to the conception.  The same rule now applies to make a same-sex partner the other legal parent, if the surrogate is in a civil partnership or same-sex marriage at the time of conception. It is not possible for a spouse to 'opt out' of being the other pa...

Parental orders: what they do

Parental orders reassign parenthood fully, giving parenthood and parental responsibility to the intended parents, extinguishing the parental status of the surrogate and her spouse permanently, and conferring British nationality (where relevant). Parental orders also trigger the issue of a new (or first UK) birth certificate for the child.  The child's original UK birth certificate (if any) will be kept by the General Register Office as part of the Parental Order Register, and can be access...

Parental orders: what the court assesses

To obtain a parental order, the applicants (intended parents) must satisfy the court that they meet all the criteria set out in the legislation: The conception must have taken place by embryo transfer or artificial insemination, and the child must have been carried by a surrogate One or both of the intended parents must be the child's biological parent The intended parents must be married, civil partners or living together as partners in an enduring family relationship The intended parents...

Parental orders: how the process works

Intended parents apply for a parental order by completing court Form C51 and submitting it to their local family court (or the Central Family Court in London in international cases) within six months of the birth. The court will 'issue' (stamp) the application and should send a copy, together with a Form C52 (acknowledgement) to the intended parents.  The intended parents must give this to their surrogate (and her husband), who should sign and return the C52 Form to the court.&n...

Parental orders: international surrogacy cases

A parental order is needed following international surrogacy to secure parentage in the UK (find out more about what parental orders do).  Applications are typically heard before specialist judges in the High Court, and detailed evidence is required (find out more about the court process).  The criteria the court has to assess are the same as with any parental order application (find out more about what the court assesses).  However, there will be more detailed scrutiny, with par...

Alternatives to a parental order

A parental order is the legal remedy designed for surrogacy situations, so alternative options should be considered only as a last resort, and remain largely untested.  However, for some parents (including single parents and those who have missed the six month deadline) parental orders are not available. Adoption An adoption order is the closest alternative to a parental order.  Like a parental order, it extinguishes the surrogate parents’ responsibilities and gives permanent p...

Surrogacy and UK birth registration

If the child is born in England or Wales, the birth will be registered under the law of England and Wales.  Only people who are the legal parents of the child can be registered on the birth certificate.  Find out more about legal parenthood after surrogacy. The surrogate needs to attend the birth registration, as she is the legal mother and is responsible for registering the birth.  She will be registered as the mother.  If she has a spouse or civil partner who is the othe...

UK fertility clinics and surrogacy

Fertility treatment for surrogacy which takes place in the UK is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.  The HFEA Code of Practice sets out the obligations of UK fertility clinics. Legal parenthood Fertility clinics have to give patients information about who the legal parents will be and who will have parental responsibility following conception at a UK fertility clinic.  In 2013, we advised the HFEA and helped them to update their guidance.  It is now cl...

Surrogacy disputes: between parents and surrogates

Those considering surrogacy often worry about surrogacy agreements not being binding, and fear what might happen if the surrogate did not hand over the baby at birth (equally many surrogates fear that the intended parents will not assume responsibility for their child). In fact, serious disputes of this kind between parents and surrogates are rare. There have been only two UK reported cases dealing with UK surrogacy arrangements in which the surrogate has not handed the baby over at birth. Each...

Parents who separate after or during surrogacy

Parents who have obtained a UK parental order will be recognised as joint legal parents of their child by UK law and will share parental responsibility. If they separate, they should be treated in exactly the same way as any other natural or adoptive parents. In the case of G v G (2011) a father through surrogacy (who wished to enhance his own position in a separation) attempted to have a parental order overturned on the basis of procedural irregularities and the fact that his wife had dec...

