A parental order reassigns legal parenthood and parental responsibility from a surrogate mother (and her husband if married) to a child’s intended parents and extinguishes the legal status of the surrogate parents for the child for English legal purposes.
A parental order is permanent and it triggers the issue of a British birth certificate naming the intended parents as the child’s legal parents. A parental order can only be granted by the English court if strict legal criteria are met, including the provision of valid consent by the surrogate mother and her husband.
A parental order application must be submitted to the English court within six months of the surrogate born child’s birth and this deadline is non extendable in law. For more information about the eligibility criteria and process for a parental order click here.
Surrogacy law remains a cutting edge and fast moving area of law. There have been a series of published cases involving applications for a parental order, including:
Re C 2013 – involving a Californian surrogacy arrangement which raised untested legal issues about commercial payments and which redefined the English High Court’s approach to retrospective authorisation of these in view of UK legal restrictions (Louisa Ghevaert acted for the parents)
Re IJ (a Child) 2011 - involving an international surrogacy arrangement between British intended parents and a surrogate mother in the Ukraine and which highlights the complex legal issues foreign surrogacy can create and the critical importance of expert legal advice (Louisa Ghevaert acted for the parents)
Re L (a minor) 2010 - involving an international surrogacy arrangement between British intended parents and a surrogate mother in Illinois, USA and which marks a legal watershed ruling that the child’s welfare is the paramount consideration of the court except in the clearest case of abuse of public policy (Louisa Ghevaert acted for the parents)
Re S 2009 - involving an international surrogacy arrangement between a British couple and a surrogate mother in California, USA, and which sets out some of the issues which the English court is concerned to police
Re X and Y (foreign surrogacy) 2008 - involving an international surrogacy arrangement between a British couple and a surrogate mother in Ukraine and which was the first international commercial surrogacy arrangement to be authorised by the English court (Louisa Ghevaert acted for the parents)
Re G (surrogacy: foreign domicile) 2006 – involving a Turkish couple who entered into a surrogacy arrangement with a UK surrogate mother and were refused a parental order
How we can help
We can help with:
- Guidance about the legal criteria and process for applying for a parental order
- Advice and representation in complex parental order proceedings in the English court (for those families who have entered into international surrogacy, paid a commercial sum to a surrogate and those with international connections)
If you would like to discuss your personal situation in more detail or you would like more information about a parental order please contact us by email email@example.com or by telephone +44 (0)207 222 1244.