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What is a parental order in surrogacy cases?

The surrogate is the legal mother until a parental order is made or the child is adopted.  Until that time the intended parents do not have parental responsibility so cannot consent to important matters such as medical treatment, education or healthcare

The intended parents must apply to court for a parental order shortly after the baby is born.  A parental order secures the legal status of the intended parent(s) under UK law.

When applying for a parental order, various criteria need to be satisfied, including:

  • The surrogate and her spouse must fully and freely consent to the order –  the surrogate cannot validly consent until the child is six weeks old;
  • The application needs to be made within six months of the birth;
  • When the application is made the baby must have his / her home with the intended parent(s) and one of the intended parent(s) must be domiciled in a part of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands or Isle of Man;
  • Payment of the surrogate’s expenses has been limited to reasonable expenses (or the court must agree to ‘authorise’ the payments retrospectively).

Once a parental order is made, the birth will be re-registered to record the intended parent(s) as the legal parent(s) and a new birth certificate will be issued.

If you or someone you know is considering surrogacy and would like some more advice, please get in touch and one of our specialist family lawyers will be happy to help.

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