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There are a variety of ways to build a family through donor conception or co-parenting, including:

  • Use of identity-release donor eggs, sperms or embryos.
  • Use of non-identifiable donor eggs, sperm or embryos.
  • Use of eggs or sperm from a known donor (e.g. a friend, acquaintance, former partner).
  • Inter-family donation (e.g. gametes from a sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin).
  • A co-parenting arrangement.
  • Use of donor eggs or sperm with surrogacy (e.g. straight or gestational surrogacy).

These family building arrangements create complex legal, practical, financial and emotional issues which require careful management from the outset. There are many situations when specialist donor conception law and co-parenting law advice and legal representation is required, including:

  • Expert donor conception law and fertility treatment law advice to support a claim for damages following medical negligence.
  • To access fertility treatment for donor conception or a co-parenting arrangement at a UK licensed fertility clinic.
  • To understand and proactively manage the legal issues associated with donor conception or co-parenting (e.g. preparation of a written known donor agreement or a co-parenting agreement).
  • To obtain or secure legal parentage and parental responsibility for a child conceived through donor conception or a co-parenting arrangement (e.g. a declaration of parentage, an adoption order, a parental responsibility order).
  • To obtain a British birth certificate naming a parent or a co-parent as the legal parent of a child conceived through donor conception or a co-parenting arrangement.
  • To resolve difficulties or a dispute with a known donor or co-parent during pregnancy or after birth of a child.
  • To resolve a dispute or issues about the care, upbringing and legal status of a child born through donor conception or a co-parenting arrangement (e.g. a child arrangements order, a parental responsibility order, a specific issue order or a wardship order).
  • To navigate the issues associated with a direct-to-consumer DNA test (e.g. to trace a biological parent, relative, donor or surrogate).

Need a donor conception lawyer or a co-parenting lawyer?

Our expert donor conception law and co-parenting law services help you identify, understand and navigate the legal issues, risks and outcomes in the short, medium and longer term.  We provide innovative donor conception law and co-parenting law advice and solutions that align with your situation and wishes because we operate at the forefront of rapidly evolving donor conception law, policy and practice in the UK.

Our expert donor conception and fertility lawyer Louisa Ghevaert is also a co-author of medical reference book Reducing Risk in Fertility Treatment (First Edition, April 2015), contributing a specialist chapter entitled “Legal and Regulatory Risks to Patients: The UK Context” addressing legal and regulatory pitfalls faced by fertility patients seeking various forms of fertility treatment in the UK.

Louisa Ghevaert, has since 2017 been a member of the International Egg Donation Stakeholder Advisory Group led by De Montfort University concerned with the future landscape of egg donation law and policy in the UK and Europe.

From 2014 -18, Louisa Ghevaert was an expert member of the Surrogacy UK Working Party Group for Law Reform and a contributor to its seminal report on surrogacy (both straight and gestational surrogacy) and law reform in 2015. This milestone report informed parliamentary debate on surrogacy law reform and policy in The House of Lords in 2016 and subsequent work to reform surrogacy law in the UK.

Since 2008, Louisa Ghevaert has dealt with many landmark and well known donor conception law cases, including:

In 2013, Louisa Ghevaert successfully obtained a parental order for British intended parents who had a surrogate born child through egg donation (so their child had a similar racial background to the intended father who was of Chinese origin) and a Californian (USA) commercial surrogacy arrangement. This case redefined the English Court’s approach to egg donor payments and the authorisation of commercial surrogacy payments given UK public policy restrictions.

In 2014, Louisa Ghevaert represented the intended biological father in a UK straight surrogacy dispute with his wife (who was neither the birth nor genetic mother) and the surrogate (a close friend) concerning a surrogate born child’s upbringing and parentage, In JP v LP & Ors [2014] EWHC 595 (Fam).

In 2016, Louisa Ghevaert obtained a declaration of parentage in the High Court for a woman in a same-sex relationship for a child conceived through fertility treatment and sperm donation at a UK fertility clinic licensed by the HFEA.  The HFEA Consent Form WP was missing from the clinic file which called the non-birth mother’s legal parentage into question, In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case V) [2016] EWHC 2356 (Fam).

Through 2018, 2019 and 2020, Louisa Ghevaert’s expert surrogacy, donor conception and fertility treatment law evidence in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court resulted in further legal rulings for a woman left infertile following a delay in detecting cancer in smear tests and biopsies, enabling for the first time recovery of damages of approximately £558,000 for commercial surrogacy, donor conception and fertility treatment in the US, XX v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust [2018] EWCA Civ 2832 and Whittington Hospital NHS Trust v XX [2020] UKSC 14.