Decision-making rights after the birth of a child through surrogacy

Because UK law does not recognise the intended parents as the legal parents of their child from birth, there is inevitably a period of time during which the family (and the surrogate's family, if based in the UK) is in legal limbo, even though the parents assume care of their child immediately from birth. Questions sometimes arise as to who can make decisions about the child's care during this time, for example medical decisions. Who has parental responsibility? UK surrogacy cases A surrogate...

Wills and life insurance for surrogacy

It is important to protect everyone involved in a surrogacy arrangement against the risk of one of the adults involved dying unexpectedly.  Most intended parents pay for life insurance for their surrogate, to make sure that her family is financially protected if anything happens to her as a result of the pregnancy. All those involved in a surrogacy arrangement should also make or update their wills well in advance of the birth. The intended parents should: Provide for the payment of ex...

Maternity/ adoption leave for surrogacy

Surrogates, like all other birth mothers (including those who relinquish children for adoption) are entitled to full maternity leave and employment protection. The government is currently working on new regulations which will, in addition, introduce a form of adoption leave which will give the equivalent of maternity/paternity leave and pay for intended parents through surrogacy, to enable them to care for their new baby in the same way as other parents. The new rules will come into force on 5...

Surrogacy: legal issues at maternity hospitals and with midwives

Surrogacy births are increasingly common in the UK, and require sensitive handling to ensure that everyone's interests are cared for. Policies for managing surrogate births Brilliant Beginnings is currently working on a model surrogacy policy for maternity hospitals as part of its campaigning work. The policy sets out that maternity hospitals and midwives dealing with surrogate pregnancies should consider: How to ensure that all those involved (the surrogate, her partner and the inten...

Social services involvement in surrogacy

As long as the intended parents propose to apply for a parental order within six months of the birth, social services do not need to become involved in surrogacy situations, even if the intended parents are caring for a child without parental responsibility. Where the parents propose to apply for a parental order The law says that intended parents who are caring for a child and 'propose' to apply for a parental order are not in a private foster arrangement (see The Human Fertilisation and Embry...

History of UK surrogacy law

UK surrogacy law still has its roots in the 1980s.  The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 was rushed through Parliament as a reaction to the 'baby Cotton' case which attracted significant media attention.  It was hoped that restricting the arrangement of surrogacy would smother the practice before it developed (something which has not happened in practice). The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 provided that surrogacy arrangements were unenforceable but created a legal mechani...

How UK surrogacy law needs to change

Through both Natalie Gamble Associates and Brilliant Beginnings, we are continuing to campaign for better surrogacy law in the UK.  The existing law was never properly considered at policy level and, with growing numbers of children born through surrogacy in the UK and overseas, a review is overdue. We need a better framework for surrogacy which better supports all involved, and ensures that things are managed ethically and responsibly.  With improved law in the UK, fewer parents woul...

UK surrogacy for non-UK parents

The UK is not generally a destination country for non-UK parents. Surrogacy services are restricted in the UK (which can make finding a surrogate more difficult) and the legal issues are complex. However, some non-UK parents do conceive with surrogates in the UK, most commonly where a friend or family member based in the UK has acted a surrogate. The non-UK intended parents will not both be recognised as legal parents under UK law which means that they will not both be registered on the birth...

The role of CAFCASS in children disputes and parental order applications

The Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) is a government body managed by the Ministry of Justice, and is part of the family court system. Its role is to provide an independent assessment and reporting function to assist judges hearing children cases. CAFCASS officers are qualified to work with children, and often have a social work background. Preliminary safeguarding checks on the parties to a case will be carried out by CAFCASS when an application is first made. CAFCA...

NGA info sheet: For non-UK surrogates working with UK intended parents

This printable NGA leaflet gives an overview of UK law for non-UK surrogates who are working with UK intended parents. US attorneys and other non-UK professional advisers may find this useful to give to surrogates being matched with UK intended parents.

NGA info sheet: For UK parents going to the US for surrogacy

This printable NGA leaflet gives an overview of how UK law works for parents conceiving through surrogacy in the USA.

