It is reported in recent news that celebrities, Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West, are expecting their third child, by means of a surrogate. If you have been ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ on their reality TV show, you may be aware that Kim revealed her desire to have another child, but expressed her worries, due to fertility issues and high-risk pregnancies. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising that she has opted to expand her family, (which includes two children whom she carried), by using a surrogate.
There are several reasons why a couple may choose to use a surrogate, whether as a last resort, due to health reasons, or it simply suits your personal circumstances. Whatever your reason, it is important that you are aware of the legal position when it comes to surrogacy, and what it entails.
What Is A Surrogacy Arrangement?
It is an arrangement whereby a woman carries a child in pursuance of an arrangement:
- Made before she began to carry the child, and
- Made with a view to any child carried in pursuance of it being handed over to, and parental responsibility being met (so far as practicable) by another person or other persons.
Are Surrogacy Arrangements Legal?
They are, however there is a prohibition on initiating or taking part in negotiating surrogacy arrangements on a commercial basis. It is a criminal offence!
Payment of money is permitted only ‘to the woman for her benefit in respect of the carrying of the child in pursuance of the arrangement, to that promise or understanding’.
How Can You Gain Legal Recognition as the Child’s Parents?
Legally, the person who gives birth to the child is the legal mother. You will need to apply for a Parental Order within six months from the day on which the child born in order to obtain parental responsibility.
In accordance with statute, the court must be satisfied that all parties ‘have freely, and with full understanding of what is involved, agreed unconditionally to the making of the order’
How Can We Help You?
- Advise generally those considering surrogacy and whether it is suitable;
- Represent commissioning parents in proceedings for a Parental Order;
- Identify international issues where clients need complementary advice in addition to family law (for example, immigration / nationality);
- Provide written opinions and advice for those living abroad about whether and how UK surrogacy law applies to them;
- If a Parental Order is refused or cannot be made, advise on other orders that might be made to recognise the child’s relationship with commissioning parents.
Angela Kwokori is a Trainee Solicitor in our Family team.
If you are considering surrogacy, or dealing with any legal issues concerning your surrogacy arrangement, please contact our team of specialist Family solicitors on 020 7631 4141, to arrange a consultation to discuss your matter in detail.