Through 2021 and 2022 Louisa Ghevaert successfully acted for male intended parents and obtained parental orders for 3 surrogate born children conceived with donor eggs and one of the intended father’s sperm following complex international conflicts of law between the US (California & Oregon), Denmark and the UK concerning the children’s legal parentage, citizenship and residence arrangements in Re X,Y and Z (Children: Parental Orders: Time Limit) [2022] EWHC 198 (Fam).

You can find more information and links to these cases below.

If you require legal assistance or wish to discuss your situation please get in touch

 enquiries@louisaghevaertassociates.co.uk

 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

How we can help

Our preeminent specialist donor conception lawyer and co-parenting lawyer services include:

  • Legal packages.
  • Bespoke legal advice tailored to your situation, needs and wishes.
  • Preparation of legal documentation (e.g. a known donor agreement or a co-parenting agreement).
  • Legal support and representation in court proceedings.

Package One

Donor Conception - Legal Review

This provides initial expert legal and practical advice to support people undertaking donor conception. It:

  • Provides legal and practical advice on donor information rights.
  • Provides bespoke legal advice on donor conception law in the UK (including legal parentage and parental responsibility and legal and practical implications arising).

Package Three

Known donor - legal review

This provides initial expert legal and practical advice to support people undertaking known donation. It:

  • Addresses benefits and contents of a bespoke known donor agreement.
  • Provides bespoke legal advice on known donation law in the UK (including legal parentage and parental responsibility and legal and practical implications arising).

Package Five

Co-parenting legal start kit

This legal package provides a legal starter kit about family building through a co-parenting arrangement. It contains the following initial legal information and documentation on co-parenting law in the UK to help prospective co-parents:

  • Co-parenting legal information guide.
  • Co-parenting questionnaire.
  • Co-parenting agreement template.

Package Seven

Co-parenting agreement and legal review

This legal package includes a legal review meeting and the preparation of a bespoke co-parenting agreement. It:

  • Prepares a bespoke co-parenting agreement.
  • Provides bespoke legal advice on co-parenting (including legal parentage and parental responsibility and legal and practical implications arising).

Package Two

Known donation legal starter kit

This legal package provides a legal starter kit about family building and conception through known donation. It contains the following initial legal information and documentation on known donation law in the UK to help prospective parents and known donors:

  • Known donation legal information guide.
  • Known donation questionnaire.
  • Known donor agreement template.

Package Four

Known donor agreement and legal review

This legal package provides a tailored legal review meeting about family building and known donation law in the UK. It:

  • Prepares a bespoke known donor agreement tailored to your individual situation and wishes.
  • Provides bespoke legal advice on known donation law in the UK (including legal parentage and parental responsibility and legal and practical implications arising).

Package Six

Co-parenting - legal review

This provides initial expert legal advice to support people building a family through co-parenting. It:

  • Answers legal questions to give peace of mind.
  • Provides bespoke legal advice on co-parenting (including legal parentage, parental responsibility, a child’s upbringing and legal and practical implications arising).

If you require further information on any of the above packages please get in touch

 +44 (0) 20 7965 8399

Bespoke legal services

We provide further expert tailored legal advice and representation on donor conception law, co-parenting, fertility and family law issues including:

Leading donor conception law cases

Our leading donor conception lawyer, Louisa Ghevaert, has dealt with numerous well-known fertility and donor conception law cases, including:

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 conceived with donor eggs and one of the intended father’s sperm 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 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 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.

In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case V) [2016] EWHC 2356 (Fam), obtaining a declaration of parentage in the High Court for a woman in a same-sex relationship for a child conceived through fertility treatment and donor sperm at a UK fertility clinic licensed by the HFEA.  The HFEA Consent Form WP was missing from the clinic file. The case for the first time gave guidance on the practice of making interim costs orders in favour of patients to fund litigation and access to justice following errors in the completion of consent forms at UK fertility clinics.

In JP v LP & Ors [2014] EWHC 595 (Fam), Louisa Ghevaert represented the intended biological father in a UK straight surrogacy dispute with his wife (who was neither the birth nor genetic mother) and the surrogate (a close friend) concerning a surrogate born child’s upbringing and parentage.  The legal ruling warned of the risks of informal privately arranged surrogacy agreements in the absence of specialist legal advice and counselling and featured in The Telegraph, BBC News and Mail Online (6 March 2014).

In Re C [2013] EWHC 2408 (Fam), Louisa Ghevaert successfully obtained a parental order for British intended parents who had a surrogate born child through egg donation (so their child had a similar racial background to the intended father who was of Chinese origin) and a Californian (USA) commercial surrogacy arrangement. This case redefined the English Court’s approach to egg donor payments and the authorisation of commercial surrogacy payments given UK public policy restrictions.

You can read more here.

In the News

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

The UK Supreme Court awards damages for commercial surrogacy (BioNews, comment piece by Louisa Ghevaert, 6 April 2020)

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)

3 Person IVF approved by the HFEA – what does this mean? (Jordan Publishing Family Law, 31 January 2017)

In the News

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