NGA info sheet: For non-UK surrogacy professionals working with UK parents

This printable NGA leaflet gives an overview of UK law for non-UK professionals working with UK intended parents, including US attorneys and overseas surrogacy agencies.

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour: maternity leave and surrogacy law reform (25 April 2014)

Natalie appears on BBC Radio 4 discussing the topic of those who become parents through surrogacy being given employment rights from 2015

NGA publication: A guide to surrogacy for gay men (We Are Family, Winter 2013)

Natalie wrote a feature for We Are Family magazine (winter 2013) celebrating the launch of Brilliant Beginnings and talking about the legal issues for gay men conceiving through surrogacy in the UK and abroad.

NGA publications: Maternity leave for surrogacy (LexisNexis, Nov 2013)

This question and answer interview with Natalie about the changes to maternity leave rules in surrogacy cases was published by Lexis Nexis in November 2013

NGA publication: The HFEA gets into gear on surrogacy (Bionews, Oct 2013)

The HFEA updated its Code of Practice guidance on surrogacy in October 2013 (following advice from NGA). Our article, published in Bionews in May 2013, explains the changes.

NGA publications: Maternity leave rights for parents through surrogacy (INUK, Spring 2013)

This article for the Infertility Network UK magazine (published 2012) explains the government decision to extend maternity leave rights to parents through surrogacy.

NGA publication: Should surrogate mothers still have an absolute right to change their minds? (Bionews, Oct 2012)

UK surrogate mothers have always had a protected status in UK law. Natalie's article, published in Bionews in October 2012, argues that this Victorian approach to surrogacy needs to be changed.

NGA publication: Surrogacy needs a sensible national and international framework (International Family Law, Sept 2012)

In response to the announcement that the Hague Conference was looking into whether to regulate international surrogacy, Natalie wrote a piece for International Family Law (published in September 2012) urging the Hague to understand the practical realities of surrogacy.

NGA publication: The Indian surrogacy industry and why we need to reform UK surrogacy law (Bionews, June 2012)

India is a popular surrogacy destination for UK parents. Our article, published in Bionews in June 2012, explains how things work in practice for UK parents going to India, including the lengthy immigration processes after the birth and the need to secure a parental order.

BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour: surrogacy and maternity leave in Parliament (April 2012)

Jane Garvey from BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour interviews Natalie about Parliament's consideration of maternity leave rights for UK parents through surrogacy

ITV Daybreak – the campaign for maternity leave for surrogacy (ITV, April 2012)

Natalie being interviewed on ITV Daybreak regarding the lack of maternity leave rights for UK parents through surrogacy

NGA publication: International surrogacy law conference in Las Vegas (Family Law, February 2012)

This piece for Family Law (published in February 2012) reports on the global assisted reproduction law conference in Las Vegas at which Natalie spoke in October 2011. It talks about the challenges of cross-border reproduction, and how things have evolved for UK parents engaging in international surrogacy and assisted reproduction.

NGA publication: Made in the USA – representing UK parents through surrogacy and ART (US Family Law Quarterly, 2011)

After speaking at a global surrogacy conference in 2011, Natalie was asked to write this practical guide to UK surrogacy law for US attorneys, which was published in Family Law Quarterly in the USA in Spring 2012. It is relied on widely by US attorneys as an authoritative how-to manual for working with UK Assisted Reproductive Technology clients.

NGA publication: Your surrogate will end up keeping the baby, won't she? (INUK, Winter 2011)

Many people think that surrogacy arrangements often break down, with the surrogate keeping the baby. Natalie’s article, published in charity Infertility Network UK’s magazine for fertility patients dispels the myth and explains how UK law really works

NGA publication: Can you trust your surrogacy lawyer? (Bionews, Sept 2011)

US surrogacy attorney Theresa Erickson was sent to prison for running a surrogacy scam which amounted to baby-selling. The case shocked many who had previously regarded the US as a 'safe' surrogacy destination. Our article about the story, published in Bionews in September 2011, explains what happened and why the case should not give surrogacy in the USA a bad name.

