Many parents are crossing borders for surrogacy, sometimes for personal reasons but more often to access surrogacy services not available in the UK. The USA, India and the Ukraine are common foreign surrogacy destinations, but others are now emerging as well.
British couples going abroad for surrogacy
If you are based in the UK and looking abroad for surrogacy, it is sensible to explore the legal issues carefully. The law does not join up internationally, which means that, even if the law is straightforward in the country where your child is born, you will need to take additional steps to secure your parental status in the UK. Find out more about how English surrogacy law applies if you are British (or based in the UK) going abroad for surrogacy.
You can also download our free information leaflet for couples considering surrogacy in the USA.
Non-British couples living in the UK and British couples living abroad
If you have foreign connections (or live outside the UK), it is sensible to explore the UK legal issues to ensure that you can secure your legal status as your child's parents and that your child has the immigration rights and nationality status that he or she needs. We work with many expatriate families with British links, as well as with non-British couples living in the UK. Find out more about how the law applies for non-British couples considering surrogacy in the UK or abroad.
Immigration and nationality
If your child is born in a country where you do not live, one of your first priorities will be getting home. The law on immigration and nationality after international surrogacy is not straightforward, but can be managed with the right planning. Find out more about immigration and nationality law issues for international surrogacy.
How we can help
We have helped hundreds of families created through surrogacy, and represented the parents in virtually all the key court decisions which have made the law in this field since the very first international surrogacy case in 2008. Our published cases include AB v DE (2013) (the first Russian surrogacy case), J v G (2013) (the highest payment ever authorised, for Californian surrogacy), Re A and B (2013) (a case dealing with whether a foreign couple living in the UK was UK domiciled), Re D and L (surrogacy) (2012) (the first ever decision to make a parental order without the surrogate's consent, after an Indian surrogate mother disappeared), Re IJ (2011) (a Ukrainian case in which the dangers of international surrogacy were highlighted), Re L (2010) (the case which established that welfare took priority over the rule against payments, something which has created a precedent for every subsequent international surrogacy case) and Re X and Y (2008) (the very first international surrogacy case). Find out more about our Surrogacy Law Services or contact us for help.
In 2013, we also launched Brilliant Beginnings, a UK based non-profit making surrogacy and egg donation agency. Our commitment is to support parents with the practicalities of building families through international surrogacy in ways which are safe, legal, ethical and responsible. Find out more about how Brilliant Beginnings helps intended parents.
Judge awards parenthood to gay dads after Indian surrogate 'disappears' - our blog, and the Telegraph and Daily Mail
Surrogacy: creating a sensible national and international legal framework - International Family Law, September 2012
The Indian surrogacy industry - and why we need to reform UK surrogacy law - Bionews, June 2012
International surrogacy law conference in Las Vegas - Family Law (journal) article, February 2012
Crossing borders for surrogacy: the problems for families and policymakers - Bionews article, May 2011
Fertility tourism: what you need to know - Infertility Network UK magazine, Winter 2010
The chosen middle ground: England, surrogacy law and the international arena - International Family Law (journal) article, November 2009
Crossing the Line: the legal and ethical problems of foreign surrogacy - Reproductive Biomedicine, August 2009
Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy): a trek through a thorn forest (with Lucy Theis QC, now Mrs Justice Theis) - Family Law (journal) article, March 2009