Family Building Options for Heterosexual Couples

Infertility affects one in seven heterosexual couples in the UK.  Fortunately, there are a number of family building options which can help you have a much wanted child or complete your family.


Surrogacy is legal in the UK but it is legally restricted for public policy reasons. Surrogacy arrangements commissioned in the UK are not legally binding and are not enforceable under contract law. There is also a restriction against commercial surrogacy in the UK. 

For English legal purposes, the woman who carries the pregnancy is the legal mother of the child at birth. The post birth English legal solution for surrogacy is a parental order, which gives intended parents the legal rights and responsibilities they need to make their child a legal member of their family and care for them in the UK. 

Currently only people who are married, civil partnered or in an enduring family relationship are eligible for a parental order.  

Our specialist team is well-prepared to help you keep your family legally safe and secure as you build your family through surrogacy.

Donor conception

Increasing numbers of couples are using donated eggs, sperm or embryos to create or complete their family.

You may wish to use eggs, sperm or embryos from: an anonymous donor, known donor or an inter-family donor. There are different legal implications depending on your personal situation and the status of the donation.

For English legal purposes, the woman who carries the pregnancy is the legal mother of the child at birth. The legal status of your partner (or donor) will depend upon your relationship status and the nature of your conception.

It is important to give informed consent to fertility treatment so you understand the legal issues and implications for yourself, your partner or donor and your future born child.  The law is not always a 'good fit' in assisted conception cases and this makes it important to obtain expert legal advice from the outset to protect your much wanted family.


Adoption is an option for single people or for couples. Adoption is when a child becomes the legal child of the adoptive parents. 

Adoption may be domestic, with your child having been born in the UK.  Alternatively, adoption can be international in nature, with your child having been born abroad. Domestic adoption requires you to undergo a comprehensive assessment to illustrate that you can meet the potentially complex needs of adoptive children. We also have expertise within international adoption and can assist you with cross-border issues and international law.

The specific expertise of our team will make your journey to parenthood by adoption a smooth one.

Other Family Matters

You may have a different family matter that we can help you to resolve. Please contact us if you need assistance with a child or family dispute, or with a specialist will which will help protect your family. Our service is caring and supportive and tailored to your specific needs.

How we can help

Our team will offer you a sensitive and supportive legal service.  We will help you navigate your way through the legal side of creating your family to include:

  • gaining an understanding of the law and its implications in practice
  • giving informed consent to fertility treatment at a UK licensed fertility clinic
  • management of complex personal situations proactively
  • legal troubleshooting in the event of unexpected problems or disputes
  • acquisition of legal parenthood for your child
  • acquisition of parental responsibility for your child
  • preparation of  'family proof' Will/s

For further legal advice and assistance please contact Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores, by email or call +44 (0)207 7886382.