NGA publication: International surrogacy payments, public policy and media hype (Family Law, May 2011)

This article, published in Family Law in May 2011, explains the case of Re L (2010) (the case in which the High Court said that the welfare of the child overrode policy against commercial surrogacy) and its significance. The case attracted significant media interest as a legal milestone, and we represented the parents.

NGA publication: The rise of alternative families (INUK, Spring 2011)

Natalie’s article, published in the Infertility Network UK magazine (spring 2011) looks at how things have changed for same-sex parents and families created through surrogacy and donation over the last ten years

NGA publication: Crossing borders for surrogacy: the problems for families and policy makers (Bionews, May 2011)

Our article, published in Bionews in May 2011, highlights the growing legal problems associated with international surrogacy arrangements and how the UK immigration authorities and family courts are responding.

NGA publication: Surrogacy, parenthood and disputes (Bionews, Feb 2011)

Re TT (a minor) was the first disputed surrogacy case published in the UK in which a surrogate mother kept the baby. This article, published in Bionews in February 2011, discusses the case and its implications.

NGA publication: After the birth of Elton's baby, can the UK deliver surrogacy reform? (The Guardian, Dec 2010)

In December 2010, Natalie was asked to write a Comment for the Guardian newspaper in response to the birth of Elton John's first child. Her editorial slates UK surrogacy law for its outdated and unworkable framework, and calls for urgent change.

NGA publication: Fertility tourism: what you need to know (INUK magazine, Winter 2010)

More parents than ever before are crossing borders for fertility treatment involving egg donation and surrogacy. Natalie's article for charity Infertility Network UK's magazine (published winter 2010) summarises the legal issues for UK fertility patients considering treatment overseas.

NGA publication: England, surrogacy law and the international arena (International Family Law, Nov 2009)

Our article, published in UK journal International Family Law in November 2009, summarises UK policy and law on surrogacy, and looks at how the UK courts are dealing with situations where parents cross borders for surrogacy.

NGA publication: Moving surrogacy law forward (Bionews, Nov 2009)

In 2009, the Department of Health issued a public consultation on changes to the parental order regulations. Natalie's comment piece for Bionews, published in November 2009, highlights the consultation and argues for changes to the draft regulations. (We subsequently gave expert evidence as part of the consultation and this led to a number of key changes, including the award of British nationality to children through surrogacy).

NGA publication: Modern surrogacy in the UK (The Review, Sept 2009)

Our article, published in The Review (journal for family solicitors) in September 2009 gives an overview of how surrogacy works in the UK in law and in practice

BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour: surrogacy and the need for maternity leave (BBC, June 2009)

Jenni Murray from BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour meets two mums through UK surrogacy and talks to Natalie about why intended mothers have no rights to maternity leave

NGA publication: Two mums and a baby (INUK, Autumn 2009)

Natalie's article, published in the Infertility Network UK magazine's for fertility patients in autumn 2009, looks at the changes to the law for lesbian couples conceiving together, which came into effect in 2009, allowing two women to be named on a child's birth certificate for the first time.

NGA publication: Crossing the line: the problems of foreign surrogacy (Reproductive Biomedicine, August 2009)

Our article, published in medical journal Reproductive Biomedicine in August 2009, explains the UK's approach to surrogacy, and how it is being tested in an increasingly globalised world.

NGA publication: Re X and Y, a trek through a thorn forest (co-written with Lucy Theis QC, now Mrs Justice Theis) (Family Law, March 2009)

This article, published in Family Law in March 2009, explains the case of Re X and Y (2008) (the very first UK case to ratify an overseas surrogacy arrangement) and its significance. It was co-written by Lucy Theis QC (now Mrs Justice Theis, the judge of the High Court responsible for deciding international surrogacy cases) with whom we represented the parents in the case.

