Fertility Law & Surrogacy in the UK

Deciding to start a family is central to many people’s lives. Whatever your circumstances expert legal advice from us will empower you to make informed decisions and give you options on your route to parenthood.

Surrogacy in the UK

In recent years surrogacy has increased in the UK.  It is important to obtain advice prior to conception to understand the legal process and so that we can assist you through your journey. At Mogers Drewett we provide sensitive supportive and advice on:

  • Surrogacy legal planning
  • Acquiring parental rights – Parental Orders
  • International surrogacy
  • Surrogacy disputes

Adoption Process

Adoption is a life-long commitment. Whilst there will be challenges involved in becoming a parent, there are also huge rewards. We can provide advice on the following:

  • Single parent adoption
  • Step parent adoption
  • International adoption

The family team are ranked in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500:

Compact and experienced team which regularly acts for high net worth individuals across the South West, including cases with international elements. Highly thought of for its work on financial remedy matters together with related tax and pension issues. Also handles private law children matters, including child and parental alienation cases, and offers advice on cohabitation disputes.
Chambers & Partners 2020

Rebecca Silcock heads the practice and has experience in the legal ramifications of divorce and relationship breakdown on financial matters ranging from family trusts and inherited wealth to commercial ventures and family businesses.
Legal 500 2020

Next steps

If you require cohabitation advice, please get in touch with our family team for a no obligations conversation, or alternatively make an appointment to meet with a member of our team. You can speak to us on 0800 533 5349 or reach us on email at

Surrogacy in the UK Frequently asked questions

Yes, surrogacy is legal in the UK, unless it can be considered to be a commercial transaction.

The law prohibits advertising for surrogates and commercially arranged surrogacy (such as using an agent to arrange the surrogacy for you). This can make finding a surrogate difficult although there are voluntary organisations that can assist.

In short, no.

Under UK law, the surrogate mother will be the child’s legal mother and have Parental Responsibility (PR) for the child.

Who is treated as the child’s father/second parent will depend on a variety of circumstances.

PR for the child will need to be transferred and assigned to you and your partner by applying for a Parental Order.

A Parental Order gives the intended parents the legal rights and responsibilities they need to make their child a legal member of their family.

An application will need to be made to the Family Court. The intended parents must satisfy the Court that they meet all of the necessary criteria. These include:

  • There must be a genetic connection between one of the intended parents and the child;
  • At present the intended parents must be married, in a civil partnership or be two people who are living as partners in an enduring family relationship. Both parties must also be over 18;
  • The application must be made within 6 months of the child’s birth;
  • At the time of the application and the making of the order, the child’s home must be with the intended parents and one of the intended parents must be domiciled in the UK;
  • The surrogate mother must fully consent to the Parental Order, understanding that she will be giving up all parental rights. The necessary consent cannot be given until the child is at least 6 weeks old;
  • No more than reasonable expenses must have been paid or the Court must agree to authorise the payments retrospectively. 

Case Study

Tom and Ellie are married, live in the UK and wish to have a baby through a surrogate.  

They have been in contact with various voluntary agencies to find a surrogate. Tom and Ellie find Hannah who agrees to be a gestational surrogate. Hannah is married to John who consents to the process.

There are also other issues that need to be considered at this time. Those issues are whether to begin the preparatory work in making an application for a Parental Order, considering immigration issues if surrogacy is happening abroad, and the intestacy rules that will apply whilst waiting for the Parental Order.

Hannah receives IVF treatment using Ellie’s egg and Tom’s sperm.

Under UK law, when the baby is born, Hannah is the legal mother and John will be the legal father even though neither of them have a genetic link with the child.

To transfer legal parenthood and Parental Responsibility, Tom and Ellie instruct a solicitor to apply for a Parental Order. The Parental Order will ensure that the rights of Hannah and John are extinguished and Ellie and Tom will become parents of the child.

Their solicitor makes an application to the local family court.

The Court will list a short hearing and appoint a Parental Order Reporter from Cafcass.  The Reporter will look at the situation and advise the Court whether there are any reasons why the Parental Order should be refused. There will also be a further hearing, known as a final hearing, where final submissions will be made.

Once the Parental Order is made, the birth will be re-registered to record that Ellie and Tom are the legal parents and a new birth certificate will be issued.

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