Surrogacy for single men and women
English law does not prohibit single people pursuing surrogacy, but it makes it very difficult. The legal solution for surrogacy (which gives parenthood to the intended parents after the birth and extinguishes the status of the surrogate mother) is not available to those who are not married, civil partners or living with a partner. This can leave solo parents without the legal authority that they need to be able to raise their child in the UK.
We want to see this changed, to accommodate single parents, and are continuing to lobby for this. In the meantime, single men and women building a family through surrogacy must take great care with the legal issues and may need to be creative with the law.
What are the risks of surrogacy for a single parent?
English law might not recognise you as a parent of your child, even if you are the biological parent (and even if you are named as the parent on a foreign birth certificate). This can affect your legal right to make decisions about your child's care in the UK, creating significant legal problems for the future. Your surrogate mother is also likely to retain rights and status under English law (including financial responsibility) which might be difficult for you to dissolve.
If your child is born through surrogacy abroad, difficulties might also arise in relation to your child's nationality and immigration status, which could leave your child stranded abroad.
The extent to which these risks apply and whether they can be managed depends on your particular circumstances.
How we can help
We are the UK's leading experts in UK and international surrogacy law, having represented hundreds of families and acted in most of the UK's leading international surrogacy cases. We are the only solicitors in the UK who specialise exclusively in fertility law and who deal with both complex and straightforward surrogacy cases every day.
We are also proud to champion solo parent families. Natalie drafted an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which would have opened parental orders to solo mothers and fathers, something that was debated in Parliament but unfortunately rejected at the Committee stage. We were also heavily involved in the abolition of the previous legal requirement for UK fertility clinics to consider the child's 'need for a father' before giving treatment, something which for many years discriminated against solo mothers.
Find out more about our surrogacy law services.
More information and NGA in the news
First single dad to become a parent through UK surrogacy - November 2012
A guide for single dads building families - from our blog