BBC Radio 4 File on Four – why has surrogacy law not been updated? (BBC, January 2009)

Natalie Gamble is part of Jon Manel's program, finding out if the law is keeping pace with the increasing numbers of British couples who are having children using surrogate mothers, both in Britain and abroad.

NGA publication: The last battle for equality? Gay and lesbian parents to be (3Sixty, Dec 2008)

Natalie's article for 3Sixty magazine from December 2008 talks about the changes to the law for gay and lesbian parents.

NGA publication: The minefield of surrogacy law (INUK, Autumn 2008)

This article for the Infertility Network UK magazine (published autumn 2008) explains to fertility patients how surrogacy law works, and the difficulties for parents.

NGA publication: Children of our time - surrogacy law in the UK (Family Law Journal, Nov 2008)

UK fertility law was updated in 2008, but only minor changes were made to surrogacy law. Natalie's article, published in Family Law Journal in November 2008, argues that the government missed an opportunity to make UK surrogacy law fit for the 21st century.

NGA publication: Challenging Conceptions – legal parenthood and the HFEA (The Review, Sept 2008)

Natalie's article, written for family lawyers and published in the Review in September 2008, examines the rules on legal parenthood under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.

NGA publication: Why UK surrogacy law needs an urgent review (Bionews, April 2008)

Natalie's article, published in Bionews in April 2008 while the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2008 was being debated in Parliament, argues that the Bill should be amended urgently to address problems with UK surrogacy law.

Court form - C51 (parental order application form)

This is the court form you will need to complete and send to the family court if you wish to apply for a parental order

Court form - C52 (parental order acknowledgement form)

This is the court form which is completed and signed by a surrogate (and her spouse) to confirm that they have been sent a copy of the parental order application

Resources: Foreign and Commonwealth Guidance on Surrogacy Overseas

The FCO has issued guidance for UK parents on the different routes for obtaining travel documentation following the birth of a child through surrogacy overseas. The guidance also includes a letter from the British High Commission in Mumbai which UK parents need in order to apply for an Indian medical visa enabling them to travel to India to make a surrogacy arrangement.

Resources: Form MN1 (application for British nationality registration)

This is the application form you will need if you are applying for a child born through international surrogacy to be registered as a British citizen.

Resource – CAFCASS guidance for parental order reporters

This guidance published by the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is the reference point for parental order reporters.

NGA publication: Stonewall Gay Dads Guide

Gay rights charity Stonewall has produced a guide for gay dads starting a family. We were proud to help write the sections on surrogacy and co-parenting.

UK court decision: JP v LP (2014) - parents through surrogacy separated, court could not alter parenthood

A mother and father through surrogacy separated shortly after the birth and missed the deadline to apply for a parental order. The court was unable to resolve their legal status, leaving the child a ward of the court and leaving the surrogate as the legal mother.

UK court decision: AB v DE (2013) (also reported as Re C (2013)) – international surrogacy, Russia, payments, welfare, immigration

In the UK's first Russian surrogacy case, a British couple (a woman in her mid-sixties and a man in his 40s) initially applied for a British passport without disclosing the surrogacy context before making a proper application for British nationality registration. The court was satisfied that the mother's age and the incorrect initial immigration application should not prevent the making of a parental order in their favour. We acted for the parents in this case.

UK court decision: J v G (2013) – international surrogacy, USA, payments, legality of UK surrogacy agency, offences

A British gay couple were matched with a Californian surrogate by the British Surrogacy Centre. The UK court agreed to authorise the highest ever payment for overseas surrogacy ($56,750 plus surrogate's expenses) and the decision was published to send a message 'loud and clear' that parents through US surrogacy need a parental order. It also highlighted criminal restrictions in the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 and a copy of the judgement was sent to the relevant authorities to investigate.

