Surrogacy: what’s the point in having a parental order?
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Date Published:29 Oct 2018 Last Updated:25 Oct 2021

Surrogacy: what’s the point in having a parental order?

Fertility Law

A parental order is the legal mechanism for securing your legal parentage after your child has been born through surrogacy. Under UK law, the woman who gives birth to a child is the legal parent, irrespective of whether she is the biological mother. If she is married, then her husband is the legal father. If your surrogate is unmarried, then the biological father will be the child’s legal father. Essentially this means that after the birth, one or both of you will not be your child’s legal parent, and these rules apply even if your child is born through surrogacy overseas.

If you’ve had a child through surrogacy, it’s likely to have been a long, challenging and expensive journey, and the thought of having to go through a legal process (and potentially paying legal fees) can put off some parents formally securing their parentage. So it is really necessary to have a parental order? Here are some of the benefits:

  • You will secure your legal parentage, making you both your child’s legal parents.
  • You will both acquire parental responsibility, which gives you the authority to make important decisions relating to your
    child’s welfare.
  • You will avoid future complications which may arise if you are not legal parents (for example, you may have difficulty
    renewing your child’s passport and complications may arise if you separate or if you die).
  • Your surrogate’s legal parental status will be extinguished, meaning that she will have no legal connection with your child.
    As a result, she won’t need to be involved when you come to process official paperwork in the future, like passport applications.
  • If you don’t have a parental order, there is a risk that social services will need to become involved as you will be looking
    after a child who is not legally yours.

If you are planning a surrogacy journey or would like any advice on any area of fertility law, please contact our specialist team who will be able to assist you on 01202 525333 or send us an email enquiry fertility@ellisjones.co.uk.