For many people, surrogacy is a viable way to build their family.
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Surrogacy has become more popular, but it is critical to know that laws regarding surrogacy can be complex.
At Austin Kemp, our team is here to help you navigate those laws, including in situations where you are just getting started, dealing with complicated situations, or even in divorce.
Surrogacy occurs when a woman carries and then gives birth to a baby that is meant to be raised by someone else, either another person or a couple. Under the laws in England and Wales, two different types of agreements are related to surrogacy.
In a straight surrogacy agreement, the surrogate is a biological parent to the child as she has used her own eggs in the process. The sperm in this situation could be from a donor, or it could be from the intended father. This type of surrogacy is often informal. It may happen within or without a clinic.
A more formal method is called a gestational surrogacy agreement. In this situation, the surrogate does not have any biology linked to the baby. Rather, the egg and sperm come from either the intended parents or a donor. In nearly all situations, this type of insemination occurs in a fertility clinic.
One of the reasons to speak to our surrogacy solicitor is because you want to ensure the proper parents are listed on the child’s birth certificate.
No matter the situation, at the time of birth, the Court recognises the surrogate as the child’s legal parent. If the surrogate is married or in a civil arrangement, then her spouse is also recognised as the legal parent. In situations where the surrogate is not married or in a civil partnership, the surrogate is named as one of the legal parents. The other is one of the intended parents.
After the birth of the child, it is possible to request that the Court recognise the desired intended parents as the legal parents. This can be done through a Court order, even if you have an agreement in place prior to this. This is called a parental order.
It is quite important to work with a surrogacy solicitor no matter what occurs to create the ideal parental orders and to protect your rights in the future. It is also important to note that laws in the UK are changing. Under the current law in the UK, called the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985, the initial rules regarding surrogacy were entered. These laws are based on a period of time when there were much different medical procedures and advances available, which makes them somewhat limited in protecting rights moving forward.
The Law Commission of England and Wales has noted the need for changing these laws to improve regulations that ensure better monitoring of the surrogacy process from a legal standpoint.
Working with a surrogacy solicitor can help you to manage this legal process, reducing the risks that you face no matter which role you plan in the process.
One of the most common questions many people ask is this one. A surrogate is considered the baby’s legal parent at the time of birth. She remains the parent until a parental order is put into place. In order to obtain a parental order, the surrogate must agree to it.
This means that up until a parental order is put in place by the Court, the surrogate has the ability to withhold consent and keep the baby. This could make it illegal for the baby to leave the hospital.
Because of these limitations, having a family solicitor available to help you establish your rights to the child or to help you as a surrogate is critically important.
At Austin Kemp, we recognise the importance of establishing parental orders quickly and ensuring the rights of each member of the surrogacy process. We work with parents who are facing decisions about their unborn and nearly born child to establish or change the legal parent.
In situations of divorce, our legal team is also available to provide guidance and support. For example, we work closely with parents to establish a fair divorce settlement to manage aspects like property transfer. Yet, what is often more important, is ensuring your rights as a parent are protected as well. If you are not named the legal parent, you may find it difficult to obtain that legal standing after divorce or separation occurs. Our team will work with you to establish this and protect your rights going forward.
Austin Kemp has extensive experience working with surrogates and parents to establish and manage the entire process from conception through the birth and establishment of the legal parents. We encourage you to have a solicitor on hand early on, even prior to establishing a relationship with a surrogate or seeking the help of a clinic.
Keep in mind that we also work to support the rights of the surrogate. If you are a surrogate or planning to be one, it is critical that you understand the role and the legal responsibilities that will impact you throughout this process. This could include your rights to the child after birth and limitations on those rights during the surrogacy arrangement.
At Austin Kemp, we are committed to working closely with parents and surrogates to create an efficient process. As surrogacy continues to grow as a popular option for children, it is more critical than ever to have a legal relationship established early on. We can help you to do that and much more.
Contact Austin Kemp today to discuss your needs. Let us provide legal guidance to you regarding every phase of the surrogacy process.Get In Touch
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Call Us: 0333 311 0925
Call Us: 0333 311 0925