Surrogacy law is complex if you cross borders for fertility treatment and enter into a surrogacy arrangement abroad.  There is no international harmonisation of surrogacy law and this creates international conflicts of law.  English law will not automatically recognise a foreign parentage order or birth certificate naming you as the parents of your surrogate born child.

Subject to eligibility, English law expects intended parents to obtain a parental order for their surrogate born child.  A parental order is the English tailor made legal solution for surrogacy.  This reassigns legal parenthood and parental responsibility from a surrogate mother (and her spouse or civil partner) to a child's intended parents and extinguishes the legal rights and responsibilities of the surrogate parents for the child.

If you have multi-national status and/or international connections (including foreign nationals working and residing in the UK and expatriates) you should ensure you meet the legal domicile criteria to be eligible to apply for a parental order.  

It is the consistent message of the English Family Court that you should obtain expert legal advice at the outset of your surrogacy journey to navigate the complex legal issues arising from an international surrogacy arrangement. This enables you to navigate the legal pitfalls, ensure your surrogate born child is not left in "legal limbo" abroad and you can secure the appropriate legal status to care for your child in the UK.

We provide sensitive supportive and expert legal advice on:

  • application of UK surrogacy law internationally
  • navigating a safe path home after the birth of a surrogate born child
  • acquisition of legal parenthood for a surrogate born child
  • acquisition and exercise of parental responsibility for a surrogate born child
  • eligibility for a parental order
  • applying for a parental order in the English Family Court
  • legal significance of payments to surrogates, agencies or fertility clinics
  • managing a surrogacy dispute
  • preparation of specialist wills for intended parents and surrogates

To find out more about our services click here.

Read more about UK or international surrogacy law in our resource hub.

Gain an understanding of wider issues in development of and current issues surrounding fertility, parenting, surrogacy and family law in the UK and internationally. Click here to visit our Media and Publications section. 

Discuss your situation and arrange an introductory meeting with Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores: email louisa.ghevaert@michelmores.com or telephone +44(0)207 7886382.

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