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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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
This printable NGA leaflet gives an overview of how UK law works for parents conceiving through surrogacy in the USA.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This article for the Infertility Network UK magazine (published autumn 2008) explains to fertility patients how surrogacy law works, and the difficulties for parents.
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
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
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.
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.
This guidance published by the Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is the reference point for parental order reporters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.