Get in touch

Surrogacy in England – What you need to know

Surrogacy has hit the headlines again recently, with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly opting to have their third child using a surrogate. Our expert surrogacy solicitors have decided to outline the key areas under this topic.

Whether there is any truth in the rumours remains to be seen, but for many people who are struggling to have children, what Kim and Kanye may be going through, will be familiar. 

Laws regarding surrogacy, the practice of one woman carrying another woman’s child, with the intention of handing the child over at birth, differ throughout the world. What may be legal or enforceable in one country, may be illegal in another. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key issues surrounding surrogacy in England.


The surrogate mother is treated as the biological mother 

In England, whoever gives birth to a child is treated as the biological mother, whether this is the case or not. 

In essence, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. 

In traditional (also known as straight) surrogacy, the baby is conceived using the surrogate’s egg and the intended father’s sperm. 

Gestational surrogacy (also known as host) uses the intended mother’s egg (or donor ones) and the intended father’s sperm. This means that the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the baby. This type of surrogacy is much more expensive than traditional surrogacy, because IVF must be used. 

Despite which method is used, It’s important to understand that, under UK law, the woman who gives birth to the child is the mother. This means that they may be able to keep the child, even if they are not genetically related.


Any surrogacy agreement between the parties would not be enforceable 

Surrogacy agreements in England are not enforceable, so surrogates can (and sometimes do) decide to keep the baby after birth. They have the legal right to do this because they are the child’s mother in the eyes of the law. 

If the intended father is the biological father, he could potentially challenge the (surrogate) mother’s care. However, this may be a time-consuming and emotionally stressful court battle. 

This is not the case in every country. In some places, you can make enforceable legal contracts with surrogates. 

However, before you decide to go abroad, it is essential to get legal advice about the country you are considering going to, to undertake the surrogacy process. Failure to do so, could result in a lot of heartache further down the line.


Could things be about to change? 

Some people argue that our laws on surrogacy, in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 and the Surrogacy Act 1985, are outdated and need to be changed. As part of its 13th Programme of Law Reform, The Law Commission identified surrogacy as one of the areas that may require reform.


It’s essential to get legal advice 

The reality of surrogacy is that it can be an emotionally charged minefield. It’s essential, that if you are considering surrogacy as an option to start, or to grow, your family, to get legal advice from our expert surrogacy solicitors, so that you can fully understand your options and be prepared for the potential hurdles you could face during the process.

For more information on this subject please by our expert surrogacy solicitors, visit our Legal Library.


Contact our expert surrogacy solicitors for advice

For more information on the surrogacy process call our expert surrogacy solicitors team on 0845 862 5001 or email

We offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: Princes Exchange, Princes Square, Leeds, LS1 4HY

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

Was this article helpful?

26th June 2017

Chess Piece

Make the first move

Find out how we can help you, call us on
0333 311 0925 or email us today.

Contact Us
Back up to top Back to Top