International/UK Surrogacy Lawyers
Over a decade of helping intended parents and resolving those that went wrong
25th March 2023
Growing Families Show
to book tickets click here
What are clients think?
First , the successful USA surrogacy and my UK parental order secured when we returned; then assistance sadly with our separation , which was very hostile , and then my employment case and finally my child custody case. They supported me throughout and were so professional, efficient and caring I could never go anywhere else. Efficient , supportive , experienced and really important to me they genuinely cared.
International Surrogacy or UK Domestic
International Surrogacy or UK Domestic – Where should you choose as a UK Intended Parent
‘We discuss the pro’s and con’s of many jurisdictions impartially for your to choose’
shaping the way alternative family structures blossom.
So where should intended parents start?
Often, the starting point is to consider your jurisdiction. Is this to be in the UK for convenience or will you travel internationally. Every jurisdiction has its unique selling features and obviously issues that you need to consider such a synergy with UK law or costs, as an example.
Ultimately you would start to look at the UK and see are there surrogates readily available for your journey? It is likely that the UK is going to be the cheapest option as it altruistic meaning that you cannot pay anything more than reasonable expenses to a surrogate for the arrangement. There will also be minimal travel costs. However, the surrogacy agreement is not legally binding, and the surrogate will have to sign a consent form six weeks following birth along with their spouse or civil partner which can bring concerns. Also not being able to advertise that you require a surrogate means there is a smaller supply surrogates available.
For more information on the entire legal process and journey regarding UK surrogacy please click here. Surrogacy – A City Law Firm
Jurisdiction – where to choose
In light of the legally binding nature of the agreement but to ensure that the surrogate is aligned with UK legislation many people explore surrogacy in Canada. This is a likewise altruistic jurisdiction so that only reasonable expenses can be paid and often health insurance is suitably covered for both the surrogate and the child. The synergy with the UK means that the process to bring your baby back to the UK and obtain a parental order is more streamlined than in other countries.
Surrogacy in Canada – A City Law Firm or watch or podcasts with leading Canadian fertility lawyers
However, you may have a shorter time to wait to be matched with a surrogate in countries where you’re able to pay more than reasonable expenses such as the USA. As such many intended parents do consider some states of the USA, the states do vary so you will need to take specific advice. Generally there is the benefit that the surrogacy agreement is legally binding so the surrogate’s consent is to some extent guaranteed, although you will still need her consent forms signed for the UK parental order. . Due to the extensive history and ethos of the USA in many states this is considered a very safe and secure place for surrogacy. Each surrogate undertakes a rigorous screening and selection process so they have a very robust system. As a result of all of these benefits this is however not one of the cheapest options, but cost does need to be weighed up with the certainty provided.
For more information on the entire legal process of a surrogacy arrangement in the USA please click here. Surrogacy in the USA – A City Law Firm
Greece or Ukraine
More recently jurisdictions that have opened up to UK intended parents include Greece and the Ukraine. These are cost-effective jurisdictions but while there is synergy with UK law it is not perfect and there is not the tested case coverage there is available for other countries. As such you do need to speak to local lawyers and UK solicitors to ensure that everything is carefully covered. There are also restrictions on single-parent surrogacy or LGBT intended parents in some jurisdictions and if the child has medical requirements or parents separate during the process there are additional risks that you need to be aware of and prepared for.
For more information on surrogacy in these jurisdictions please click here to hear our webinar and read our case studies. Ukraine is a more complicated jurisdiction but still very much possible with careful preparation.
Chosen where – now how to choose who you use to assist you?
Chosen where – now how to choose who you use to assist you?
Who is reputable, who can you trust and what should you be asking them?
Following your choice of jurisdiction you will need to carefully consider the surrogacy agency or surrogate and ensure a full screening process has been undertaken alongside choosing your clinic. Often the surrogacy specialists will have an ecosystem who they can recommend you to as we all work very closely as a tightknit community to ensure that you only work with the most professional. Be guided by those professionals so you only work with legitimate and trusted partners that do not do so for commission or simply have large marketing budgets to attract you. We work closely with surrogacy and fertility lawyers in all of the jurisdictions carefully discussing your journey before you start to ensure that everything is in place even before you begin.
Read forums for intended parents as often they give an incite into who they have used good and bad points , as well as tips for those starting out. Don’t be afraid to reach out and speak to those that have undertaken this journey , our clients are often happy to share their stories and support others.
Conferences and events where you get to meet the providers , lawyers and former client’s should enable you to see who you feel comfortable with as its not just about the costs and legals , but who you feel you can ask questions of , if something concerns you your confident in their support and most importantly you feel in trusted hands.
How do you know for example the lawyer, or the clinic is reputable?
Over the last five years we’ve seen many law firms appear professing to be surrogacy or fertility experts and new clinics in the marketplace. As such with anything, preparation and communication is key. Ask them how many surrogacy arrangements have they handled from start to finish; read the testimonials and ask around about then; read their website make sure that everything is clear and concise and it shows genuine experience; have they got any accreditations or awards that support their position; speak to known groups that manage processes like growing families; also feel free to ask them questions and make sure you trust and have confidence in them fully.
