Parenting and the Modern Family

21 January 2020

To some couples, life becomes complete once they start a family. What happens if that does not come naturally?

What is a Surrogacy Arrangement?

Fertility treatment is one option, or possibly adoption. A surrogacy arrangement is another option and one that is becoming more popular. A surrogacy arrangement involves a surrogate mother giving birth to a child on behalf of someone else. The intended parents or parent (a recent change in the law means that single parents can now obtain a Parental Order which confers parental responsibility following a surrogacy arrangement) must have a biological tie to the baby, for example, the mother’s eggs are used or the father’s sperm.

How does a Surrogacy Arrangement work?

Surrogacy arrangements in the UK are highly regulated, whether the surrogacy arrangement is an international one or a domestic one, for example, the surrogacy arrangement takes place through a fertility clinic in this country or abroad. The surrogate mother must enter into the arrangement willingly and there is no payment by the intended parent(s) to the surrogate mother, save for reasonable expenses, for example, travel and other items required during pregnancy. There are also certain countries in which surrogacy is illegal. Intended surrogate mothers are not able to advertise their services and are usually contacted through authorised and regulated fertility clinics.

How do you apply for Parental Order?

Importantly, the surrogate mother, and her partner if she has one, remain the legal parents of the child and retain parental responsibility for the child unless the intended parent(s) apply for a Parental Order through the court. This means that she or they remain authorised to make important decisions on behalf of the child, for example, for medical treatment. The application for a Parental Order must be made to the courts in this country within six months of the child’s birth. Which court the intended parent(s) apply to depends on whether the surrogacy arrangement is an international one or a domestic one. The Parental Order, once made, transfers parental responsibility to the intended parent(s) and allows the child’s birth certificate to be changed so that the new parent(s) are formally recognised as the child’s parent(s).

If the surrogacy arrangement is an international one, there is also the issue of immigration to consider, and the process for legally bringing baby back into this country. At Barlow Robbins, we have an experienced Family and Immigration Team who will be able to assist you throughout the surrogacy process.

By Beverley Cullis

For further advice on the above topics, please call us on 01483 543210 or alternatively email