Parental order after international surrogacy
There is no international harmonisation of surrogacy law. As a result, English law does not automatically recognise a foreign parentage order for a child born through an international surrogacy arrangement.
This creates an international conflict of law which leaves children born through overseas surrogacy arrangements in legally vulnerable situations (in some cases stateless and legally parentless).
Under English law a surrogate mother and her spouse or civil partner are legally recognised as the surrogate born child’s parents at birth. A parental order reassigns legal parental status from a surrogate mother and her spouse or civil partner to the intended parent/s.
English law therefore expects intended parents to obtain a parental order in the English Family Court for a child born through an overseas surrogacy arrangement. The failure to obtain a parental order for a surrogate born child creates serious legal issues and difficulties, which include:
- One or both intended parents lack legal parenthood for their surrogate born child.
- One or both intended parents lack parental responsibility for their surrogate born child.
- One or both intended parents is not financially responsible for their surrogate born child.
- The surrogate born child lacks an automatic right of inheritance from one or both intended parents.
- The surrogate parents retain legal parental status for the child for English legal purposes.
We have leading expertise in successfully obtaining parental orders in the English Family Court for children born through international surrogacy arrangements. We can also, where necessary, obtain other family orders to safeguard surrogate born children and their families under English law. We provide supportive and bespoke legal advice, which includes:
- Assessing and advising on intended parent/s eligibility for a parental order (including domicile status, treatment of commercial surrogacy payments, consent of surrogate parents).
- Generic advice about citizenship, nationality and immigration law.
- An application and process for a parental order in the English Family Court.
- Acquisition and operation of parental responsibility under English law.
- Resolving arrangements for a surrogate born child in the event of a dispute with a surrogate, donor, clinic, agency or intended parent.
- Obtaining alternative family orders in respect of a surrogate born child (including wardship order, child arrangements order, obtaining and restricting parental responsibility, adoption order).
- Financial provision for a surrogate born child.
Click here to find out more about our work and leading cases in the area of international surrogacy.
Our legal services are flexible and accessible. We can provide on-off legal advice, bespoke legal representation in parental order and family proceedings in the English Court and a legal mentoring service for those undertaking self-representation in legal proceedings.