Complex personal situations and needs can give rise to unforeseen and unwanted legal and practical difficulties when building a family (by natural conception or through assisted conception) including:

  • Relationship issues with an existing or previous partner (e.g. new relationship, lack of commitment to family building together, separation from a spouse or civil partner).
  • Uncertainty about legal status of a new partner (e.g. acquisition of parental responsibility or legal parentage by a cohabitee or step-parent).
  • Lost or impaired fertility, family building and fertility claims (e.g. due to illness, injury, medical negligence).
  • Age, social, cultural, ethnicity and religious issues (e.g. impacting access to fertility treatment, choice of donor eggs or sperm or use of surrogacy).
  • Intra-family donation, fertility treatment and family building (e.g. using donor eggs or sperm from a sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, parent to provide a genetic family connection with a child).
  • Trans and non-binary gender and identity issues.
  • International lifestyle legal and practical issues (e.g. lack of legal parentage, parental rights, citizenship or a passport due to overseas birth or residence of a child born through assisted conception).
  • VIP service needs (e.g. heightened confidentiality and due diligence requirements and individually tailored approach to meet the needs, expectations and wishes of VIP, high profile and high net worth individuals).
  • Complex issues arising from the results of a direct-to-consumer genetic test (e.g. about the identity, communication with or legal status of a biological parent, relative, donor or surrogate).

We are supportive and open-minded. We appreciate the importance of handling complex personal issues carefully and sensitively when seeking to create a family. We work closely with you and tailor our legal services to best suit your individual needs and wishes.

Our preeminent legal expertise spans the fertility, medical and family law sectors. We provide bespoke legal solutions and cutting-edge legal advice, operating at the forefront of law and policy in the UK.

Our legal services are flexible and accessible and they help you place family building and future family life on a firm legal basis.

How we can help

Our expert fertility and family lawyer services include:

  • Legal packages.
  • Bespoke legal advice for your situation, needs and wishes.
  • Preparation of legal documentation.
  • Legal support and representation in court proceedings.

Package One

Complex personal situation legal review

This provides initial bespoke expert advice for those with complex personal issues and needs, who wish to build a family. It

  • Provides legal advice on fertility law in the UK.


 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

Bespoke legal services

We provide further expert tailored legal advice and representation on fertility and family law issues, including :

  • Declaration of legal parentage in cases where HFEA consent forms have been lost or completed in error or following results of a direct-to-consumer genetic test.
  • Evidencing and documenting consent and lack of consent to UK fertility treatment and legal parental status for those with complex personal situations.
  • Difficulties with storage and use of eggs, sperm and embryos in treatment (e.g. storage limits, risk of destruction, change of consent and use).
  • Resolving posthumous conception law issues with fertility treatment.
  • Bespoke expert witness law services to support claims for fertility treatment, donor conception and surrogacy following medical negligence (e.g. expert legal reports).
  • Resolving legal parentage of a child conceived through assisted conception.
  • Resolving the care and upbringing of a child conceived through assisted conception.

Leading cases

Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with numerous leading and cutting-edge fertility law cases encompassing complex personal circumstances, including:

X v Y [2022] EWFC 77, representing the applicant in a complex application for a declaration of parentage in the English High Court following an ancestry website search and a 35-year quest to find her biological father to resolve issues relating to her identity and her birth certificate. In granting the application, the court highlighted the fundamental importance relating to identity, status and parentage and the re-registration of birth certificates to provide properly maintained records not just for the benefit of individuals but for the public as well. In doing so, the court navigated complex legal issues and drew inferences from the respondent’s refusal to undergo DNA testing.

Re X,Y and Z (Children: Parental Orders: Time Limit) [2022] EWHC 198 (Fam), an important legal ruling where the English High Court stepped in and granted parental orders for 3 surrogate born children following complex international conflicts of law between the US (California & Oregon), Denmark and the UK, extending the six-month statutory deadline for issue post birth and carefully navigating complex legal issues associated with the collapse of a US surrogacy agency, a pending criminal charge of assault against one of the intended parents and serious legal difficulties in Denmark where Danish authorities threatened to deport the children.

Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX [2020] UKSC 14, a landmark ruling where the UK Supreme Court by a majority of 3:2 dismissed the defendant hospital’s appeal. This enabled the recovery of damages for commercial surrogacy, donor conception and fertility treatment in the US for a woman left  infertile and unable to carry a pregnancy following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies. Louisa Ghevaert gave expert evidence in the case, which featured in The Guardian (1 April 2020) and in BioNews (6 April 2020).

XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust [2018] EWCA Civ 2832, where for the first time the Court of Appeal awarded damages for the costs of fertility treatment, donor eggs and commercial surrogacy in California for a woman rendered infertile and unable to carry a pregnancy following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies. Louisa Ghevaert gave expert evidence in the case, which featured in The Telegraph 19 December 2018 and The Times, The Telegraph, The Mail Online and The Mirror on 27 January 2019.

AB v CD, EF, GH & IL [2018] EWHC 1590 (Fam), representing an intended mother in international contested assisted reproduction and modern family law proceedings in the High Court concerning 2 surrogate born children. This case marks a legal first in the treatment of blended families in the UK following assisted reproduction, divorce, re-marriage, serious allegations of domestic violence and abuse as well as the legal status and identity of two surrogate born children, their biological, intended and social parents and arrangements for the children’s care and upbringing.

Y v A Healthcare NHS Trust & The HFEA & Z (by his litigation friend, The Official Solicitor) [2018] EWCOP 18, a first-of-its kind judgement which secured a unique legal ruling from the Court of Protection to extract and store sperm from a fatally injured man for use in posthumous fertility treatment and featured in The Independent (13 July 2018) and The Times (14 July 2018).

In JP v LP & Ors [2014] EWHC 595 (Fam), acting for the intended biological father in a high profile complex UK straight surrogacy dispute case with his wife (who was neither a genetic nor a birth mother) following marriage breakdown and divorce and a surrogate (a close friend). This case established for the first time a legal framework for cases where the legal criteria for a parental order cannot be met, including wardship, and featured in The Telegraph, BBC News and Mail Online (6 March 2014).

You can read more about our well known cases here.

In the News:

Our expert fertility and family lawyer Louisa Ghevaert also regularly commentates on assisted reproduction law and family law for modern families in the press, podcasts, articles and publications.

“Declining Global Fertility Rates: A Growing Problem” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 13 January 2024).

Posthumous Conception Law: Should I Consider This? (Louisa Ghevaert Associates; blog, 4 January 2024).

“Male Infertility and Reproductive Health: A Growing Problem?” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 19 October 2023).

“Global Decline In Sperm Counts: Do I Need To Be Concerned?” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 18 November 2022).

“Cord blood banking; life-saving potential that’s usually discarded at birth” (interview with Amanda Williamson of Future Health Biobank, 21 September 2022).

“Is it important to protect my fertility and genetic legacy?” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog 13 September 2022).

“Later-life parenthood: what do I need to consider?” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 5 August 2022).

“Declaration of parentage: the importance of identity, status and parentage” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 19 July 2022).

Egg, sperm and embryo freezing: what could go wrong?” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog 20 June 2022).

“Changes to Egg and Sperm Donor Anonymity Law in the UK”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 24 May 2022).

“Expert Witness Fertility Law: Claims for IVF, Donor Conception and Surrogacy” (Louisa Ghevaert Associates’ blog, 18 May 2022).

“Netflix’s Our Father: DNA testing, paternity disputes and questions about biological and legal parentage”, (Louisa Ghevaert Associates blog, 16 May 2022).

“International surrogacy law: existing conflicts unresolved” (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert 14 March 2022).

The Mail on Sunday “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong’: Businessman, 66, to be UK’s oldest surrogate father with his male partner, 40” (6 November 2021) featuring Louisa Ghevaert.

“The Economics of Older Mums” (BBC World Service radio interview featuring Louisa Ghevaert 12 October 2021).

“Women fired for having IVF: Appallingly many companies still do not understand the toll fertility treatment takes, despite one-in-seven couples using it” (The Daily Mail 4 August 2021).

Podcast “The Intricacies of Fertility Preservation” interview with Louisa Ghevaert and Eloise Edington of Fertility Help Hub (17 December 2020), also on podcast apps Apple, Spotify and Soundcloud

Apple podcast on Speak From The Body with Avni Touch entitled “Fertility law for modern families with Louisa Ghevaert” (26 February 2020)

“Why we need root and branch law reform” (BioNews 25 November 2019) and longer associated article “Why we need fertility law reform: the paradigm shift” (25 November 2019)

“Anything but child’s play: surrogacy and thorny issues of identity, parenthood and status in modern families” (Family Law, 29 August 2018)

You can read more here.

In the News

Father and toddler

Twitter updates

Follow Louisa on Twitter for latest industry updates

Read More

Our latest news

Read our news on fertility & modern family law

Read More

Our blog

Louisa discusses her opinion on different topics

Read More