Surrogacy - UK Law and key aspects to consider

What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is where a woman agrees to become pregnant and carry a child during that pregnancy for a couple or an individual.

Surrogacy has increased significantly in recent years. Perhaps because a woman cannot carry a pregnancy to full term for health reasons or because the couple are in a male same sex relationship. Recent changes to the law in the UK have also relaxed the need for the intended parents to be in a relationship.

Whatever the reason behind the decision, surrogacy is increasing in popularity and many people are considering it as an alternative to infertility treatments.

There are key aspects to consider however, before embarking on a surrogacy arrangement.

  • In the UK a surrogate mother cannot be paid for carrying a child, however the intended parents are expected to cover the reasonable costs of the surrogate. One such cost would be paying for her to receive independent legal advice which is a requirement of any UK surrogacy agreement.
  • Surrogacy is a legal arrangement, however it is illegal for intended parents to advertise for a surrogate. Therefore a surrogate must offer to carry a child during pregnancy for the intended parent or parents.
  • A surrogate is deemed to be the legal mother of the child irrespective of genetics or agreement. It is only on the making of a Parental Order by the Court that the legal parentage of the child is transferred to the intended parents.

The UK Government has recognised that surrogacy laws need to evolve to accommodate changing public perceptions and to better regulate the process for both intended parents and surrogates. The Law Commission is therefore undertaking an independent review of surrogacy services which aims to provide recommendations and draft legislation in Autumn 2022.

Our Family team can assist you with your surrogacy agreement, independent legal advice for your surrogate or help to apply for a Parental Order for legal parenthood.

Please contact us on 01229 811811, for advice on how we can assist you through your surrogacy journey.

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