International surrogacy can be a highly emotional as well as joyous time in a parent’s life – but at the same time there are complex legal processes which must be put in place, both in the home country of the surrogate mother and in the courts of England and Wales.
It is crucial for intended parents to seek legal advice before embarking on international surrogacy, to ensure that their child is recognised as their offspring in the home country of the surrogate mother – and when they bring their new baby back to the UK to live.
Finding reputable IVF clinics and surrogate parent agencies is also vital in planning international surrogacy.
Intended parents must apply for a passport for their child before they can return to the UK, otherwise a child may become stateless. Applying for a passport for a child born via international surrogacy may involve proving a genetic link between one parent and the child, as well as complying with UK immigration law. The surrogate mother will also have to supply paperwork including details of her marital status.
There is also likely to be a contract between the parents and the surrogate mother – in the UK, the law only requires that a surrogate mother overseas is paid reasonable expenses, although most arrangements will involve a fee paid to the mother for acting as the surrogate.
International surrogacy law varies between different countries and in some countries is not legal.
In the UK, if a child is born as a result of international surrogacy and is brought back to the UK to live, under the laws of England and Wales, it is necessary for parents to be recognised legally in a Parental Order hearing.
A Parental Order transfer rights from the surrogate mother to the parent(s) – but there are time limits for applying for a Parental Order.
Duncan Lewis family solicitors will represent parents at the Parental Order hearing, as well as preparing the application for the court.
At such a happy time, it is difficult to think about what might happen if, for example, a couple decided to separate before the surrogate mother gave birth – or if any of the parties involved decided not to go ahead with the surrogacy.
As hard as it might be to have to confront these possibilities, taking legal advice before embarking on international surrogacy can help allay any fears about the outcome of an international surrogacy agreement and ensure a happy ending.
Duncan Lewis family solicitors have a successful track record in advising clients on international surrogacy – and Duncan Lewis is one of the UK’s leading family solicitors, with extensive expertise in family and child care matters.
Our child care team offers sensitive and practical advice on international surrogacy agreements – and Duncan Lewis also has a highly successful immigration law department, so can help ensure that your child’s right to enter the UK is established without any legal complications.
Duncan Lewis staff speak 70 languages between them and have a network of affiliates overseas, so are well placed to advise on international surrogacy in different jurisdictions, including finding reputable clinics and agencies to arrange the surrogacy.
Duncan Lewis advises heterosexual couples, same sex couples and single parents or co-parenting partnerships (eg between friends where one party is not able to have their own children) on international surrogacy – including advising on agreements in which more than one child might be born of the same surrogate mother, or where there may be siblings born in the future.
Duncan Lewis family solicitors offer an initial client meeting with a fixed fee for legal advice on international surrogacy.
Once the details of a case have been assessed it is usually possible to offer a further fixed fee scale, which clients will be advised of in advance.
Duncan Lewis always recommends clients to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss international surrogacy, so that all the necessary legal agreements can be put in place as efficiently and quickly as possible, enabling you to focus on the practicalities in an informed and supportive environment – and get on with planning your family’s future.
For expert legal advice on International Surrogacy, call Duncan Lewis Family Solicitors in confidence on 020 7923 4020.