The British Olympic diver Tom Daley and husband Dustin Lance Black announced earlier this month that they are expecting their first child together.
The couple who have spoken out on surrogacy laws since their pregnancy has been announced have prompted the Government to release guidance on surrogacy for prospective parents.
The guidance notes that surrogacy is common for “LGBT parents wanting to create a family”, and states that the Government “supports surrogacy as part of the range of assisted conception options”.(Of Course, surrogacy is not just for those in the LGBT community but is available to all couples who may have struggled to conceive naturally)
A link to government’s guidance is here:
Here at Higgins Miller, we would be very interested in supporting those looking to obtain a Parental Order.
In summary, the ‘Parental Order Process’ as set out in the Government guidance provides:
When a child is born via a surrogate, the child’s intended parents should apply to the family court for a parental order.
The parental order transfers legal parenthood from the surrogate (and her spouse or civil partner, if she has one) to the child’s intended parents. A Parental order can only be made with the surrogate’s consent.
The parental order process can only be issued once the baby is born and involves all parties attending court, the court will appoint a social worker to safeguard the process.
Parental Orders are usually within the remit of the Magistrates court, cases only being issued in higher courts if the child is born overseas or there are questions over whether all the necessary criteria have been met by the surrogate and the intended parents.
The vast majority of surrogacy cases in England and Wales are straightforward and it is rare that a parental order to transfer parenthood to the IPs is not considered in the best interests of the child, however, it would be prudent to ensure that legal advice has been taken.
In a nutshell, the criteria for a parental order are:
• IPs must be over 18 years old;
• IPs must be married, in a civil partnership or living as partners in an enduring relationship
• the surrogate, and her partner if they are married or in a civil partnership, must give consent ( no earlier than 6 weeks after the birth of the baby);
• the child must have been conceived artificially and be genetically related to one of the IPs;
• the child must be living with the IPs;
• IPs must apply within 6 months of the birth of the child;
• At least one of the IPs must be domiciled in the UK; and
• The surrogate should be paid no more than reasonable expenses
If all the legal criteria are met, the court’s paramount consideration in making the parental order is the welfare of the child.