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Parental orders for surrogate parents – a change is coming

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

The current law in the UK provides that only couples who have had a child through a surrogate may apply for parental orders. The surrogate mother is automatically considered to be the legal parent of the child. The intended parents then need to apply to have the parental orders transferred from the surrogate to them under s.54 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. The issue is that under s.54, only a couple can apply for the parental orders, leaving a single mother or father unable to obtain parental legal status.

However, following Re Z last year, in which president of the Family Division Sir James Munby found s.54 to be incompatible with Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, a remedial order has been sent to Parliament that will amend s.54. This amendment will allow single parents the same right to gain legal parenthood as couples.

This change is likely to take place in 2018 and will take effect 2 weeks after the Order is passed. This move will update the law surrounding surrogacy and give single parents who use a surrogate the comfort and security of knowing they can have the same legal rights as any other parent.

Claire Leslie – Child Care Department Paralegal