UK court decision: AB v SA (2013) - domicile, Indian surrogacy, non-UK parents

A non-British gay couple with a son born through surrogacy in India was granted a parental order. The court decided that, despite having settled recently in the UK, the couple had formed sufficient intention to make the UK their permanent home and were 'domiciled' in the UK. We acted for the parents in this case.

Court decision: Re D and L (2012) – international surrogacy, India, surrogate consent

A UK same-sex couple was awarded a parental order without the consent of the Indian surrogate mother after she disappeared. This was the first time a parental order had ever been granted without the surrogate's consent, and Mr Justice Baker set out the limited circumstances in which the court could dispense with consent if the surrogate could not be found. We acted for the parents in this case.

UK court decision: Re TT (2011) - UK surrogacy, residence dispute, care awarded to surrogacy who kept the baby

A UK traditional surrogate mother changed her mind and decided to keep the baby. The intended parents applied to the family court for a residence order (an order that the child should live with them) which the court refused. In this case, the court decided that the child should stay with the birth mother, who offered the best care.

Court decision: Re IJ (2011) – international surrogacy, Ukraine, immigration

A British couple encountered legal and immigration difficulties after conceiving with a married surrogate in the Ukraine. The court made a parental order, and published its decision to highlight the continuing lack of information for parents in international surrogacy cases. We acted for the parents in this case.

UK court decision: Re L (2010) – international surrogacy, USA, payments

A British couple engaged a US surrogate mother in Illinois. Building on the previous guidance in Re X and Y (2008) and Re S (2009), this was the case in which the High Court said that the child's welfare should be the court's 'paramount consideration' and that a parental order should be denied only if the case was one of the 'clearest abuse of public policy'. The case attracted significant media interest, as it gave permission to commercial surrogacy

Court decision: Re S (2009) – international surrogacy, USA, payments

A British couple engaged a surrogate mother in California who was paid a commercial sum of $23,000. In the second UK court decision authorising an international surrogacy arrangement, the UK court expanded on its thinking in Re X and Y (2008), made clear that the Californian court order on parentage was not recognised and set out further guidance about the approach the court should take.

UK court decision: Re X and Y (2008) – first UK authorisation of an international surrogacy arrangement, Ukraine, payments

A conflict between Ukrainian and UK law over parenthood meant that twins born through surrogacy to a British couple in the Ukraine were 'stateless and parentless'. In the very first UK court decision authorising an international surrogacy arrangement, the UK court made a parental order, authorised the payments made, and set out the approach the court should take to international surrogacy. Our team (whilst at a previous law firm) acted for the parents in this case.

Court decision: Re G (2007) – Turkish parents refused a parental order after conceiving with a UK surrogate mother, COTS

A Turkish couple had a child through surrogacy in the UK, having been matched with a surrogate mother by UK agency COTS. The court could not make a parental order because neither of the parents was 'domiciled' in the UK. The case also includes comments on the legal position of surrogate's husbands, and the need to regulate UK surrogacy agencies.

UK court decision: Re N (2007) also reported as Re P (2007) - residence dispute, parents given care after surrogate kept the baby

A UK traditional surrogate mother feigned a miscarriage, and the intended parents, who discovered she had given birth to a little boy, applied to the family court for a residence order (an order that the boy should live with them). The court transferred care to the intended parents, because this was deemed to be in the child's best interests in this case.

Resources: Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 deals with parenthood law in surrogacy cases. Sections 33 to 53 set out who are treated as the legal parents when a child is born. Section 54 sets out the rules on parental orders.

Resources: HFEA Code of Practice guidance on surrogacy

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s Code of Practice gives guidance to fertility clinics on surrogacy, setting out how UK clinics should deal with surrogacy cases, and explaining the procedures and options for allocating legal parenthood

Resources: Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985

The Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 creates the offences of surrogacy brokering and advertising. It also sets out that surrogacy agreements are unenforceable under UK law.