We at Anthony Gold recognise the diverse community we live and work in.
There are many ways to start a family and surrogacy is an option for many couples for many reasons. This might be due to failed IVF procedures, recurring miscarriages, pregnancy health risks, premature menopause or internal abnormalities. These types of arrangements are also very popular in the LGTBQ+ community as they allow a genetic link to being created to a child where otherwise it might not have been possible.
At Anthony Gold we take a sensitive approach to intended parents (IPs) wishing to start a family in this way and can provide advice on both domestic and international surrogacy arrangements.
The laws around surrogacy in England are not straightforward. While surrogacy is legal, many practices associated with surrogacy are not.
For example, it is a criminal offence to advertise for a surrogate or for a surrogate to advertise surrogacy services. Surrogacy agreements themselves are not legally binding or enforceable but it is very much recommended to have one so that the IPs and the surrogate know where they each stand. Anthony Gold specifically cannot advise on surrogacy agreements as it is illegal to do so (nor can any solicitor of England and Wales). However, usually, surrogacy organisations can provide assistance.
Anthony Gold provide advice on the legal process and can obtain parental orders on behalf of the IP(s). It is important for the IP(s) to appreciate that the surrogate will have automatic legal parenthood and parental responsibility of the child by virtue of the birth. It may come as a shock to know that if the surrogate is married, her husband will be the second parent NOT the biological father. This setup does not reflect the practicalities of the newly created family and requires legal rectification.
Those discussions can be sought well in advance of the birth of a child. It is important for the IP(s) to gain as much advice and information as possible before embarking on a surrogacy journey given what is involved. At Anthony Gold, we take into account the emotional dimension of conceiving a child by surrogacy and aim to be as supportive to our clients as possible while also providing comprehensive legal advice.
Many IP(s) decide to pursue surrogacy arrangements overseas due to the increased legal certainty of parentage at birth. However, there is no consistency between countries or international treaties governing surrogacy, which means you must do your research.
Whether your baby is born at home or overseas, the IPs should always obtain a parental order to reassign parenthood and parental responsibility to themselves after they bring the baby home. This is irrespective of how parenthood is treated abroad, as it is unlikely to reflect the UK law. For example, in North America you are likely to be treated as the child’s parent upon birth, provided local laws are complied with.
The varying approaches can add complexity to your decision and it is therefore important to seek advice to ensure you understand what will be involved both legally, practically and financially. There are many factors to consider in conceiving a child by surrogacy abroad and forward planning is essential to avoid the pitfalls.
The IP(s) should also obtain immigration advice well in advance of embarking on an overseas surrogacy journey. At Anthony Gold, we work closely with immigration law advisers who can provide bespoke advice to the country you are considering travelling to as part of the service.
We can provide advice in relation to disputes arising from a surrogacy arrangement, such as the IPs relationship breaking down or a dispute with the surrogate (which is rare). It will be important to ascertain whether parenthood has been resolved before any advice can be given regarding child arrangements. At Anthony Gold we are able to provide holistic advice on any children dispute that may arise in this context.
We can help heterosexual or same-sex couples and advise on all aspects of the surrogacy journey. If you require further information or legal advice regarding domestic or international surrogacy arrangements, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 940 4060 to book an appointment.