Whilst some firms are larger so do have huge marketing budgets to promote themselves you need to satisfy yourself they actually have the skills and experience ; that you are only paying a fair and competitive price and can they help you if things go wrong even outside the arrangement?
For example , we advise clients on employment rights like maternity and paternity rights. Once an intended parent’s employer sought to stop him taking leave to fly to Canada for the birth of his child, this was promptly resolved by our employment team. This all round experience can prove extremely useful – if you read of case studies you will see why. We can help support you ensure your immigration, insurances, wills and employment rights are all aligned to give you that all encompassing VIP treatment.
So you have chosen your lawyer, clinic and surrogate now what?
Do your preparation meet with your UK surrogacy solicitor and allow them to liaise immediately with your lawyer in the jurisdiction that the surrogacy will take place. That way we can harmonise your process abroad so that you will have all the UK requirements in hand before you return with your baby.
Lets them check any immigration advice that is needed, over and above birth certificates and visa’s but based on your personal circumstances. You may not think you need this , but double check as best to know in advance.
Collate the receipts , payments and list the reasonable expenses so this can be easily collated and filed at court for your UK Parental order. Any concerns can then be promptly addressed between the lawyers.
Throughout your lawyers need to be there to answer questions, gather information with the overseas lawyer , and nearer the time have your application and witness statements ready to be filed at the court. That way you get to enjoy the birth and time as a new parent without the distraction of all the legal work within the first 6 months. The more organised and documented the swifter the process through court will go . We always aim to secure rights at a first hearing if the matter is straight forward, but if further clarity is needed such as over spending on reasonable expenses we are also prepared for a second hearing so make sure this is factored into the arrangements.
How we work
It will be a clear route plan that we give you, but any bumps on the way we can navigate these with you, so we stay on course. Our comprehensive pack will do everything for you or you simply pay for what you need us for if you choose to undertake any of the work yourselves.
Follow us on social media to hear about our clients journeys , legal updates and news
Also we will next be giving face to face advice and hosting surrogacy clinics at the Growing Families Surrogacy conference in London in October . Come and meet our team , have a free consultation and hear our panel discussions
If it goes off-track, don’t worry, someone will have your back
If it goes off-track, don’t worry, someone will have your back: Previous Cases explored here
You need to choose a firm that has experience in surrogacy and in cases where it has gone wrong and been resolved , so you have confidence that they are there to have your back. We have highlighted some of our cases here, not to trouble you, as they did all successfully resolve happily, but to prepare you
Separation before the baby was born
We have had intended parents separate during the process , before the parental order was issued, which was at the time single-surrogacy was not permitted , but either way the non-biological parent wouldn’t of lost all legal rights. Yet we argued the court should set a precedent by allowing the parental order application on the basis two homes between parents continued to qualify as it would when any parent separates. For more details click here
Our client sadly had a baby , by a surrogate overseas in the Ukraine, who sadly needed extensive medical and hospital treatment. The intended mother’s husband left her during this period and single parent surrogacy was not allowed in this jurisdiction or the U.K. at that time. As such the mother had no legal right to bring the child home . After an extensive legal battle the child was securely bought back to the UK with its mother and an adoption order granted to secure full parental rights. Read more Surrogacy – What if it goes wrong? – A City Law Firm
UK Surrogate refused to sign parental order & wanted contact
In the UK even if they had a contract a surrogacy contract is not legally binding and until the baby is born the surrogate cannot sign the parental application form to confer parental rights. Following birth the surrogate wanted additional monies which was an issue regarding ‘reasonable expenses’ and then she wanted shared custody and later contact, which was not the original agreement or wish of the intended parents. This was a traumatic and distressing time for the parents involving the court , child services and could of cost them thousands. However, we successfully secured the baby in the home of the intended parents and full custody and rights were bestowed upon them.
Intended parent denied leave for the birth of his child overseas
The non-biological intended parent was told by his employers he was not entitled to any leave as he was not biologically connected to the child, who was to born in Canada. Our client who was doing the surrogacy arrangement through us, engaged us to address his employers clear discrimination, and whilst matters became complicated and proceeded to the Tribunal ultimately he was there for the birth of his baby and to bring her home , he kept his employment during this essential time, and compensation for the discrimination has been and is still being addressed.
Separation after surrogacy
Our intended parents separated following the granting of a parental order and both wanted shared custody of the child. However, one parent needed to move outside the local area which was strongly opposed by the biological parent. After addressing matters , outside of the court room to avoid unnecessary costs and stress, both parents agreed a mutual arrangement . Initially lawyers on the opposing side did not appreciate
This experience as both surrogacy lawyers and employment solicitors and litigators means no matter what eventuality comes up we can secure a sensible outcome for our clients.
More details can be found here Surrogacy – What if it goes wrong? – A City Law Firm