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Informal Surrogacy Agreements and Parental Rights

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The law relating to surrogacy is very complicated and therefore it is essential that couples wishing to use a surrogate mother go to a licensed fertility clinic and obtain legal advice.

The Daily Mail has published an article this week about a couple who entered into an informal surrogacy agreement which effectively left the child following birth with two mothers.

The couple split up after the child was born and they did not apply to the Court within 6 months of the child’s birth for a Parental Order so that they could be recognised as the child’s parents in the eyes of the law. This means that the father, who is named on the child’s birth certificate and the surrogate mother, having given birth to the child, are the legal parents.

The matter was heard before the High Court and the Judge refused to make a Parental Order given that the time limit had passed. Instead, the Judge granted a Shared Residence Order in favour of the former couple which conferred Parental Responsibility on the child’s intended mother. The Court also made the child a ward of the Court.

Although the surrogate mother still has Parental Responsibility for the child, the Court terminated the exercise of her rights unless the Court’s permission is sought.