Parental orders after surrogacy for single parents

    Parental orders after surrogacy for single parents

    If you are a single parent through surrogacy or considering pursuing this route, you may be wondering whether a parental order is available, or in fact necessary.

    What is a parental order?

    A parental order is the post-birth legal solution for surrogacy, resolving the legal status of parents and extinguishing that of surrogates. It was, for many years, the preserve of couples; initially heterosexual married couples, and later opened up to both same sex and unmarried couples.

    However, following a long-awaited legal change last year, single parents are now able to apply (as long as they are their child's genetic parent). This means for the first time ever, solo mums and dads can have their sole parental status granted and ratified by the UK family court without having to adopt their own child.

    For those whose surrogate children were born before these new provisions came into effect, there was a six month window (running up until 2 July 2019) during which they could apply to have their status fully resolved. For everyone else, they have up until their child is six months old to submit an application to court.

    If you are concerned that you have missed these deadlines, you may still be able to obtain a parental order (although the court will need to provide permission for this). Please contact us for more information.

    Why is a parental order needed?

    Parental orders remain a unique legal remedy; not only in the fact that they are a surrogacy-specific court order, but also in the sense that they act as a retrospective solution to right the wrongs of the law.

    Unlike any other court order, a parental order will prompt the issue of a new UK birth certificate for the child. This solely names the child’s parent (or parents, where a couple have applied), putting both the child and the parent in the position they would have been in had the law recognised their circumstances from the outset.

    Read more: How to get a parental order in the UK

    The significance of this order goes much further than the documentation it provides. Once granted, the residual rights of all other adults are extinguished (i.e. the surrogate mother and, if she is married, her spouse). This enshrines the intended parent not only with full legal parenthood (which is linked to matters of inheritance and nationality) but also parental responsibility (the sole right to make decisions on behalf of their child).

    On the flip side, if this fundamental legal position is not resolved it could come to light at any stage and cause complications, perhaps being triggered by applying for a school place or if the child requires medical attention. Obtaining a parental order will permanently remove and resolve the uncertainty and otherwise vulnerable legal landscape that the inadequacies in UK surrogacy law provide for parents and children.

    We're here for you

    For more information about parental orders, your eligibility and options, please contact our specialist consultant solicitor, Nicola Scott.

    Are you considering pursuing surrogacy abroad? Obtaining a parental order is just one part of this process. To find out more, download our free guide.

    21 Things You Should Know About Pursuing Surrogacy Abroad Call To Action

    For legal advice on fertility and surrogacy.

    Get in touch

    Related posts